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Oxford Development doubles down on upscale apartments in SouthSide Works

| Friday, June 20, 2014, 12:47 p.m.

Mayor Bill Peduto on Friday said he might have been way off the mark with his initiative to draw 20,000 new residents to Pittsburgh over the next decade.

“That goal of 20,000 is a low bar,” Peduto said at a ceremony Oxford Development Co. held to mark the start of a $29 million, 117-unit apartment building in the SouthSide Works. Peduto did not provide an updated estimate.

Peduto said Oxford and Shadyside's Walnut Capital Partners, which will manage the upscale apartments known as Hot Metal Flats when it opens next May, have a combined 1,000 housing units in various stages of development across the city. Other developers have thousands more.

Peduto says the city's research shows demand for at least 5,000 units of upscale, amenity-laden apartments like those planned at Hot Metal Flats. Demand is also strong for more affordable options, he said.

“It's a vibrant new community in the South Side,” Oxford vice president of real estate Grant Mason said at Friday's ceremony, held across the street from the corner site at Hot Metal and Sidney streets where construction of Hot Metal Flats is under way.

Shawn Fox, director of business development and marketing for Downtown-based Oxford, said the company is planning more high-end apartments on the site where Friday's ceremony was held. It has an option to buy the vacant site from the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Oxford originally planned to use the land as a parking lot for an office building planned at the corner of Sidney and Hot Metal. Oxford scrapped the office plans last year in favor of building Hot Metal Flats.

Fox said Oxford plans to submit an apartment development proposal to the URA in August or September. He could not provide specifics such as the cost of the project and how many apartments it would include, noting planning remains preliminary. Fox said the land for the proposed apartment building is larger than the Hot Metal Flats property. The proposed building would feature more amenities than ones planned at Hot Metal Flats, he said.

Hot Metal Flats will include studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with average monthly rents ranging from $1,100 to $2,200. Aside from easy access to the South Side's vibrant restaurant and bar scene and the city's riverfront trail network, amenities will include a bicycle storage and repair area, pet-washing areas, a fitness center and an outdoor lounge with a sun deck and cooking grills.

Other apartment buildings planned in SouthSide Works include the 264-unit building by Village Green Holding LLC of Farmington, Mich., and a 56-unit building by 3030 South Water LP, which includes Downtown developer Ralph Falbo.

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

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