Developers target Strip for new housing

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. A bulldozer sits on site in the Strip District on the corner of Penn Ave. and 34th.

Photo by Claire Murray | Photo Editor. A bulldozer sits on site in the Strip District on the corner of Penn Ave. and 34th.

By Jen Cardone | The Duquesne Duke

Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, home to exotic grocers and independent businesses, is on its way to becoming a residential hotspot.

According to executive director of Neighbors in the Strip Becky Rodgers, the Buncher Co., based out of Pittsburgh, plans on connecting Railroad Street at 21st down to 11th Street. It will run parallel to Smallman Street and Penn Ave. The company plans to use the space for residential, office and commercial developments.

To do this, Buncher must update the sewer system, which they are currently working on with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Rodgers said.

Buncher’s project should be completed by November and the road will be called Waterfront Place.

The Rugby Realty Co., a real estate company from Rochelle, N.Y., recently took down the old Pittsburgh Banana Co. building due to its poor condition. RRC President Aaron Stauber said they demolished the building to replace it, but do not have plans for anything specific yet.

“[A company] occupies…on the site and they have a lease there for a few more years,” Stauber said. “Ultimately, we will likely be retail and multi-family on site. Smallman is a gateway corner in the Strip and it’s really an ‘A’ location for retail.”

Multi-family is a building with several units in one complex.

An additional housing project on a smaller scale will be from Indovina Associates Architects. Principal Robert Indovina said they plan to move their business from Shadyside because they needed more space.

Their company will reside at 32nd and Penn Ave., and they will provide 14 units for living.

Indovina was very enthusiastic about the purchase because it is a “handsome building in fairly good shape considering it is over a hundred years old.”

Throughout construction, Rodgers said the only parking that will disappear is that for people who park in the Strip and work Downtown.

Rodgers said she sees great potential for the future of the Strip District and believes that people will want to live after the housing construction is complete, due to its “great central location.”

“It’s well serviced by public transportation, flat, bikeable, walkable and living in the Strip gives you good access to Downtown,” Rodgers said. “It is also a job center next to Downtown and Oakland. It is an easy place to get to work because you have everything from entry-level hotels with maids and room service to manufacturing to retail to very high tech jobs with a wide range of pay scales.”

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