Affordable Housing and More

On Friday the PA Housing Finance Agency announced its grants for this 2019 cycle. PHFA grants are one of the effective vehicles for financing affordable housing throughout the state. The announcement coincided with two local project announcements that also focused on affordable housing.

After the wave of market rate private housing development peaked a few years ago, the City of Pittsburgh created regulations that are aimed at bringing affordable housing into the city along with the higher renting multi-family projects. Developers aren’t fans of the regulations, which tie public subsidy to inclusion of at least 10% of the units (on developments of 20 units or more) being reserved for rents that are affordable for people earning 50% of the median family income or less. Since the city is not budging on this, developers have begun to accommodate this requirement in their pro forma.

One of the two projects publicized last week, Arsenal 201, fits that description. Milhaus is proposing 343 units, along with a 454-car garage, and will have 10% that are affordable. The project is the second phase of the Arsenal development. This phase, which should top $60 million, needs to get through city approvals before starting work late this year or early 2020. Franjo Construction is doing preconstruction on the project now.

The second project getting ink on Friday was the Fifth & Dinwiddie Apartments, which is being developed by Derrick Tillman’s Bridging the Gap LLC, along with HB Development.  The $51 million project in the Hill District will bring 161 apartments and ground floor commercial space. Tillman says the project is applying for PHFA funding and is expected to start in about 18 months. Nello Construction is the general contractor.

PHFA’s awards were good news for Mistick Construction, which is the general contractor on half-dozen of the projects funded. Among them are the $13 million Larimer Phase 4 and the $10 million New Granada Square Apartments, which will bring another 40 apartments to the Hill District.

Rendering by PWWG Architects of the Granada Square Apartments.

In construction news unrelated to housing, the KML Carpenters selected Rycon Construction as contractor for its $9.5 million expansion. Jendoco Construction is taking bids on the $9.5 million Fifth & Neville Residences, which will be apartments for CMU students. Another CMU residence hall, the $32 million Fifth & Clyde, is being budgeted by Rycon Construction.

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