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Oakland portal project under way

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By Sam Spatter
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011

The long-delayed Oakland Portal development -- first announced in 2006 -- has finally started with construction of two apartment buildings, called Portal Place Apartments.

"We have broken ground for construction of the first luxury apartment, which will have one- and two-bedroom units, geared to professionals in the Oakland area, including staffs of hospitals located near the site," said Lou W. Molnar, of L .W. Molnar & Associates Inc., the developer/owner.

The luxury units have a tentative rental rate starting at $1,350 a month, he said. They will be located at 2633 Fifth Ave., along the bus line into Downtown. Occupancy is scheduled for July.

Leasing will be handled by L. W. Molnar and Associates Inc.

The revised Oakland Portal project is being developed by Molnar and his sons, Skip and Andrew.

"We are pleased to be able to build this apartment building in these difficult economic times, because of great partners and the support of our lender, Huntington Bank." The contractor is FranjoConstruction.

Construction of the second apartment building, along with the site infrastructure for offices and a hotel, will begin in 2012, Molnar said.

The project will have three office towers, each consisting of 130,000 square feet of rental space, each with its own garage. They will overlook the Monongahela River and the South Side.

Construction of the office park and a 150- to 170-room hotel is scheduled for early 2013.

Molnar will be the sole developer of the first apartment under the name Oakland Portal Partners. He is considering other investors in the other buildings.

The original plan for the Oakland Portal Project included about 800,000 square feet of mixed-use development and spanned portions of Fifth and Forbes avenues. It was backed by a group of developers, including Frank W. Gustine, Sol Gross and the late William Baierl, along with Molnar.

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