April 15, 2014 | Vol. 74 No. 39

Brew House will soon have 76 new apartment units

The Brew House redevelopment, Student Conservation Association (SCA), and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh (RTP) were the focus of the April 8 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The redevelopment presentation was by Larysa Gradeck, vice-president of the Brew House Association, and Bill Gatti of the TREK Development Group.

The two organizations are partnering for the $21 million project which will transform the 115-year-old building at 2100 Mary St. into apartments and renovated artists’ space.

The plan for the 104,000-square foot space is: 76 units of affordable and market rate housing; gallery space; community workshop; and private artist work studios. There will be 48 parking spaces.

The current breakdown of unit types is: 20 studio apartments, of about 500 to 700 square feet; 51 one-bedroom, of about 800 to 1,100 square feet; and five two-bedroom, of about 1,100 to 1,450 square feet.

Since 1993, the non-profit Brew House Association has operated the former Duquesne brewery site as space for local artists. While the focus is primarily the visual arts, the building has provided studio space for puppeteers, sculptors, glass blowers, and others.

Ms. Gradeck said a goal is a national residency once the project is completed to attract a variety of artists.

Mr. Gatti said a special exception for artists’ studios will be sought from the city within the next six months.

The schedule is for construction to be complete and leasing for units in spring/summer of 2016.

In other presentations, Nancy Schaefer of the SCA said the organization will be working on conservation projects in South Side Park: Earth Day on April 26; and National Trails Day on June 7.

The focus will be battling invasive species those two days. Volunteers are sought from South Side neighbors, she said.

The SCA is a national and environmental nonprofit organization founded in 1957. It was established in Pittsburgh in 2001. Its mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire stewardship of our communities by engaging young people in hands-on service.

Youngsters are working Saturdays on trails, signage, clean-up, and more under the supervision of trained, experienced crew leaders. In the summer, they will be working full-time in South Side Park.

Ms. Schaefer said the experience teaches youths how to work so they can eventually secure adult jobs. It also teaches them about the environment.

Youngsters should contact her if interested in summer and other work. Adults are also needed to lead the youth this summer.

Regarding Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, its mission is providing free home repair assistance to low-income seniors, veterans, and the permanently disabled. Applicants must own their homes for at least three years, and be current on all property taxes or on a qualified payment plan.

Volunteers are sought for the June 7 volunteer day in the Slopes. All skill levels are welcome. Lunch and safety gear will be provided.

RTP is part of a national network, and is also a local non-profit with 501(c)(3) status.

To request an application for home repairs, call: 412-922-0953.

In his brief report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), Peter Kreuthmeier said there is no change in the status of the marina project. Work is scheduled to begin this fall with a small turnaround at the S. Water St. level. A walkway and ramp trail down to a small dock will be built.

In the second year, the URA parcel will be further developed. A parking lot and loading area will be built. Infrastructure and electrical will be installed. There will be more docks.

The marina operator will come to the DRC before the fall.

Next, Adam DeSimone of the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association (SSB&RA) said a final report, upon completion, will be shared with the forum on the March 15 St. Patrick’s Day on the South Side.

The plans included taxi, valet parking, pedicab, shuttle bus services, and toilet trailer. It was developed by volunteers of the SSB&RA and the Chamber of Commerce.

Since March 15, there have been meetings with various groups on what worked and did not work to be incorporated into a plan for next year.

The pedicabs, taxi cabs, and valet parking were especially successful, with the latter parking 288 cars.

Slopes resident Candace Gonzalez, who played an integral role in the planning, said the biggest challenge was from 8 to 11 p.m. as it was hard to get a cab due to the city-wide demand.

Mr. DeSimone said the long-term goal is to devise a master plan on safety, cleanliness, transportation, and vibrancy for South Side’s nighttime economy.

In other news, while Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government relations, was unable to attend the meeting, but she provided an update earlier in the day.

Duquesne is working with the South Side Chamber of Commerce and South Side Community Council to try to organize a student/neighbor social event at the Welcome Center in mid- to late-April.

The event will serve as a good opportunity for the university to prepare for a larger event in early October after students return for the fall term.

The next forum meeting will be on May 13.

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