1. He’s Bringing ‘The Right Kind of Development’ to Pittsburgh

    Trek Development and William Gatti are building mixed-income housing across the region.

    If you look at the trickiest development projects around Pittsburgh, one name pops up again and again. The affordable-housing project at Mellon’s Orchard in East Liberty? Trek Development. The overhaul of the long-stalled Garden Theater on the North Side? Trek Development. Converting the South Side’s Brewhouse, long home to artists and squatters, into studios, a gallery and market-rate and affordable lofts? Trek Development.
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  2. Q & A with Bill Gatti of TREK on new projects and affordable housing

    TREK Development Group has recently been selected by the city to redevelop some of Pittsburgh’s most prominent real estate, including the Garden Theater block on the North Side and Mellon’s Orchard South in East Liberty.

    The Downtown Pittsburgh-based real estate development firm specializes in projects that are driven by neighborhood stakeholders through collaboration. TREK projects include affordable and market-rate residential and commercial properties, parks, and community centers focused on building sustainable communities.

    Bill Gatti is the founder, president and CEO of TREK and is directly involved in all aspects of the firm’s work in Pittsburgh. Here’s what he had to say about current projects and how developers can work with policy-makers and communities to address affordable housing in our region.

     

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  3. Teenie Harris mural unveiled in the Hill District

    The legacy of Hill District photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris lives on in a new mosaic mural, “Camera Man,” which was unveiled Friday on the side of TREK Development’s office in the Hill District.

    TREK Development, a real estate development firm, and ACH Clear Pathways, a non-profit organization, partnered to bring “Camera Man” back to the Hill.

     

    Mosaic

     

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  4. Two more apartment projects planned for Downtown

    Two local developers are looking to combine the old and the new to create a major residential destination in the heart of the Downtown cultural district.

    Trek Development Group and Q Development are teaming up on “Eighth and Penn,” a 135-unit apartment complex to be built at Penn Avenue and Eighth Street.

    The $35 million project is one of two new residential developments in the works Downtown. During a city planning commission briefing Tuesday, BET Investments, a Horsham, Pa., developer, also unveiled a proposal to convert a vacant building on Third Avenue into 88 apartments.

    In the cultural district, Trek and Q plan to use two vacant historic eight-story buildings they purchased last year for about $2.4 million, as well as a new 11-story addition, to house the apartments, all of which will be market rate.

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  5. Brew House Lofts available this summer with apartments and artist studio space, rooftop deck

    The conversion of the old Duquesne Brewing building at 2100 Mary Street into The Brew House Lofts—with 76 residential apartments, a fitness center, and rooftop deck—is set to open this summer.

    The new studio, one- and two-bedroom lofts are designed in an industrial, artsy style which includes high ceilings, large windows and modern finishes.

    Site Building Model 20160226-1

     

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  6. URA board approves TREK for housing project in East Liberty

    The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh voted to choose TREK Development Group to build a new affordable apartment development on the Mellon Orchard’s South site in the heart of East Liberty.

    The board decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with downtown-based TREK to sell the company a 2.96-acre site at North Euclid and Station Street. The URA chose the developer for the city-owned property in conjunction with a tenant group of Penn Plaza residents, who are slated to lose their apartments in the nearby apartment complex as it faces redevelopment. The tenant group was included in the selection process by the administration of Mayor Bill Peduto as part of a larger agreement between the city and Penn Plaza owner LG Realty.

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  7. City commission to hear plans for Trust Building project

    A proposed project long on the drawing boards to rehabilitate one of downtown Washington’s landmark buildings will be discussed during a meeting of the city planning commission May 25.

    According to a public notice published in Wednesday’s Observer-Reporter, commission members will discuss a conditional-use application for rehabilitation of Washington Trust Building at South Main and East Beau streets.AR-160519903

    Click here for the full article

  8. URA to vote on TREK to pursue $25.5M project at Mellon’s Orchard

    The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is poised to choose downtown Pittsburgh-based Trek Development Group to develop a highly scrutinized 2.96-acre parcel in East Liberty into a new affordable housing development.

