Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board OKs $14.2M for affordable housing |

Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board OKs $14.2M for affordable housing

The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board of directors on Thursday approved $14.2 million for construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing, including $6 million to help preserve 188 apartments at Crawford Square in the Hill District.

The money will go to nine organizations planning to build or renovate 686 apartments and townhouses — 481 of which will be offered as low-income housing, according to authority Executive Director Castor Binion. The projects are spread across five neighborhoods, including the Hill, Fineview, Lincoln-Lemington, Homewood and Hazelwood.

Binion said they will help provide sorely needed housing for low-income residents.

“What’s driven us to this is the leadership of the board to find a pathway to increase the affordable housing opportunity in the city of Pittsburgh while affordable housing opportunities are beginning to decrease in certain parts of the city,” he said, noting that about 8,700 people are on an authority waiting list.

The largest project is Crawford Square, consisting of 348 apartments and duplexes of which 188 are rented to low-income residents. Covenants requiring the apartments to remain affordable have expired and the owner, AIG Inc., intended to sell them for market rate rentals, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s office.

The city and St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar, the property manager and builder of the development in the early 1990s, reached a deal to preserve the apartments as affordable. McCormack Baron Salazar will purchase the property from AIG with the help of public subsidies including $6 million from the housing authority and low-income housing tax credits. The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority agreed to restructure a $14 million loan that helped build Crawford Square.

“What would have happened had we not intervened is there would have been some purchaser who would have come to AIG, and they would have converted all of the affordable units to market rate,” said Richard D. Baron, Chairman of McCormack Baron Salazar.

He said the company intends to renovate all 348 apartments, but could not immediately provide project costs.

Other recipients of housing authority funding, all based in Pittsburgh, will receive amounts ranging from $419,998 to $1.8 million.

They include Bridging the Gap Development LLC.; Trek Development; Taylor Construction and Development; Hill Community Development Corp.; East Liberty Development Inc.; Glen Hazel Resident Management Corp.; and Allegheny County Housing Rehabilitation Corp.

Kendall Pelling, director of land development for East Liberty Development, said the organization is partnering with Homewood-based Building United of Southwestern Pennsylvania on a $12 million project on vacant properties along Kelly and Bennett streets in Homewood. He said construction would likely begin in 2017.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or [email protected].

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