The former Carrick Giant Eagle building has been vacant for nearly 10 years.
Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak noted it is the first thing people see when entering Carrick and the last thing they see when they leave. Some people think the former store at 2920 Brownville Road is actually located in nearby Brentwood.
Representatives from the developer, The Community Builders (TCB), also the future owner and manager, came to a meeting in Carrick last week to give an update on plans to build a 64-unit four story senior independent apartment complex called Hillcrest Senior Residences on the site. If all goes smoothly, construction could start in November, 1012.
An audience of 20 people listened to Ron Lloyd, of RDL Architects in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and TCB employees Ronald Q. Wong, the senior project manager, Tamara Dudukovich, the director of development, and Jessica Jack, the resident services coordinator.
TCB, a nonprofit organization, founded in 1964, has been active in East Liberty for 15 years.
Mr. Lloyd said he was excited about the project and thought the neighborhood needed senior housing.
"Seniors find it hard to move to another place and want to live here," he said. "This is a great addition to the community."
"It looks like a good fit," Ms. Rudiak said.
There will be one and two-bedroom apartments, each efficiently designed with a full service kitchen. A combination of affordable and market rate apartments is planned.
The complex may have such amenities as a fitness center, game room, computer room, crafts room, library, tv/Wii room, gardening area and outdoor seating. Seniors can share space on an outdoor balcony.
The building will have large amounts of masonry, the architect said.
There will be 32 parking spaces located in the rear of the building.
There may be space to hold bingos and parties. A property manager will be available during the day and will be on call at night. Every floor will have a laundry room and the building will have security cameras installed.
Other services that may be offered include: flu shots, health fairs, advice on fall prevention, physical therapy, hospice and an on-site nurse.
TCB has applied for tax credits for senior housing and should learn next year if the application is successful. The organization will also apply for state funding.
"I have confidence," Ms. Rudiak said.
"I hope that it doesn't go to Congress," an audience member joked.
The next public meeting about the project is scheduled for September. TCB employees will also meet among themselves and discuss specific amenities and what rent will be charged. The speakers said several local senior complexes do not currently offer any vacancies.
Giant Eagle terminated operations at the location after the company built a larger store nearby at Brentwood Towne Square.
Ms. Rudiak, Brentwood elected officials and representatives from Carrick Community Council and Economic Development South had meetings with Giant Eagle about the matter.
In answer to a question, Ms. Rudiak said Giant Eagle did not want a competitor or potential competitor using the property for retail purposes. There had been rumors about the site being used for a GetGo or a beer distributor.
"The building is now off the market pending our going forward," Ms. Dudukovich said.
"This complex would serve as an anchor for the neighborhood," Ms. Rudiak said, mentioning Carrick is two miles long and such a facility is much needed.