Oxford, PJ Dick ready to go on Hot Metal Flats with Walnut Capital to manage new apartment project

Tim Schooley – Reporter – Pittsburgh Business Times

Oxford Development Co. is ready to push forward with its Hot Metal Flats apartment project, although with a change in partnership and a smaller plan.

Today, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh voted to rescind its previous agreement with Oxford and its construction partner, PJ Dick, along with Lincoln Property Co. in order to approve an agreement with a different partnership group.

Lincoln Property is no longer involved, leaving Oxford and P.J. Dick to go forward on the plan in which the development team will buy the property for $600,500.

Shawn Fox, director of business development for Oxford, confirmed Oxford has hired Walnut Capital Partners to serve as the management firm for the Hot Metal Flats. Lincoln was previously expected to serve as partner in the project.

While he didn’t go into specifics of what led to Lincoln no longer being involved, Fox said Walnut Capital was hired in a competitive process.

“They’re experienced in the marketplace,” he said of Walnut Capital, perhaps best known for its development of Bakery Square and its East End apartment portfolio. “They understand the younger, urban demographic who is the targeted audience for this project.”

He added: “We’re excited to work with them.”

Fox said construction is expected to begin on Hot Metal Flats, a project located on Hot Metal Street within the SouthSide Works, in the next few weeks. The building could open next year.

The project is now 117 apartments instead of the more than 170 originally proposed, reducing a $40 million budget to $30 million and paring the number of floors to four residential stories above one level of parking.

The project is fully financed with the help of a $2 million Pittsburgh Development Loan the URA also approved, along with $20.6 million from Huntington Bank, and other funding sources.

Oxford’s development of Hot Metal Flats will overlap with the company’s plan to build a 299-unit apartment project on the Allegheny Riverfront at 26th and 27th streets, for which site preparation and demolition is expected to start in the fall.

The board also voted to:

  • approve an agreement to hire Fourth Economy for $30,000 in order to explore alternative development plans for the Strip District produce terminal for a period of six months.
  • approve a rearrangement of the agreement with the Soffer Organization and Village Green Development Holding, LLC to sell two portions of property at the SouthSide Works separately as part of the development partnership’s plan to build a 262-unit apartment property along with 12,000 square feet of retail and a 262-space parking garage.
  • authorize the filing of an application in conjunction with the Sports and Exhibition Authority for a $3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for infrastructure funding at the 28-acre former arena site in the Lower Hill.

Tim Schooley covers retail, real estate, construction, hospitality, arts and entertainment, and government. Contact him at tschooley@bizjournals.com or 412-208-3826.