May 21, 2020
As the Governor moves our counties into level yellow, we are eager to resume all maintenance requests and to begin holding in-person meetings when necessary. We are equally committed to only changing our current operations so long as the property is fully prepared to safely do so.
We have been working closely with management and maintenance teams to ensure they continue to have sanitizing supplies for the buildings and personal protection equipment for our staff. We have been working with staff to determine scheduling, that includes staff staggering their shifts to promote and maintain social distancing. We are confirming with our staff and vendors that they are healthy daily and will send home anyone who is feeling or showing signs of illness. All staff will continue to wear masks in common spaces and when near others. They are also practicing social distancing and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day.
When your community office is ready to resume additional operations including maintenance requests and in-person meetings the follow measures will be in place:
- The office will be open to residents and guests by appointment only. We are unable to accept walk-in traffic. This is to allow time for our staff to sanitize the office space in between meetings.
Please help us by continuing to communicate with your Community Manager via phone or email and scheduling appointments for in person meetings only when necessary.
- For in-person meetings, our staff will arrange the space to ensure social distancing and will be wearing a mask.
Please come to your appointment with a mask on and only bring those who are necessary to the meeting. If you are able, please come to the appointment alone.
- All work orders will be reviewed and prioritized by our staff. You will be called in advance to schedule the service. At that time, you will be asked if anyone in your home has been ill or showing symptoms of COVID19.
Please practice social distancing with our staff while they are in your home. We ask that you stay in another room if possible while they are completing the service request.
- Indoor community spaces will remain closed until further notice. We are reopening outdoor spaces including common desks and rooftops.
Please continue to practice social distancing and sanitize surfaces before and after use.
Thank you for your patience with us as and your support as we implement these new measures to maintain a healthy environment for our staff and residents.
Trekking this Journey Together,
Your Community Management Team
April 27, 2020
As we continue to navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID19 pandemic; we want you to know that we remain here for you. A recently published poem written by an unknown author says the following about this moment, “We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey”. We understand this. Some remain employed and work remotely or go into work each day while others have been furloughed or laid off. Some homes are noisy with kids learning and playing and other homes are quiet and still. Some are enjoying quarantine and others are struggling or frustrated with the situation.
We want you to know that no matter what your experiencing during this storm- we are here for you.
We are preparing for when the stay at home is lifted. We are creating a plan for how to safely resume non-emergency maintenance requests and to safely open our offices and community spaces while following CDC guidelines. We will keep you informed of our plan and ask for your patience and understanding as we do our best to maintain a healthy and safe environment for our staff and residents. In the meantime, please keep calling in your maintenance requests so we can be ready to respond as soon as we are able.
We are continuing property operations. We want to thank you for working with us as we adjust our work practices and for paying your rent during this unprecedented time. Your rent allows us to keep the property operating, clean and safe.
We can connect you with resources. Our staff continues to be available to work with anyone whose employment has been impacted by COVID19. We ask that you continue to communicate with your Community Manager if you are unable to pay your rent, so that we can work with you on the best solution. If we do not hear from you- you may be hearing from us as we plan to reach out in the coming weeks to see how you are doing.
Resources are being made available from federal, state and local governments as well as available through nonprofit agencies to help keep people housed, fed and connected. These include but are not limited to the federal stimulus for individuals and families, additional unemployment benefits, and local Community Food Banks.
For information on these and other resources check out this flyer , call your Community Manager, or participate in our Zoom call where we will connect with each other, share resources, offers and requests. Connect with Your Community online here.
Communities are finding ways to support each other. During this time, we have seen neighbors supporting neighbors in authentic and meaningful ways. Neighbors are calling and checking in with neighbors who live alone, some are picking up groceries for their neighbor without a car, and others are finding unique ways to stay connected and entertain their kids like an egg hunt that practices social distancing or zoom calls to play games. We encourage you to continue to look for ways to support and encourage each other.
TREK is hosting a Zoom call for women. This is a space where women can support each other, share ideas and take a moment to themselves. We hope you will join us! Text Montia Dinkins at (412) 853-7777 for the link or visit our website at www.trekdevelopment.com/news.
Thank you, Helpers. As we follow Mr. Rogers advice to look for the helpers, we see a lot of familiar faces! On behalf of TREK and our team, we want to thank the first responders, health care providers, grocery store and gas station workers and others who are working to ensure that our communities are safe and healthy. A special thank you to our maintenance teams who have been working to keep our buildings safe and clean during this time.
