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$1M in public financing approved for high-end housing in East Liberty |

$1M in public financing approved for high-end housing in East Liberty

Tom Fontaine
| Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:03 p.m

A Shadyside developer is collecting more than $1 million through a taxpayer-based grant and a loan to help finance a $17 million project to build 78 high-end apartments in East Liberty.

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors voted Thursday to award a $200,000 grant to Walnut Capital Management and to provide the company with an $875,000 loan from the agency’s Pittsburgh Development Fund.

The loan has a 3.5 percent interest rate. It is scheduled to be repaid in 10 years.

“The original plans didn’t include any public financing,” said Tom Cummings, the URA’s director of housing.

But Cummings said historic preservationists’ concerns about The Penn at Walnut on Highland, the East Liberty apartment project, prompted a redesign that increased costs and reduced the number of proposed apartments by six.

In December, preservationists criticized Walnut Capital for not incorporating enough of the facades of the old buildings slated for demolition to make way for the apartment project.

Contractors began dismantling the facades by hand last week. The developer agreed to save two of them and use them in the development.

The development near the corner of Penn and Highland avenues will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments and one-room “micro” apartments. It’s set to open in summer 2016. Some of the larger units will have balconies. Rents will range from $1,179 a month to $3,508 a month, according to URA documents.

The proposed building will have six stories with apartments on the top five floors and retail space on the first floor.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Tom at 412-320-7847, or via Twitter .

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