Developer proposes homes for higher-income families at edge of Hill District
By Jeremy Boren
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 2:12 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Bill Gatti noticed a trend as his Trek Development Group firm built dozens of homes for poor and lower middle-class families along a once declining residential gateway between the Hill District and Uptown.
“We noticed the subsidies were getting lower, the rents were getting higher and the incomes were getting higher,” Gatti said.
That gave Gatti the confidence to integrate market-rate rental and for-sale homes in the fourth phase of development in what has become known as the Dinwiddie Triangle, an area connecting the Hill and Uptown bounded by Dinwiddie, Reed and Colwell streets, once dominated by vacant lots and dilapidated houses.
Instead of rentals only, the latest phase includes up to 19 homes that would sell at market rates, Gatti said. Prices of the privately financed homes would be about $200,000. They would have modern, open-floor plans, two to three bedrooms and about 1,600 square feet of living space, he said.
“Your front vista will be the Downtown skyline, and your back windows will look into a wooded grove,” Gatti said. “These are free-standing (houses) with integral garages within walking distance to Downtown.”
The Urban Redevelopment Authority's board on Thursday is scheduled to vote whether to negotiate the sale of six URA-owned properties on Reed Street that Trek needs to move forward. The legislation suggests seeking a $500,000 state grant to pay for part of the project.
It's likely to pass because it has the support of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who appoints the URA's board members.
“By investing in this important residential development, we are continuing to transform the Hill District and Uptown,” Ravenstahl said in a prepared statement.
The project includes construction of 24 subsidized and four market-rate rental homes on the northern end of Dinwiddie Street. Trek has completed or nearly finished 73 residences along Dinwiddie. Trek's work on 26 lofts in the former Miller School is expected to be finished by summer.
Carl Redwood, head of the Hill District Consensus Group, said Trek has been open about its plans with his community group's planning forum. The group expressed concern about preserving the Hill's historic character, and Trek has tried to address those concerns, Redwood said.
“Not every developer has done that, but Trek has,” Redwood said. “We've supported all the phases so far.”
Redwood said many of the homes are set aside for low-income families. For example, he said families must have an annual income of $30,000 or less to be eligible to live in the Miller School Lofts. Redwood said the planning forum hasn't reviewed plans for Trek's 19 for-sale houses.
“Gentrification is one of our issues with development. The cost of living there keeps going up, but the amount of money people make at jobs doesn't, so slowly but surely people get displaced,” Redwood said.
Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or email@example.com.
- Kovacevic: Matt Cooke 1, Ottawa Senators 0
- Penguins rout Senators, return to Eastern Conference final
- Letang dazzles with dynamic play in Game 5 win
- Alfredsson ponders his future
- Penguins notebook: Tickets for Eastern Conference final on sale today
- Pirates notebook: Bucs shut down injured Karstens
- 16-year-old girl shot and killed on Rankin street
- Smoking in school costs man more than a fine
- Steelers hope new blocking scheme kick-starts running game
- Pirates waste strong Burnett start, fall again to Brewers at Miller Park
- Senators notebook: MacLean puts onus on veterans
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
"The group expressed concerns about gentrification in the Hill and preserving its historic character. Trek has tried to address those worries, Redwood said" In other words, we want to make sure to keep the white people out and have these homes reserved for black people. And if we can't find black people to buy them then we need to have the gov't subsidize them and turn them into Section 8 housing.