Your Community Management Team
March 25, 2020
As the world navigates the uncertainty of COVID-19, you can count on your community management team to do our best to keep you informed of any changes to operations, to maintain clean and safe buildings, respond to specific needs that you may have and to provide additional support wherever we can.
We are here for you.
Stay informed. We understand the importance of having information during this time. Therefore, we have established multiple ways to stay informed.
- Call (412) 688-7200 ext. 1020 for a voice recording of the most recent information
- Complete this survey to get on our email list https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VTS8T2M
Maintaining a clean and safe building. We understand that to help stop the spread of the virus, we need to do our part and regularly clean all community spaces such as front doors, call boxes, elevators. Our teams have increased the frequency of cleanings and have placed Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer in commons areas for you to use while in the common spaces on the frequently touched public surfaces. We are practicing social distancing- if you see a TREK staff please say hello from a distance!
Additionally, while we are only able to complete emergency maintenance requests at this time, we strongly encourage you to call in all maintenance requests you may have. Our team will determine if it’s an emergency, we will be in contact with you to schedule the work to be completed. If it’s not an emergency, we will let you know that we will be prepared to address your request as soon as we are able. You can complete a maintenance request here http://trekdevelopment.com/resident-portal/
Your specific needs. Our community offices are able to remain open as a life-sustaining business. We will have each office staffed with one person; however, all our staff remain working in our offices or at home and are available through phone or email as indicated below. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. Find Your Community Manager
Additional support. If your employment status has changed as a direct result of COVID-19 and you are concerned about meeting your monthly rent payments, then please contact your Community Manager, so that we can discuss the different options with you. Click the link for information about state and local supports that are available for those impacted by COVID-19. Financial Resources
#NeighborUp! We encourage you to take this opportunity and look for ways to support each other while practicing social distancing. Some communities are practicing solidarity activities where residents are independently participating in the same activity- such as cleaning a closet or a craft. Other communities are putting pictures or notes on their front doors, checking in on neighbors with phone calls, or taking turns running to the grocery store. Click the link for other ideas. We’d love to see how you are using this opportunity to “Stay-At-Home” to also care for your neighbor- let us know what you are doing using #NeighborUp! NeighborUp Tips
Your Community Management Team
As long-time affordable housing developers and community builders, we believe in the ideal of mixed-income communities. We have experienced genuine success in our work within communities, as well as authentic moments of personal growth and fun in our personal lives by living side by side with diverse neighbors. We have observed people from very different backgrounds getting to know each other in new ways by exchanging small favors of value, and we have watched a site staff team hold small-group “design sessions” with diverse residents to solve a shared problem. The truth is, however, that these moments have been hard won and few and far between. This may be no wonder, given the huge human and financial resources committed to bricks-and-mortar development compared with the limited ingenuity and investment devoted to sorting out the complex human aspects of daily operations and community building in contexts where residents come from very different cultural and class backgrounds. There is no doubt that this is the hardest part of this work to figure out—but we must.
Eighth & Penn
As the interior designer, Sharon Ginocchi had a vision for the lobby of the new Eighth & Penn development Downtown: Warm and welcoming with distinctive furnishings that echo the building’s history. And she wanted local art.
Developers — in this case TREK Development and Q Development — know that custom furnishings and striking works of art can increase the appeal of a residential or office building. They are also becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of working with local makers to support the local economy and to promote their work.
Local artists inspired by Pittsburgh sights and everyday life is the theme for the Austral exhibition that opened Thursday at the Brew House Association in Pittsburgh’s South Side.
The exhibition is free and open to the public; donations accepted. It runs through Feb. 8.
Read the Full Story Here
Eighth & Penn, with 136 apartments and the Eagle Food & Beer Hall, mixes bold modern design and historic preservation
The Eighth & Penn project, which transformed the McNally and Bonn buildings, was a complicated and unusual development, combining historic preservation and large-scale new construction.
“We took two turn-of-the-century structures and tried to meld them in a meaningful and appropriate way with a modern building. That’s a significant design and construction challenge. That’s where we think the benefits of the historic material far outweighs the challenges we experienced,” says TREK Development Group Founder, President and CEO Bill Gatti.
