URA to consider South Side apartments

By Aaron Aupperlee

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 11:29 p.m.

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority will consider on Thursday two projects to build apartments in SouthSide Works.

The apartment complexes would be among the first built in the dining, retail and entertainment development since a 2002 agreement prohibited residential development at the 123-acre site. The restrictions ended in 2012 as part of a legal settlement.

“It was many years in the making to undo some mistakes of the past and help Pittsburgh grow,” said Yarone Zober, chair of the URA board of directors and chief of staff for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

South Side-based Soffer Organization and Village Green Development Holding LLC want to buy nearly 2.5 acres to build a six-story building with 262 apartments. If the URA approves the sale, the developers will pay $425,000 an acre plus additional costs for the property.

Construction is expected to cost $50 million. The building will include a lobby, club room, gym, indoor and outdoor pool and landscaped courtyard.

Ralph A. Falbo, Inc., a Downtown developer, and Boston-based Beacon Communities Development LLC intend to form a limited partnership to purchase land from the URA for $237,300. The developers plan to build 56 one-bedroom apartments in a four-story building. The project is expected to cost $11 million, Zober said.

Robert Rubinstein, acting executive director for the URA, estimated rent for the new apartments would top $1,000 per month.

The board previously approved the sale of land to Oxford Development Co. for a 173-unit apartment complex with a proposed construction cost of $40 million, Zober said.

It cost the URA $500,000 to terminate in 2012 the decade-old agreement with Ohio-based developer Nationwide Realty Investors Ltd. and restart residential development.

The URA will also vote on purchasing the former Morningside School in Morningside for $225,000 and convert it into residential units, Zober said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.