East End new housing increase

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Nearly four years after the first phase of Liberty Park was constructed, the second phase, 71 mixed-income rental units in 13 buildings, should be ready for tenants by summer. The project is halfway completed, less than eight months since breaking ground.

The 124-unit first phase, now called Fairfield Apartments, is already fully occupied, mostly by tenants who were temporarily displaced by the demolition of the Liberty Park highrise.

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COMING SOON—71 units in the $14 million Liberty Park II development will be ready for occupancy this summer. Architecturally identical to phase I, units feature columns and brick. (Photos by J.L. Martello)

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who also took part in the groundbreaking with City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, hailed the project as another important step in revitalizing East Liberty.

“Everyone should have access to safe and affordable housing opportunities,” Ravenstahl said. “Liberty Park II will offer the chance for residents who were temporarily relocated to return to their neighborhood of East Liberty, and to enjoy new, modern conveniences.”

Other partners included developers McCormack Baron Salazar, which will also serve as property manager, East Liberty Development Inc. and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

Liberty Park II is architecturally identical to the first phase, comprised mostly of townhouses highlighted by design features such as brickwork and columns. There are also three apartment buildings containing four units each.

“We’re going for a contextual look,” said Tai & Lee associate architect Will Hopkins at the groundbreaking. There’s brink and some columns, but they’ll have a modern edge.”

The entire complex was built by Mistik Construction. But thanks to additional public work by A. Liberoni, Inc., that included the extension and connection of Kalida Drive and Princeton Place, as well as the installation of new water lines, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and street lighting, the development will be reconnected to East Liberty.

Chuck Powell, URA diversity affairs director, said in addition to providing new housing, the $14 million second phase provided more than $4 million in Minority Business Enterprise participation by construction subcontractors.

“That’s around 28 percent, so we’re doing pretty good,” he said.

In addition to Liberty Park, ELDI has completed leasing for its Boulevard Apartments project, which was completed in May.

Eric Jester, ELDI project manager said the construction and design was handled by local firms and the result is 14 units of attractive affordable rental housing that fits into the neighborhood.

“They are all of the highest quality,” he said.

The apartments occupy four buildings on East Liberty Boulevard and Collins Avenue. There are two one-bedroom units, five three-bedroom units and seven two-bedroom units in the complex. But it’s not all rental housing, Jester said.

“We are also building new for-sale properties further up Euclid Avenue,” he said. “These sell for as much as $350,000, ensuring a mixture of incomes and residents that is completely unique in the Pittsburgh Area.”

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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