Housing planned for 'gateway' property
The owners of a long-vacant parcel at the “gateway” to Mt. Lebanon's main business district now want to build townhouses and condominiums on the site.
Downtown-based Zamagias Properties has owned a large lot at the corner of Washington and Bower Hill roads since 2007. The company initially proposed two towers of luxury condominiums and got tax-backed loans to finance part of the land acquisition, but that project fell through amid the economic downturn in 2008.
At the Mt. Lebanon commission meeting on Tuesday, Zamagias Chief Operating Officer David Martens and architect Daniel Rothschild of Strip District-based Rothschild Doyno Collaborative outlined their latest plans for the corner. Rothschild said it could feature “landmark” buildings befitting the northern gateway to Mt. Lebanon's Uptown business district.
“The idea would be to try and give that corner the civic importance that this (municipal building) gives the other end,” Rothschild said.
Next to single-floor condos and underground parking on the corner of the lot would be a row of brownstone-style townhouses along Washington Road.
The housing would be broken up by two small public plazas across Washington Road from St. Bernard Parish and the entrance to Pamela's P&G Diner.
Another multifamily building would go on Bower Hill across from existing apartment buildings. On the Kenmont Avenue side would be several smaller, single-family homes to fit in with the houses on that street, Rothschild said.
Martens said the development's 30 units would be priced from the high $200,000s to the high $300,000s.
“We have several more months of feasibility (studies) to get through before we determine whether this project will move forward,” he said.
A decision could be made late in the first quarter of 2013, company officials said.
After the luxury condo development collapsed, the company rejected other concepts for the site, including offices, retail and senior housing, Martens said. Meanwhile, neighbors grew impatient with the vacant property that was growing weeds and attracting crime.
“While we're excited to hear talk about the future, with all due respect, we live in the present, and what's there now could be made safer and more inviting,” said the Rev. David Bonnar, who lives at St. Bernard.
Bonnar presented a petition from neighbors urging Mt. Lebanon to further inspect the property and, if Zamagias doesn't make progress on developing it, exercise a “buyback” provision on part of the land the municipal parking authority sold the developers.
Martens would not comment on tax-increment financing loans the company received for its original project, which would have used most of the property tax revenue the project generated to repay loans taken out for planning and land acquisition.
Unless Zamagias fronts the money to repay the loans by Jan. 1, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Financing Authority could be left paying the $1.78 million, though Zamagias would keep the property. Martens would not say whether the company would seek TIF money for the newest version of the project.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Versailles couple faults construction company for damage to property
- Pennsylvania religious freedom law does not extend to for-profits
- Planned Uptown revival priority for City of Pittsburgh
- With ‘Ravenstahl Field’ awaiting approval, Pittsburgh City Council approves naming guidelines
- Arrivals from Paris soon will avoid extra screening at Pittsburgh International
- Ex-prosecutor concerned with latest Pa. child abuse findings
- Carnegie Library, recently in crisis mode, reports surplus, passes fundraising goal
- Allegheny County Court judge removes Brentley from City Council primary ballot
- Two with experience in the mental health system nominated to Allegheny County board
- Friendship mortgage broker sentenced to 20 months in prison for fraud
- Pa. woman charged with forging docs to claim she was an attorney