“Our historic buildings are really the only thing that connects us in a tangible way to the past,” Gatti tells NEXTpittsburgh. “Celebrating that history is important to us.”
TREK Development Group presented a downsized proposal of new construction in the Garden Theater block to a recent gathering of about 50 North Siders at the Children’s Museum Lab in Allegheny Center.
While the long-vacant Garden Theater itself remains without a tenant, it has been built out for a restaurant. Three debilitated structures beside it were demolished last winter, making way for construction to begin by next spring if the new plan passes muster with the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The plan is a five-story apartment building with 50 market-rate apartments and storefronts on North Avenue and along Federal Street. A 19th-century duplex on Federal, the Morton House, was saved and will have storefronts below and six apartments above, said Bill Gatti, CEO and president of TREK.
William Gatti honored with PHFA’s Housing Pioneer Award for his leadership in the affordable housing field
William Gatti, President and CEO of TREK Development Group was honored with the Housing Pioneer Award earlier this month by The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
As one of three award winners, Mr. Gatti was presented with engraved brass plates recognizing this honor.
“The three people we recognize today are well known for their strong track records of achievement expanding affordable housing options for Pennsylvanians, and with these awards we express our gratitude for their lasting impact on the housing landscape in the commonwealth,” said PHFA’s Executive Director and CEO Brian A. Hudson Sr. “We thank them for their leadership, and we encourage others to be inspired by their example.”
Vidhi Anderson, Executive Director of Housing and Land Development, Presby’s Inspired Life and Judee Bavaria, President and CEO, Presby’s Inspired Life were also awarded this honor.
Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board members are expected to vote Thursday on whether to give Trek Development Group the final go ahead to start the 47-unit Mellon’s Orchard South development at Station and North Beatty streets.
Downtown-based Trek hopes to start construction within the next 30 days, with the first units completed in a year or less. It is paying the URA $600,000 for the land needed for the development.
“We’re excited to be working in the East Liberty neighborhood. It’s been a focus of a lot of attention and we’re happy to work in partnership with the URA, the mayor’s office, and the citizenry to address these important issues,” Trek president William Gatti said.
After first starting to search for a location in downtown around 2016, Cincinnati-based Thunderdome Restaurant Group has reached a deal with the joint ownership of the new 135-unit Eighth & Penn apartment building opening this summer for The Eagle Food & Beer Hall to set up shop in a 6,000-square-foot space on the first floor.
With the building all but completed, Bill Gatti, president and CEO of Trek Development Group, which partnered on the new apartment building with Q Development, looks forward to The Eagle providing something he sees lacking in the downtown dining scene: a restaurant that is family friendly.
“It attracts a very diverse crowd of all ages, income and walks of life, unified over fried chic ken,” said Gatti, noting the restaurant’s basic menu approach that has garnered rave reviews in its home market of Cincinnati. “It’s fried chicken and sides. That’s what it is.”
The Cincinnati-based restaurant — a fried chicken food and beer hall — signed a lease to occupy 6,000 square feet of retail space Downtown at Eighth & Penn, the branding for the location under construction. It’s a joint project between Trek Development Group and Q Development.
“This was a big one for us,” Bill Gatti, Trek president, said about signing this particular tenant. The restaurant is on track to open in October or November.
The restaurant is a sibling to Bakersfield, also Downtown, from the Thunderdome Restaurant Group. It’s the fifth location, with the original opening in its home city in 2013, followed by restaurants in Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.
Ten stories high with many more to tell, the Washington Trust Building continues to stand tall. It is the highest vertical structure in the city of Washington, 154 feet, a yard higher than Washington County Courthouse – and equally distinctive.
The exterior of the venerable structure is weather-beaten, betraying its age. The first-floor façade is in need of a makeover, which is planned, but only after funding can be secured. Yet it stands with broad shoulders, not stooped, a testament to its durability. The place remains a comfortable home to a number of established business tenants.
Yet if you stepped inside right now, you wouldn’t believe the building is nearly a century old. Many of the former offices have been converted into spiffy apartments, six weeks or so from occupancy, and other work spaces have been renovated as well, for office or retail use. The tower has a new roof.
Thanks to an ongoing redo, Washington Trust Building is increasingly looking as if it were 97 years young, not old. The complex sits regally at the corner of South Main and East Beau streets, across from the courthouse, and renovations began in October 2017. While more work is ahead, the project is much closer to the wire than the starting gate.
