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Real estate notes: Board authorizes financing for Hill District's Irvis Towers

| Saturday, May 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

• The Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency board has approved a repayment loan on K. Leroy Irvis Towers in Pittsburgh's Hill District. Walker & Dunlop will provide a Fannie Mae refinance package for $7,798,000 at an interest rate of 5.35 percent with a 30-year amortization and a 30-year term. The board authorized the financing through the Partnership Preservation Initiative, dedicated to preserving five existing affordable housing developments in Pennsylvania. The board approved, at its May meeting, for the agency to issue tax-exempt multi-family housing bonds for up to $11.7 million for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the five properties. K. Leroy Irvis Towers, a 12-story building with 190 units at 715 Mercer St., offering senior care living, had an original mortgage of $6.44 million with an interest rate of 7.4 percent through March 2020. The current loan balance is $2,353,247. Owner of the building is Bedford & Crawford Associates, with GWM Holdings LP as general partner.

• The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County recently approved two funding plans for the Wilkinsburg Train Station in Wilkinsburg. It approved having the ivy covering the station's exterior walls removed by seeking a $50,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission, and approved a $175,000 grant through the Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund to make repairs and replace the roof. Dennis Davin, the authority's executive director, said the ivy is damaging the mortar on the exterior and water from holes in the roof is damaging the interior.

• A $25,000 grant toward a $75,000 project by the Southwestern Pa. Veterans Chamber of Commerce through the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County will enable the Chamber to support the Veterans training initiative. The Chamber is planning to hire a consultant to assist the region's veteran-owned businesses and members prepare for contracts pertaining to regional infrastructure/highway, transportation, housing and commercial development projects. The consultant will work about 10 hours a week with 25 or more veterans.

• Wal-Mart opened its Economy Borough, Beaver County, store on Wednesday, and awarded a total of $8,000 in grants to community groups including Beaver County Food Bank, Beaver Humane Society, Economy Fire Department, Economy Police Department and Baden American Legion. The store employs about 300 and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Economy Mayor David Polling said: “Not only has Wal-Mart already brought new jobs, but it will spark future interest in additional investment in Economy Borough's business districts.”

• In New Kensington, Denny's, which employs more than 40, reopened at 209 Tarentum Bridge Road, on May 4 after being closed for six days. During the closing, workmen refurbished booths; installed new tables, chairs, carpet and hardwood tiles; painted; and added landscaping and several modern accents such as a decorative back wall.

• The $2 million skybridge/pedestrian walkway, linking the Benedum Center's front of house/lobby spaces to the mezzanine level of the Clark Building, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, recently received a $225,000 grant through the Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund authorized by the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County. Once the bridge is completed, the 16,000-square-foot mezzanine level will be renovated to include women's restroom facilities, new patron and donor lounges, multi-purpose event and gathering space, and a full-service kitchen. The men's, family and accessible restroom facilities will be expanded, and a permanent bar and concessions location for patrons and additional donor lounge facilities will be added.

• Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has maintained its ranking as the nation's fourth-largest residential real estate company for the sixth consecutive year and No. 1 in Pittsburgh, according to Real Trends 500, which conducts an annual research report to identify the nation's top residential real estate companies. In 2013, Hanna closed 48,300 sales (as the listing or selling agent), with $9.1 billion in sales volume. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services was listed as No. 2 in Pittsburgh by Real Trends, with nearly $1.7 billion in closed sales volume based on 8,506 combined sales. It has 13 offices and 900 independent sales professionals.

— Sam Spatter

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