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Plan for Greensburg loft apartments receives approval

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A.B. Mac Properties LLC wants to build ParkSide Lofts, a 15-unit apartment building at 120 E. Otterman St. in Greensburg. The proposal was reviewed on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, by the city’s Historic and Architectural Review Board, which approved the exterior designs.

A company involving the executive director of a Greensburg development agency and his wife wants to build a 15-unit apartment building on East Otterman Street in the city.

On Tuesday, representatives for A.B. Mac Properties LLC presented exterior designs for the proposed ParkSide Lofts at 120 E. Otterman St. to the Greensburg Historic and Architectural Review Board.

Board members unanimously approved the designs.

“It's an attractive building,” member Nancy Stewart said.

Steve Gifford, executive director of the Greensburg Community Development Corp. and chairman of the historic review board, and Rhonda Gifford are the development group's principals. They didn't attend the meeting.

“The market for new apartments with a modern décor located near the shops and nightlife of downtown Greensburg is strong,” Gifford said later in an e-mail. “We have been following this trend and are ready to capitalize on it. The decision of Seton Hill to place a second academic building within the city's cultural district was the last piece of our puzzle.”

The building probably will be aimed at college students, representatives said during the presentation. But Gifford added he knows of retirees and “empty nesters” who also want “to live in an urban apartment near the amenities and experiences they desire.”

The Giffords wanted an “urban project” with a “modern design,” Traci Yates, owner of general contractor T. Construction & Consulting Services of Sewickley told the planning board.

The rectangular building is proposed to be 25 feet wide and 205 feet long and consist of one- and two-bedroom units and studio apartments.

A total 21 beds in both furnished and partially furnished apartments are planned, said Terry Oden of Desmone Associates Architects, of Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood.

A construction cost wasn't disclosed.

Plans call for demolishing a building that has been vacant for about 20 years, Yates said.

Pennsylvania Combat Sports and a Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania parking lot are next to the proposed structure.

Lighting is planned to accent the building at night, Oden said. The lighting will be “nothing overpowering,” he said, but will “give it a warm glow.”

Yates said after the meeting she wants to start construction in September and complete the building by late spring or early summer of 2014. She expects the work to take about nine months.

City council next will review the exterior designs.

The city planning commission is expected to review the project next month, city planner Barbara Ciampini said after the meeting.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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