With development increasingly pricing poor Black families out of Pittsburgh neighborhoods like East Liberty and now Lawrenceville, the Urban Redevelopment Authority has approved funding for a project that will buck that trend—by bringing affordable housing to Squirrel Hill.

During its May meeting, the URA board approved lending $500,000 to a $16 million development that will bring 33 affordable housing units to the former Poli’s Restaurant site in a six-story building called Squirrel Hill Gateway Lofts.

City Councilman Corey O’Connor, who represents Squirrel Hill, welcomes the project.

“It’s exciting. It’s the gateway into Squirrel Hill. We’ve been trying to do something there for many, many years,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to house a great organization that helps a lot of people in the community.”

The developer for the project is ACTION-Housing, and according to authority Executive Director Robert Rubinstein’s report, 29 of the units will be one-bedroom apartments—four for residents with incomes at or below 20 percent of the area median income (AMI), 13 for those at 50 percent AMI, and 12 for those at 60 percent AMI.

The remaining four units will be two-bedroom apartments, renting to households at or below 60 percent AMI. The one-bedroom units will average 660 square feet and the two-bedroom units will be 950 square feet.

The location is served by several bus lines and a 23-space parking deck will be built across the street on a triangular lot. As for the rest of the financing, Jewish Residential Services will occupy the ground floor, and pay $3.8 million for its space, considered a separate condominium unit. The space will house administrative offices and an expanded Howard Levin Clubhouse, a licensed psychiatric and social rehabilitation program.

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