South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Eight new high end homes are proposed for Grandview Avenue


Last updated 1/17/2019 at 9:34am

Preliminary concepts for eight new single-family homes on Grandview Avenue were presented for community feedback at last Thursday’s Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) community forum.

The proposed 4,000 square foot luxury townhomes would be constructed across the four adjacent lots beginning at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Merrimac Street at the top of P.J. McArdle Roadway.

Each home would include four bedrooms, an attached two-car garage, an elevator, and roof-top patios. Two of the units would have garages in the front with private driveway access from Grandview Avenue, while the remaining six would have garages in the rear with driveway access to Merrimac Street.

Kris Senko, of Senko Construction, and Nathan Hart, of Hart Architectural Services, presented the house designs and said several options were considered for the lots including apartment buildings, condos, and even a boutique hotel. The group ultimately decided on single-family homes, which they believe is also in the best interest of the community.

“What I’m trying to convey here is that these are meant to be high-end homes,” Mr. Hart said. “We really want to fit the grand corner that this really is. I think people really want to live in this community.”

According to Mr. Senko, the alternative would have been to build four duplexes, which he is approved to do from a zoning perspective; however, these concepts would have most likely resulted in low to moderate income rentals.

In order to proceed with the eight single-family homes across four lots will require Mr. Senko to obtain a zoning variance.

While most in attendance generally agreed single-family homes would be better than rental properties, many residents had objections about the new development.

The most common concern was how eight new four-bedroom homes would impact parking congestion on Merrimac Street. However, Mr. Hart pointed out each unit would have a two-car garage with a driveway that can accommodate visitor parking as well.

“Certainly, it is the goal that all of the parking generated from this development is located within the development itself,” Mr. Hart said.

Another concern was that driveway access on Merrimac Street would cause a traffic bottleneck during rush hour, especially when drivers attempt to make a left turn into the property after driving up P.J. McArdle Roadway.

Multiple residents raised concerns about the density and size of the project and asked if the developers would consider reducing the number of homes to seven to allow for more space or accommodate additional parking.

Mr. Senko said his firm has run several models and decided eight properties are the minimum required for the project to work financially. Mr. Hart added the topography would likely not allow for the adjustments in order to accommodate additional parking.

Regarding height concerns, Mr. Hart also said the homes would be approximately 40-feet high.

“We are being very careful to conform to city zoning requirements,” Mr. Hart said. “We are not building it any higher than we’re supposed to.”

Another resident asked what measures could be put in place to ensure the properties remain single family homes and not rental properties. The developers said possible restrictions could be included into a homeowners association agreement.

Mr. Senko said his company specializes in both residential and commercial development primarily in Lawrenceville, Oakland and North Side neighborhoods.

The firm has built more than 50 townhomes and the typical time to complete a build is eight to ten months. Senko Construction is the owner, developer, and contractor, on the Grandview Avenue project, which will allow them to complete it as quickly as possible.

Mr. Senko added homes would be built one at a time to prevent significant deliveries or disruptive construction to the community.

If the project does not receive any significant zoning delays, it could begin in mid to late summer. The first step would be to demolish each house on the existing four lots.

“We’re in the very beginning of city approval process,” Mr. Senko said. “We wanted to come to the community first.”

Following Senko Construction’s presentation, MWCDC board president Alaina Davis announced the MWCDC will hold a social forum on January 17 at Satalio’s on Bailey Avenue. The event will be catered by Micro Diner and will include activities and a cash bar.

The next MWCDC community forum will take place on February 21. The meeting will be a “2018 year in review” session. The MWCDC board and executive director Gordon Davidson will present a 2018 financial review, real estate review, committee reports, and more details on the organization’s plans for 2019.


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