By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Developer hopes to put apartments in the Goodwill headquarters


March 17, 2009

Two potential new apartment complexes were the subject of presentations at the March 10 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The first presentation was by Jim Scalo, president of Burns and Scalo Real Estate Services, which plans to purchase the seven-story Goodwill headquarters building and surrounding buildings between 26th and 27th streets. The sale is not final.   Mr. Scalo is helping Goodwill search for a new location in Pittsburgh.

The whole deal, he said, is contingent upon Goodwill finding a suitable relocation site. Goodwill will retain its retail store.

While plans for the headquarters building are preliminary, Mr. Scalo said early designs call for retail on the ground level with apartments on the upper floors.  Tenants' parking would be on the basement level and in the rear of building.

While he foresees 55 to 70 apartments that are mostly one-bedroom, "it is very early," he said.

A market study on pricing is underway.   An architect has not yet been hired.

The project is estimated at roughly $20 million. 

"We believe we can complement the SouthSide Works," he said.

Mark Dellana, formerly of the Soffer Organization, the developer of the SouthSide Works, was in attendance as he is helping guide Burns and Scalo through the development process.

Mr. Scalo said Goodwill is looking to purchase a two-story building of about 100,000 square feet that is on a bus line.  Their current headquarters has leaks and is expensive to operate.

He said that in a meeting with Bruce Kraus the city councilman suggested either a family-style restaurant or a grocery store for the ground level of the headquarters building, on the corner of 27th St.

Architect David Morgan, of Morgan Associates/Architects on 12th St., shared plans to convert the South High School building into a 71-unit apartment building of 162,000 square feet.

The project, with a working title of "South Side High School Apartments," will be partially funded by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

As the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, tax credits are available.

He hopes to begin construction within 90 days of closing. Work will last 18 months, with tenants moving in after 15 months.

Mr. Morgan said he wants to restore the building exterior and interior.   He will keep the classroom layout, and maintain the auditorium, which will be used as a community room, with parking underneath.

He plans to save the windows, and maintain the woodwork and baseboards.

The swimming pool will be slightly reduced.

He will keep the plaques which are on the walls, and the lockers, although the latter will be sealed, to maintain a school look.

"We wanted to take the preservation of this building seriously," he said.

The plan is for two-thirds of the units to be one-bedroom, one-third to be two-bedroom, and a few efficiencies in small, leftover spaces.  Three elevators will be installed.

All units will have the capability of being adapted to handicap-accessibility.

Mr. Morgan said there are minor problems with lead and asbestos, for which he will have remediation plans.

Pricing will be on the higher end, targeting young professionals.

To a query from forum Chair Hugh Brannan as to whether the South Side Neighborhood Plan's advocacy of 10 percent affordable housing in new developments be adhered to, Mr. Morgan said he would work with the issue.

In the LTV update from a March 3 steering committee meeting, Judy Dyda, manager of community planning/Elm Street manager at the South Side LDC, reported that work began on March 9 on the widening of East Carson St. between 25th and 33rd streets.

The work starts with sewer installation from 26th to 30th streets.  Some work will be done at night.

2000 feet of temporary chain link fence will be installed from 21st to Hotel Metal streets.

There will be five inspectors on site at all times, who will park at the Mill Site Tavern lot.

The contractor is attempting to contact RIDC about the possibility of dumping clean fill at the Hazelwood site.

In SouthSide Works news, the decision by Falbo Condos to move from condos to a rental strategy is based on availability of financing.

The building, to be located next to the Kratsa Hotel being built on Water St., will be four-story wood frame with concrete/brick facade. There will be 20 parking spaces under the building and 30 spaces behind it.

It will have 20 two-bedroom and 19 one-bedroom units, all of which will come with balconies.

The hope is to complete financing in March, followed by a July closing.  Units should be available by Summer, 2010.

Regarding Dolce, which built a "governor's driveway" in front of the building without permission or permit, PennDOT has issued a "cease-and-desist" order.

Dolce will work with the South Side LDC's Design Committee to develop parking strategies.

The forum's next meeting will be on April 14.


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