Upscale townhouses set for West End community

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The 4th of July, New Year’s Eve and Light up Night in November are celebratory times at the West End Overlook in Pittsburgh’s Elliott neighborhood. Soon the area will have another reason to celebrate when construction starts and four new upscale townhouses are completed.

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AN EXCITED TEAM—Announcing the Overlook at West Pointe, a new housing development slated for the Elloit community are Howard B. Slaughter Jr., Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, state Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Jeffrey A. Smith, Gil Berry and Christian Ivory. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

Considering the Overlook at West End Pointe development a part of the city’s third renaissance, both Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith view the project as a great asset to the community. “This is just the beginning. Projects like this attract other development to the community,” said Ravenstahl.

“I am excited to see this and new development in the Elliott community,” said Councilwoman Kail-Smith during a press conference announcing the development. “As a member of Pittsburgh City Council, I am eager to support initiatives that will spur further development within the City and certainly in the communities within my Council District.”

Located at the West End-Elliott Overlook, what many call one of the nation’s most scenic views; The Overlook at West End Pointe will sit on a quarter acre of land displaying a view which looks directly at the Point, Heinz Field, Carnegie Science Center, River’s Casino, PNC Park and the Downtown Pittsburgh skyline. Consisting of more than 3,800 square feet of living area, the multi-level, energy efficient townhomes will have a sky deck, elevator, large two-car garages, craftsman-style architecture, a fireplace and an elevator from the ground floor to the 4th level. Also included with the purchase of each unit is 40 hours of personalized design services provided by Lisa Smith of Interior Design Factory.

The homes carry a price of $890,000 each but are approved for Act 42 enhanced exemptions which carry city, school and county tax abatements. “The 10 year tax abatement incentive which the Elliot community qualifies for makes this project work,” pointed out the Mayor. Christian Ivory of Keller Williams Realty is the project agent.

Howard B. Slaughter Jr. explained that special incentives will be available to the first four buyers who sign up during a 90-day period beginning mid-November. A financial guru, Slaughter a former banker and served eight years as Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Director and CEO of the Fannie Mae Pittsburgh office is serving as a housing consultant for the developers, Sierra Development, LLC. He is president of Christian Management Enterprises LLC and currently is director and chair of the policy committee for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Anticipating a 2013 spring start date for construction, developers Gil Berry and Jeffrey Smith share the excitement in their venture. “We are pleased to bring such a unique style of living to this community.” Smith added that it serves as a spring board to bring future development to the area.

Berry, the local partner in the Ohio based Sierra Development has been dreaming about the project for more than five years. Purchasing the property for $225,000 from Dr. Wolfgang and Daisy Loskens, he remembers when the couple first placed it on the market. “I shared my vision with the doctor and his wife at the time and they believed enough in me to wait until I had everything in place for the development even though they had many offers from other groups and individuals to purchase the property.”

“We lived there for 12 years,” said Loskens referring to the Marlow Street property. The South African native said they fell in love with the place the first time they saw it. “We loved the view. It is like a hidden jewel of the city.” With her husband being a doctor at Children’s Hospital in Oakland at the time, Loskens said they had plans to retire in Pittsburgh but their strategies changed. They now reside in North Carolina and he uses his skills as a plastic surgeon traveling doing mission work.

“My husband and I loved the passion Gil has and we’re excited about his plans for the site. We had many offers for the property but liked Gil the best. He has the humility of Nelson Mandela and the charisma of President Obama. We wish him well on the project,” said Loskens.

As partners in Sierra, Berry and Smith claim a wealth of experience. The Limited Liability Company is the parent firm of City Place Center and Three Rivers Pointe developments.

Berry, a real estate investor is president and CEO of Integrated Building Technologies, LLC, and Gil Berry Associates, Inc. He is the builder, owner and operator of the Sav-A-Lot Supermarket development in Clairton. He is also a certified distributor for green roofing and a licensed contractor for firestone building products, metal products, durolast and custom seal with a focus on distribution and sales of green building materials.

With 25 years’ experience in the commercial construction industry, Smith is an entrepreneur, investor, and sales and technical executive. His wealth of technical knowledge associated with the industry has afforded him the opportunity to conduct hundreds of educational seminars.

With strong state, city and community support for West End Pointe, Berry and Smith envision the project as the beginning of the revitalization for the Elliot community as well as the West End.

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