    According to the agenda for the URA’s regularly scheduled meeting for May, the board is expected to vote on a measure to enter exclusive negotiations with Trek for the Mellon’s Orchard South site in the heart of East Liberty, a collection of vacant lots at North Euclid and Station Streets.

    Mellon's Orchard

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  9. Trek Development knows how to turn around troubled sites

    I read with some interest of a zoning disagreement involving the Garden Theater block on the North Side and Bill Gatti, the potential developer. While I don’t purport to understand the disagreement, I have had business dealings with Mr. Gatti and Trek Development.

    Perhaps the party or parties involved with the complaint should view some of the developments Mr. Gatti has done in the city. I will comment on the one I have intimate knowledge of. I owned and operated Reed Roberts Apartment Complex in the city’s Hill District for 29 years.

     

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  10. Brian O’Neill: It’s theater of the absurd for the Garden Theater block

    Development of the Garden Theater block on the North Side has only two speeds — slow and reverse — and I’d put it up against any block in the metro area in its production of legal fees per square foot.

    The latest setback — if we can call it that, as that implies previous movement forward — is a judge’s reversal of the city Zoning Board of Adjustment’s decision to allow an eight-story apartment building on a site zoned for three-story structures.

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  11. Who’s doing what about affordable housing in Pittsburgh

    For the better part of a decade, TREK Development Group has been creating affordable townhouse and apartment units in the city, including Dinwiddie, Heldman, Reed, and Miller Streets in the Hill.

    “Mixed-income housing is the wave of the future,” Gatti says. “But creating affordable housing takes many layers of financing. It takes support from the foundation community cobbled together with what the city is trying to do, going block by block for rehab and revitalization.

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  12. Judge reverses zoning board’s variances for Garden Theater redevelopment

    TREK Development Group should not have been granted dimensional or parking variances for its redevelopment plan of the former Garden Theater site on the North Side, a judge decided Wednesday.

    The order from Allegheny County Common Pleas Senior Judge Joseph M. James reverses a decision by the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment to permit a bigger development than zoning allows and denies TREK’s application.

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  13. North Side saga: For the Garden Theater block, another setback

    Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill has a standing joke about the North Side, where he has lived for 25 years: The North Side is like soccer — it’s the sport of the future, and always will be. Proponents of Central North Side progress can ruefully trot out that line, following an Allegheny County judge’s puzzling decision last week to halt Trek Development’s project for the Garden Theater block.

    It’s just the latest setback for the high-profile stretch, which has been the object of failed development visions since President Bill Clinton’s second term.

    20150803dsNorthsideDistinction01

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  14. The Next Hot ‘Hoods in Pittsburgh

    Great neighborhoods — with ample green space, commerce and good housing stock — empower their residents to grow and prosper. Developers are key when it comes to weaving together the physical threads of a community, particularly in urban neighborhoods frayed by years of blight and decay. These are among the developers who are working to revitalize some of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods, striving to be restorers of streets in which to dwell. All have one eye, certainly, on the bottom line. Still, they are well aware of expectations that they give measured consideration to quality of life in the neighborhoods in which they build.

     

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  15. A year after opening, Braddock urgent care center is thriving

    Braddock Mayor John Fetterman referred to it as a profoundly dark period — the year that UPMC shuttered its hospital in his community.

    On Thursday, he stood with about 40 officials from Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network, patients and community members to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Braddock’s Urgent Care Center. More than 4,000 patients have been treated at the center, and officials expect that number to surpass 6,000 in the coming year.

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  18. Brownsville Affordable Housing Project Wins State Funding

    TREK Development Group of Pittsburgh has secured $1.4 million in state funding to develop a 24-unit seniors housing project and 12-space parking lot in downtown Brownsville.

    The fiscal backing opens the door for the sale of $692,279 of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to investment circles. The project also received $750,000 from PennHOMES.

    The housing project is estimated at $7 million to $9 million. It will involve restoration of the five-story former G.C. Murphy Building at 5 Market St., demolition of adjacent blighted structures at 13-21 Market St. and ground-up construction of a four-story building along Market Street in what is popularly called the “Neck.” Demolition is expected to start by year’s end and construction in the spring.

    “This is a shot in the arm for us. Hopefully, it will spur bigger and better things,” says James Lawver, council president. “This is going to increase the value of the next building and the next building and so on. Investors will be able to see that things are happening in the downtown and will want to get in now.”