“More than $10 million has been invested to reposition this important architectural building. We hope to bring it back to some semblance of its former glory,” said Bill Gatti, president of Trek Development Group, a Pittsburgh-based developer that has owned the Trust Building since 2013.
Patricia Sheahan is often on the hunt, at antique shops, estate sales, flea markets — even roadsides — in a quest for old furnishings and fixtures that she can repurpose into rustic hutches, art décor and household items.
“My challenge is that it has to fit inside a Mini Cooper,” she says with a laugh. “Otherwise, I have to rent a truck.”
Sheahan started collecting odd furniture pieces and antique throwaways about 50 years ago, when she and her husband, Jim Sheahan, moved to Pittsburgh. He was an adamant sports enthusiast — she doesn’t appreciate sports — so she found an activity of her own to do while he was engaged in his hobby.
She resumed “trocking” — her term for antiquing — a pastime she enjoyed while living in Europe. “Every time I’m out and about, I look for the unusual, unique, eye-catching, story-riveting item to bring home,” she says.
Sheahan, 73, essentially lives in her own, ever-changing art installation. On an upper floor of the Brew House Art Lofts, natural light floods through tall windows overlooking a sea of rooftops and narrow streets; the high ceilings lend themselves to what Sheahan calls her “lofty ideas for living.”
The newly renovated Brew House Lofts building is located in the heart of the South Side and has its own distinctive history that dates back to the late 1800s, when it opened as a brewery under the Duquesne Brewing Co. There is an urban grittiness to living in the loft, which has a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments for the artist community and also includes a gallery and several studio spaces.
Sheahan happens to be a featured artist in the downstairs vitrion, where her installation, “Pop Des Tartes” sits in the large window display at the entrance. The installation features the re-use of materials as a metaphor for the years Sheahan spent as a self-described “Army brat.”
Making affordable housing beautiful, contextual and affordable is a challenge facing architects and developers. In the case of Pittsburgh-based TREK Development Group’s Iron Bridge Crossings in Brownsville, Pa., designed by UpStreet Architects Inc., Indiana, Pa., metal helped play a strategic role in advancing the project in a timely manner, in tying in with community context, and coming in on budget.
The project was financed with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) PennHOMES and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). As such, the use of architectural metal provided not only aesthetic, but financial contributions, allowing the project to better fit into budgetary requirements and be more swiftly approved.
Architectural planning began in 2014, and the building had its first open house in February 2018.
When UPMC Braddock closed eight years ago, Tina Doose said it felt like a blow to her body.
She remembered that after she was stabbed when she was 14, doctors at the hospital saved her life.
On Saturday, the now 56-year-old Braddock borough council president will stand — in pride not in pain – where the hospital once stood as she unveils a new public square.
“We’re calling it another life-giving space,” she said.
About the size of a football field, the Braddock Civic Plaza – located on Braddock Avenue in the center of town — will provide space for community gatherings. . Rows of trees and flowers line paved walkways dotted with tables for food truck patrons. A circular event space marks the square’s center.
Saturday’s ceremony reflects a new beginning, a rebirth for a community that has suffered, especially with the closure of its hospital.
“This community plaza represents the full, full circle in my mind,” said John Fetterman, Braddock’s mayor and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. “The entire site has not only been repurposed, but repurposed in the highest, best use possible.”
The first phase of redevelopment is underway at the Allegheny Dwellings public housing complex on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Residents should be moving into the redeveloped site, a mix of affordable and market rate units, by next year, said William Gatti, president of TREK Development Group.
Allegheny Dwellings is one of the oldest remaining public housing complexes still standing in the city; it opened in 1942.
The full complex had 272 units; the first phase of redevelopment has demolished the 97 units that stood on Sandusky Court. Those will be replaced with 58 units, plus an additional seven on nearby Federal Street. They will be a mix of market-rate and affordable homes.
If all goes as planned, there will be two dozen new one-bedroom apartments for rent in the middle of downtown Washington by the end of the year.
Vanessa Murphy, project manager for Pittsburgh-based Trek Development Group’s Washington Trust Building at the corner of South Main and East Beau streets, said last week a demolition of floors two through 10 of the building’s tower that began in October is nearing completion and that framing for some of the 24 apartment units has begun. The apartments were designed by the Pittsburgh architectural firm LAB8 in collaboration with Clearscapes Architect + Art from North Carolina.
