South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Apartment building, marina proposed to be built in South Side


Proposals for a four-story 18-apartment building and a SouthSide Works marina were the focus of the June 14 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The first presenter was Diana Lynn, broker/manager of One80 Real Estate Services, who said the apartment building would be at the corner of 22nd St., Merriman Way, and Wharton St. The project team is Green Development and AM Rodriguez Associates. Sota Construction Services is the contractor and CMS Housing is the management company.

One80 Real Estate Services is the leasing agent.

There will be 13 two-bedroom apartments, and five one-bedroom apartments. The top floor will have apartments with lofts. There will be 22 parking spaces, which is more than is required.

Rental rates will be "market rate rent," said Ms. Lynn.

The building will be LEED certified, with its main entry off Wharton St.

The property is zoned urban industrial. To learn whether setback variances are required, a pre-zoning hearing on the project will be held on June 20.

The project will take 12 to 18 months to complete. The team hopes is to begin this winter.

The project team of Sota Construction Services and development partner AM Rodriguez/CMS Housing is not new to the area, having converted the former South Hills High School into subsidized and market-rate senior apartments called "South Hills Retirement Residence."

In the marina presentation, Mabon Lichtenfels, vice-president of construction and development for the Soffer Organization, said the proposal is at the very preliminary design stage.

The next step is further discussions with all parties involved in the project — Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), Riverlife, city officials, Soffer Organization, said the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers is responsible for the river and its traffic.

Financing for the project still has to be finalized.

The plan is to install floating slips, or docks, which the developer, who also owns the Fox Chapel Yacht Club, would pay for at an estimated cost of $3 to $3.5 million.

The URA or city officials have to find funding for the infrastructure to support the docks – such as an elevator, parking lot and retaining wall work. While the marina could open with a temporary gravel parking lot, it would become a paved lot, in phases, once money becomes available.

Mr. Lichtenfels said he does not know if house boats will be permitted, or if jet skis will be able to be rented, and he is not aware if a liquor license is involved with an entertainment venue at the site. The proposal does not include a fuel dock for boats.

If everything goes very well, the hope is to open the marina in May, 2012.

Regarding the update on Riverfront Park at SouthSide Works, Mr. Lichtenfels said "the park is progressing." The kiosk, which was severely damaged by a drunk driver, will be taken down and inspected. It will probably not be rebuilt and ready to open until October.

Marty Uram, an LTV Steering Committee member, said Riverfront Park has not been turned over to the city because the city doesn't have money to maintain the park. It is expected the URA, Riverlife, Soffer, and city officials will come up with an interim maintenance agreement this week.

Mr. Lichtenfels said the park will probably eventually have to be looked at as a regional asset district (RAD).

In other news, CSX is scheduled to start construction in Nov., 2011, to rebuild the railroad tunnel under Tunnel Park to make the line more accessible to all freight. Currently, the tunnel is not tall enough to allow a double stacked container to pass through.

The planned project completion date is Dec., 2012.

Mr. Lichtenfels said he is worried about the impact of noise and dust on businesses over the 12-month project duration. He said the request was made to begin in the fall when outdoor dining declines.

Mr. Uram also reported the URA is putting up request for proposals (RFPs) for four parcels at the SouthSide Works.

Three parcels are on the vacant site of the former Dick Corp. between the IBEW and the railroad tracks. The other parcel is located next to Matcon Diamond up to Becks Run Rd. Those interested in developing the sites should contact the URA.

In news of the South Side NID Steering Committee, Susie Puskar reported consultants Wendell and Associates were in town on May 13-14.

In addition to meeting with stakeholders, the consultants


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