    The development site is across the street from the Bank Street parking lot and a stone’s throw from the Snowdon Square lot and proposed urban park, an award-winning idea that began with the Students in Action team at Brownsville Area High School. The Redevelopment of Authority of Fayette County is poised to advertise for bids for the park project. Meanwhile, the Brownsville Free Public Library also has a major expansion project on the drawing board. And, borough council has just approved “exploring” the option to create a municipal complex in the Market Street block bounded by Brownsville Avenue and Brown Street, which currently houses two long shuttered banks and a boarded-up apartment building and restaurant.

    Competition is stiff for the funding, which is pursued by developers statewide for projects similar to Brownsville’s. Last year, TREK’s proposal didn’t make the final cut so this cycle’s final decision was anxiously awaited by all parties. Gov. Tom Wolf announced the news a few days ago, awarding $36.9 million in tax credits and $12.5 million from PennHOMES for the construction of 39 affordable multifamily housing developments statewide.

    “Low-income housing tax credits work because they leverage investment by the private sector to make affordable rental housing possible,” the governor said. “This is an example of the public and private sectors working together to produce outstanding end results for Pennsylvanians.”

    The Brownsville project includes street-level retail space, a residents’ community room and 24 apartments throughout the two buildings plus green space and residents’ parking.

  19. TREK Employee Graduates with MBA

    On December 12, 2014, Gopal graduated with honors from Duquesne University. He received his Masters in Business Administration from the John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business. Gopal has worked for TREK since 2011 in the Accounting Department. Everyone at TREK is proud of Gopal’s achievement!

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  20. TREK Collaborates with Carlow University

    Last spring TREK collaborated with the Campus School at Carlow University to make early childhood education scholarships available to our Dinwiddie Street Residents. A letter was sent inviting residents to participate and this August two preschool age girls started in the Campus School. Dinwiddie Street resident, four-year-old Christina had been attending a local community preschool along with her three-year-old brother but when her mother, Sophia, learned about the scholarship for the Campus School, she couldn’t pass it up. Knowing the great reputation of the school, the diverse student body, faith component, and its close location to her home it seemed like a great place for Christina and “I wanted to make sure she has a really good start”, said Sophia.

    Sophia, a small business owner and mother of four, knew that she would have to make some adjustments to her schedule to get the most of the program. She changed her morning routine and she has committed to making arrangements in her work schedule to volunteer in Christina’s class- she’s planning on being a Mystery Guest Reader later this year. To Sophia, those adjustments are worth it, “I love that they love to teach Christina and they want us to be involved”.

    Christina

    Christina loves her new school too. She likes to color at the art center, read classroom books, and walk through campus to gym class. Christina has made new friends at school and particularly enjoys playing castle with them at recess. Before dinner each night, Christina now pauses to say a prayer she learned in school and can’t wait to share her daily adventures with her family. Since attending the Campus School, Christina doesn’t just want to watch TV anymore, now she wants to talk with her family, ride her bike, or explore the outdoors looking for leaves.

    Recognizing the positive impact this opportunity has had on Christina, Sophia hopes to enroll her other children in the Campus School at Carlow University and would encourage other Dinwiddie residents to do the same.

     

  21. Team Braddock

    Lamar Billboard

    Above is a billboard advertisement similar to the one that will be displayed during the month of November on the billboard located on the right side as you come down the ramp onto Braddock Avenue. One of the goals of this campaign is to draw people to the borough website for on-going updates and information about the community.

     

  22. Braddock Overlook wins an AIA Pittsburgh Design Award!

     

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    With this development, TREK knit together the community, helping to heal the wound created by the demise of the hospital. Organized around a new public space, the jury liked that the building design puts a lot of entrances on the street and enhances the pedestrian activity. TREK Development should be applauded for their bold moves that led to an attractive and well-scaled subsidized housing community.

    http://aiapgh.org/feature-articles/design-pittsburgh-2014/

  23. Dinwiddie Street Safety

    Trek management works with Hill District residents, the Hill House, Zone 2 police  and the City of Pittsburgh to introduce traffic calming measures into their community.

