South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Neighborhood hears possible plans for building senior residence in Carrick


The Community Builders is not an organization that "feels that one size fits all" Tamara Dudukovich, its director of development, said.

"What is important to us is the needs of the population that we're serving," she said. That is why she and Ronald Wong, senior project manager at TCB, along with Council member Natalia Rudiak, held a meeting May 18 to gain more residential input on plans to build a 64-unit four-story housing complex at 2920 Brownsville Road featuring apartments for seniors.

It would be named Hillcrest Senior Residences and the estimated cost to build it is $12 million.

TCB, the developer, has existed since 1964 and has been active in Pittsburgh, particularly East Liberty, for 15 years. The nonprofit organization has raised more than $380 million for housing projects for seniors.

"The stars are aligning and we are gaining momentum on realizing this opportunity. Our ideas on this are still a work in progress," Ms. Dudukovich said. "We specialize in multi-family rental housing."

Current plans call for accessing stimulus funds to acquire the Giant Eagle property, formerly a Carrick store, to redevelop as housing on the 1.7 acre site that is zoned to allow multi-family housing.

TCB would own and manage the complex. It currently manages 22 senior developments, including one in Pittsburgh. Focus group sessions are planned so TCB can hear more ideas and comments.

"Nothing is written in stone," Ms. Dudukovich said.

Federal funding and tax credit requirements will determine the income levels served by the project, Mr. Wong said after the meeting.

Amenities may include a dining room, fitness center and library. There will be one and two-bedroom apartments, each efficiently designed with a full service kitchen, the pair said.

The facility with affordable and market rate apartments would be for service supported independent living and may offer prepared meals, housekeeping and transportation to medical appointments. If all goes smoothly, the construction may start in November, 2012 and could end within a year with leasing starting in October, 2013.

 Ms. Dudukovich said several local senior complexes do not currently offer any vacancies.

"Seniors love to live in this neighborhood," one lady attendee said. "To me it makes a lot of sense. This may be one of the best sites for seniors in this area."

Ms. Rudiak noted the former Giant Eagle building has been vacant for nearly 10 years. "It is the first thing you see when you enter Carrick and the last thing you see when you leave. People think it is in Brentwood."

Giant Eagle terminated operations at the store after the company built a larger one 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 project. The councilwoman said Giant Eagle did not want a competitor using the property for retail purposes.

"This complex would serve as an anchor for the neighborhood," she said, mentioning Carrick is two miles long and such a facility is much needed.


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