Brownsville, like a number of Mon Valley towns, is steeped in history and tradition, but mired in decay in recent times. For decades, the borough – bisected by Route 40 and across the river from Washington County – had been largely ignored, its downtown transforming into a real-life version of “The Land That Time Forgot.” Abandoned buildings and a distinct lack of pedestrians became two of its hallmarks.
And like some Valley towns that have initiated revitalization efforts, Brownsville is displaying signs of rebirth. A page 1 Sunday story by the Observer-Reporter’s Scott Beveridge details the merits of an $8 million construction project that was completed this month in a section of downtown known as The Neck. TREK Development Group of Pittsburgh conducted the overhaul over a two-year period.
A joint venture between two Pittsburgh based developers, Trek Development and Q Development, blend both old and new together, in their newest project for their eighth and Penn apartment building. They will integrate two slender buildings, the McNally and Bonn buildings, both built in the 1890’s; with new construction to create a 135-residential unit apartment building. The building will also house 190,000 sq. ft. of street level commercial space. The Cultural Trust of Pittsburgh authorized the sale of these two buildings with the stipulation that they would be a part of the planning process and could propose changes when necessary. Although the building will look like 4 buildings, it will in fact be one leading to a perfect blend of old architecture and new modern amenities.
Read the full article on Pittsburgh Quarterly here
The “Prince of Pilsner” is no longer brewed at 711 S. 21st St. on the South Side, but the space is still refreshing, with high ceilings, tall windows and bright, white walls that occupants can decorate however they wish.
After the Duquesne brewery closed in 1972, artists made its halls their work and living spaces. The Brew House Association, a nonprofit organization of artists, was established in 1993. The group eventually purchased the former brewery’s buildings — the stock house, boiler house and its main building, the brew house.
The Brew House’s original artists have moved on, but other creative people have taken their place, in the Brew House Artist Lofts.
Artists are given priority for its 76 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, but non-artists are encouraged to apply (brewhousepgh.com/live). On the website, an artist is defined as “a person who has a commitment to and/or participation in the arts beyond that of a hobby.”
After years of blight and decline, Braddock is coming back in big and stunning ways.
New housing, new restaurants, urban farms and new stores are popping up on Braddock Avenue.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the Braddock Civic Plaza.
“Little bit by bit, you are continually rising us from ashes to beauty,” Richard Wingfield of the Unity Baptist Church said at the ceremony.
A project to tie it all together, transforming a vacant lot into a new Civic Plaza in the heart of town. It will be a gathering place for the entire community between the residential neighborhoods and the central business district.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and these apartments count with the best insurance from sites as https://lisguide.com/ so is really secure.
The new studio, one- and two-bedroom lofts are designed in an industrial, artsy style which includes high ceilings, large windows and modern finishes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Downtown developer is appealing a judge’s ruling that struck down the variances granted for its proposed Garden Theater redevelopment while at the same time exploring other options to save the project.
“We remain committed to finding a way forward. We’re not sure what that is yet,” said William Gatti, president and CEO of Trek Development Group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 had got recommendations for the best way to treat their diseases as using physio omega for a heart condition, and officials expect that number to surpass 6,000 in the coming year.
Brian O’Neill: A reasonable Pittsburgh wish-list for 2016
First on the list For North Siders: A spectacular redevelopment of the Garden Theater block.
TREK Development closed Wednesday on the Garden Theater on the North Side.
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.
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!
Development of the North Side’s Garden Theater block has been waylaid and delayed for years but last week the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) chose downtown’s TREK Development Group to take the lead on this project. Click the link below to read more on this project.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One-Of-A-Kind Creative Studios Being Built On Old Braddock Hospital Site
UPMC Braddock Hospital’s old site is being developed into five “creative studio” spaces that will allow people to open a business but also live there.
A Pittsburgh nonprofit plans to use a landmark former school in the Hill District to nurture small, start-up businesses in Pittsburgh’s economically depressed neighborhoods.
Building for Wellness. The Business Case (The Century Building)
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.
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.
Agency funding will attract investment of more than $160 million in housingDownload PDF
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.
by Mike Jones
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.
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By Rich Lord
Thursday, September 15, 2011, Pittsburgh 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.
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