     

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  24. 2014 Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place

    Bike advocates from around the country tour the Bicycle Commuter Center at the Century Building on September 9 as part of the Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place Convention hosted in Pittsburgh this year.

    2014-09-09 ProBike Tour (10)

  25. The Brew House selects South Side project developer

    The 19th century Brew House on the South Side, former home of the Duquesne Beer brewery and an artists haven for more than 20 years, will be renovated as a artists space and apartments.

    The exciting news is while the building will be transformed into a mixed-income housing development, the artists, who have long claimed the iconic building as their own, will benefit from a major upgrade to the facilities, says Tim Kaulen of The Brew House Association.

    “Development allows us to make sustainable our long-term goals, building on what we’ve already accomplished: providing affordable, live work space, exhibition opportunities and professional development for emerging artists,” he says.

    Pittsburgh-based Trek will be the developer. Plans call for the creation of 75 apartments including 114 efficiency units, 55 one-bedroom apartments and six two bedroom units. A percentage of the units will be designated for “affordable” rent.

    Helping to make it possible is a tax credit from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). The Brew House project was selected as one of five grant recipients of the credit totalling $4.3 million. The funding will support the development of more than 292 apartments in the city, all affordable multifamily housing developments.

    Since 1990, The Brew House Association has operated in the 103,000 square-foot stone and brick building, providing individual artists and associated groups affordable living space, gallery exhibition and studio space.

    “The redevelopment will help us to better serve artists in the community by supporting our programming with beautiful new space in which to create and show art,” says Kaulen.

    The architect on the project is Lab 8 Designs and Clearscapes.

  26. South Side Brew House to be renovated into 75 apartments

    The Brew House, a 19th century manufacturing relic on the South Side that once was a Duquesne Beer brewery, is set to undergo a full renovation.

    The Brew House Association, the nonprofit that operated the property as an artist’s haven for more than 20 years, has picked downtown Pittsburgh-based Trek Development to upgrade the property into a mixed-income housing development that will include a total of 75 apartments, a project that will go forward with the help of a grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

    The building’s redevelopment is expected to include 14 efficiency units, 55 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom units.

    The project is one of five housing projects awarded a total of $4.3 million in PHFA grants that are expected to help develop 292 apartments in the city, according to the recent newsletter of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

    The Brew House project “was selected by a jury of affordable housing professionals under the PHFA ‘Innovation in Design’ category and will create affordable and market-rate housing opportunities for local artists in a historic building in the South Side neighborhood,” the URA said.

    The architect for the project is Lab 8 Designs Inc.

    More than 20 units in the new project will be designated as affordable based on an income formula.

    The Brew House Association solicited for developer interest last June. Trek is expected to collaborate with the Brew House Association on the project.

    A call to Trek was not immediately returned.

  27. Borough approves TREK subdivision line

    During their regular meeting held Monday evening, the Ridgway Borough Council approved the subdivision line for TREK Development’s upcoming project along Montmorenci Road. The subdivision, located near Ridgmont, is set to be a 20-unit senior living village similar to the Laurelbrooke Landing facility located in Brookville.

    Council approved the motion to subdivide the current property by a 6-to-1 vote.

    During a recent meeting of the Planning, Grants and Recreation Committee, committee members heard from TREK representatives Trey Barbour and land surveyor Gary Thorp. During past meetings with the Ridgeway Township Board of Supervisors as well as one briefing with the Ridgway Borough Council, residents living near the facility expressed their concerns including the line of trees between their properties and the development.

  28. Pittsburgh developer buys Washington Trust Building

    by Mike Jones
    The Observer-Reporter

    A Pittsburgh developer is preparing to move forward with its ambitious plan to rehabilitate the Washington Trust Building into a mixed-use facility now that it finalized the purchase of the historic building at South Main and East Beau streets.

    TREK Development Group purchased the building Nov. 15 for $739,844, according to county property records, and is preparing to turn the towering structure in Washington’s main business district into a mix of commercial units and residential apartments by January 2016.

    Trey Barbour, a project manager for TREK, updated the construction timeline to Washington City Council during its Monday workshop meeting as the developer continues to work to secure financing and begins relocating current business tenants to other parts of the building.

