URA to vote on developer’s shift from office space to apartments in SouthSide Works

A proposal to build a 170-unit apartment building in place of an office building at SouthSide Works will be reviewed Thursday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Oxford Development Co., with Trammel Crow and PJ Dick Inc., had planned to construct the office building on a three-acre site on Sidney Street. But since being awarded the site in May 2012, the development team has been unable to secure a tenant. The URA board will act on rescinding acceptance of the Oxford-Dick proposal.

In its place, Oxford and Dick, with Lincoln Property Co., have proposed developing the apartments along with a parking garage with about 200 spaces as well as some retail on the site, which the developers will purchase for $2.5 million. URA will give the development team a six-month, exclusive period to complete negotiations on the deal, with a possible 30-day extension.

URA also will act to approve the filing of an application with the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County for a Community Infrastructure Tourism Fund Grant for up to $250,000 toward the project, known as the Hot Metal Residential Development.

The office building was the second attempt to build on the property. In 2007, dck Worldwide Inc. (formerly Dick Corp.) proposed a $20 million headquarters building there. It planned to occupy 30,000 square feet of the 120,000-square-foot building with other tenants in the remainder. However, dck was unable to get the project started.

In other actions, the authority board will consider authorizing a $1.8 million loan to the developer of the $93 million Gardens at Market Square. A year ago, the board approved the sale of seven parcels at 218-40 Forbes Ave. for the project, which will include office space, first-floor retail, a 198-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel, and a 320-space parking garage. The loan would come from the Pittsburgh Development Fund.

Approval also will be sought for URA’s Engineering and Construction Department to enter into an agreement with an engineering consultant to design public infrastructure improvements for the Bakery Square 2.0 project on the site of the former Reizenstein School property on Penn Avenue in East Liberty. The design work will be paid for by the URA.

Bakery Square 2.0 is projected to contain up to 450 new rental units and 400,000 square feet of office, research and development space.

Also on the URA agenda is a proposal from Cozza Enterprises LLC to buy the former Sheraden Market and three properties in the city’s Sheraden neighborhood and develop a Family Dollar Store and Community Market Pavillion at a total cost of $1.75 million.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sspatter@tribweb.com.