PITTSBURGH, PA - July 22, 2010: The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB), one of the a nation’s leading nonprofit housing developers, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) today announce the Grand Opening of East Liberty Place North in the East Liberty neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh.
East Liberty Place North is a mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment of the north portion of the former East Mall high-rise site at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Penn Circle West. It features 54 new apartments and 11,000 square feet of street-front retail space that continues the exciting revitalization of East Liberty.
"East Liberty Place North reflects our vision for creating vibrant city neighborhoods by combining the energy of residents and retail uses," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. "The new professionally managed apartments will provide spacious and quality housing options for both the former residents of the East Mall high-rises, who lived in substandard housing for much too long, and newcomers to East Liberty who have high expectations about what city life has to offer."
The apartments include both market rate and rent restricted units, the latter serving low and moderate income persons, including former residents of the East Mall high-rise.
"We are thrilled to announce the grand opening of East Liberty Place North," said Tamara Dudukovich, The Community Builder’s Mid-Atlantic Director of Development. "The completion of this building continues the work that countless organizations and individuals have done to revitalize East Liberty. The Community Builders is proud to now own and manage 283 first rate rentals as part of this on-going effort."
Demand for the new building’s rental space has been strong with 50 of the 54 units leased, including all market rate units. In addition to the residential success, TCB has letters of intent with tenants for all of the first floor commercial space.
“The response to this project has exceeded expectations in almost every way,” said Jim Eby, Senior Project Manager with the Community Builders. "The lease-up has gone much more quickly than our projections. It proves that there is a strong demand for quality, well-designed rental property in East Liberty. To have made good progress on the retail space in a quiet commercial market is gratifying as well."
East Liberty Place North strengthens Pittsburgh's growing reputation for sustainability as it anticipates being the regions first multi-family and first mixed-use property to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Certification. Preliminary scoring indicates the property will be eligible for LEED Gold certification. This is the first LEED certified building built by TCB.
Construction began in March 2009 after TCB closed on $12.3 million financing package. Funding sources include Aegon USA Realty Advisors through the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Dollar Bank, URA, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, US Department of HUD, Citizens Bank/Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and The Home Depot Foundation.
Design work was completed by Strada Architecture LLC, and Stuart Associates Architects, Inc., and was informed by a charrette process in which former residents, community organizers, city leaders, and other stakeholders took part. Construction was completed by Sota Construction and the building will be managed by TCB.
The second phase of the project, the redevelopment of East Liberty Place South (the East Mall site to the south of Penn Avenue) is currently in predevelopment. Plans contemplate 75 apartments or condominiums and 24,000 square feet of retail space.
East Liberty Place North is the fourth project in East Liberty developed by TCB. The firm has previously developed New Pennley Place, Pennley Commons (senior housing) and Penn Manor Apartments. With each new development it undertakes in East Liberty, The Community Builders, Inc. also seeks to attract new market rate renters as well as to replace sub-standard housing with first-rate replacement housing for lower income households. TCB accomplishes this with quality buildings that have rent structuring to accommodate a broad mix of resident household incomes.