Oakland car dealership could become apartments

A former Cadillac dealership in Oakland could become the newest apartment development in the city under a plan that is expected to go before Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment this month.

The proposal by Craft Place Properties LLC, the property owner, involves the construction of a four-story building at 3224 Blvd. of the Allies near Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Teaming with Craft Place will be Oxford Development Co., which has been erecting in a number of its own apartment and office buildings in or near Downtown.

Megan Stearman, an Oxford spokeswoman, said the company will be participating as a joint venture with Craft Place. She said the project involves about 100 apartment units.

“We’re really sort of in a project management role,” she said.

Wanda Wilson, executive director of Oakland Planning and Development Corp., said Craft Place plans to demolish the existing structure, which has been vacant for some time, and build new.

She believes most of the apartments will be studios or one bedrooms. While there’s great demand for student housing in Oakland, “They say they would likely be tapping into the young professional market,” Ms. Wilson said.

Neither Ed Dunlap nor Annemarie Hoffman, who are involved with Craft Place Properties, could be reached for comment.

Oakland Planning and Development has yet to take a position on the project. The organization is waiting to see more details about the design before deciding, Ms. Wilson said.

Likewise, the Oakcliffe Community Organization, which represents residents in that section of Oakland, is still waiting for more information about the project, chairman David Panasiuk said.

The major concern for residents, he added, was parking. He said there currently aren’t enough spots in the neighborhood to handle all of the residential parking permits that have been issued.

Residents would like to see the parking for the new apartment complex contained within the property, Mr. Panasiuk said.

He noted some residents may also have concerns about the variances Craft Place is seeking to reduce front setback and entrance gate clearances from at least 20 feet to zero.

Nonetheless, the neighborhood is eagerly anticipating the redevelopment of the former car dealership, Mr. Panasiuk said. He described it as a “big eyesore.”

“We’re tired of it being an empty vacant lot. It’s been a nuisance,” he said. “We are excited about something going on [there]. We just want it to be done the right way.”

Mr. Dunlap and Ms. Hoffman had proposed building 20,000 square feet of office space at the site about six years ago but that never came to fruition.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.