    The company wants to begin construction next January with the renovations taking about a year. The total project to convert several floors in the building, install new infrastructure systems and improve the exterior facade is expected to cost about $19 million.

    The developer wants to remodel the building from the third to sixth floors to add 44 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

    “Hopefully, two years from today, everything will be shiny and new again,” Barbour said.

    Barbour said the remainder of this year will likely be spent moving businesses most affected by construction. Although Barbour said he expects some “attrition” from the disruption, he thinks they’ll be able to accommodate the majority of tenants by moving them far from the construction zones.

    City Council is expected to approve the renovation plan during tonight’s voting meeting after receiving recommendations from the planning commission. Mayor Brenda Davis said she’s pleased to see the project gaining momentum and applauded plans to bring more residents into the city’s main business district.

    “That is much-needed foot traffic to help patronize the businesses we already have,” Davis said. “I think bringing more people down here to live can even help encourage other businesses to bring in more housing – maybe loft apartments – above their shops.”

    Apartment rents would average about $750 a month for a one-bedroom unit, TREK officials previously said, but some units would be priced at $650 a month for people earning $30,000 a year or less. Rent for a two-bedroom unit would be about $950.

    The project still has many hurdles to clear and Barbour acknowledged the developer is still working to secure enough financing to begin the renovations. The developer requested $750,000 in local share account money last January, but was bypassed for other projects. The project has not requested any LSA money this year.

    Still, Barbour said TREK can relocate or even attract new tenants while continuing to work on the financing. He said the building is currently 60 percent filled, meaning there is plenty of room to move those who would be impacted by construction.

    “It hasn’t been sustainable for a while,” Barbour said.

    The building currently has 84,000 square feet of leasable space.

    The main section of the structure was built in 1902 before construction of the 10-story annex along Shaffer Avenue in 1922.

     

    View the original story here.

  29. Politicians, activists plug Obama jobs act in Hill District

    By Rich Lord
    Thursday, September 15, 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Politicians, activists plug Obama jobs act in Hill District

    Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette

     

    Bill Gatti of Trek Development, left, U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, center, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl talk Wednesday as they walk along Dinwiddie Street in the Hill District. The construction work along Dinwiddie Street is being done by the Trek Development Group.

    The growl of construction equipment and buzz of power tools heard along Dinwiddie Street and Centre Avenue could fall silent if Congress doesn’t pass President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act, a Cabinet member said Wednesday as he toured the Hill District.

    Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, picked the neighborhood to showcase Project Rebuild, a $15 billion sliver of the administration’s $447 billion bid to right the economy. His immediate audience was a small group of aides, reporters and neighborhood activists, but the ultimate target was Congress.

    “Congress needs to get back to work, so that the American people can get back to work,” Mr. Donovan said, after outlining Mr. Obama’s proposal, which has received skeptical responses from Republicans, who control the House. “These aren’t Democratic or Republican ideas. These are American ideas,” he said.

    “We need this bill now,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who joined the Donovan tour. “We need members of Congress to knock it off, to stop the bipartisanship and to understand that their failure to act is impacting normal people … and is hurting communities like this one that has so much happening.”

    U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, said Congress won’t act hastily. “While the president promises great things with this new stimulus bill, let’s not forget that the president promised the American people that the $800 billion stimulus bill he pushed in 2009 would keep unemployment below 8 percent” but has instead exceeded 9 percent, Mr. Kelly said in a written statement.

    The act was outlined in Mr. Obama’s jobs speech to a joint session of Congress last week. The president pitched it again Wednesday in Apex, N.C., and Cabinet members have been fanning out across the country, urging people to contact their Congress members to demand action on it.

    “We need citizens across the country standing up and saying, ‘We’re fed up, we’re fed up with the politics, we’re fed up with the partisanship,’ ” Mr. Donovan said.

    Mr. Donovan said the act would lower payroll taxes for 98 percent of businesses; prevent or reverse 280,000 layoffs of teachers and first-responders, including 14,400 in Pennsylvania; rebuild 35,000 schools; and pump $50 billion into infrastructure investments picked on merit, not politics. Employers, he said, could tap a $4,000 tax credit for each person they hire from the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

    Mr. Donovan said the act “won’t add a dime to our deficit.”

    Read more here.