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Excitement builds for Edgewater at Oakmont development

Homes at the $100 million Edgewater at Oakmont housing development have been selling quickly, putting it on pace to be completed two years earlier than expected.

The 34-acre development on the Allegheny River, located near Oakmont's border with Verona, is being built on the site of the former Edgewater Steel plant, which closed 10 years ago.

Murrysville development firm Kacin Companies received a $7.7 million loan in 2008 to clean up contaminated soil on the property.

"I've watched the entire development rise from the ashes," said Oakmont Mayor Robert Fescemyer, who lives five blocks away from the development on College Avenue and drives through about once a week to check the progress. "That's probably our last bastion; we have no other property we can expand on."

The site is to include as many as 240 homes in a combination of condos, town homes and single-family homes — all with customizable floor plans — as well as an apartment building. Retail and office properties also are planned. The homes are built to be energy-efficient; Kacin participates in the LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — via the U.S. Green Building Council.

About one quarter of the homes have been completed, are under construction or are under contract, said Jason Corna, broker for Edgewater Realty.

A dozen homes sold this year and 43 were closed on in 2011. Of the 14 riverfront properties, just three remain unsold, Corna said.

So far, 11 detached homes, 18 town homes and two "paired" homes are completed or are in the final stages of construction.

Those who have bought homes range in age from 21 to 85 and hail from California, Arizona and Boston and from throughout the Pittsburgh region.

"It's exactly what we wanted," said Ann Galm, 53. She and her husband Randy moved from Penn Township, Westmoreland County, into their new home in December. "We had been looking (for a home) here for two years."

Blends with community

Galm said what attracted them to Edgewater, where homes purchased this year have sold for between $412,000 and $611,000, was that it is in walking distance of Oakmont's shops, restaurants and walking trail and an easy drive to the city of Pittsburgh and other suburbs.

"It's a place where you can be active," she said.

Edgewater was designed as an extension of Oakmont by continuing the streets and neighborhood feel with tree-lined streets, sidewalks, alleyways and on-street parking.

"We put a lot of effort and time into fitting it into the community," Corna said.

A commercial area will be located along Allegheny Avenue, which Kacin extended into the development. It's slated to include a grocery store, bank, coffee shop and two restaurants.

Bruce Jamison, Oakmont borough manager, said residents who live near the development are happy with the change.

"There were some complaints during cleanup and demolition of the site, but then they put up with Edgewater for all those years," he said. "It's a nice change to a property that was considered blighted."

Additional Information:

Designs on Edgewater

'Showcase Showdown,' which pits two designers against one another, will air at 2:30 p.m., March 31 on HGTV. The episode was taped in two Edgewater homes in September.

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