Also: Upgrades planned for Lewis Park
By Juliet Martinez, managing editor
The well-attended Hazelwood Initiative monthly hybrid meeting on Dec. 12 took place in the second-floor classroom at Community Kitchen. Tishman Speyer, Hazelwood Green lead developer, presented plans for a new apartment building on the former brownfield and introduced the team working on it. A presentation from the Department of City Planning focused on updates planned for Lewis Playground on Second Avenue. Another presentation introduced the Percent for Art program.
Photo 1: The upper-floor plan shows the layout and where the accessible units will be. Photo 2: A rendering of the multi-family development planned for the corner of Lytle and Eliza streets across from Hazelwood Green Plaza. Photo 3: The ground-floor plan shows the phase 1 section in color. Photo 4: The Lewis Playground scope of work includes performing an engineering study for repair or replacement of the retaining walls and resurfacing and color-coating basketball courts, updating the bleachers, fixtures and lighting. The plan may include converting the hockey deck to green space, adding a picnic pavilion and upgrading the playground safety surface.
Hazelwood Green affordable housing
Austin Gelbard, managing director of Tishman Speyer, said construction has begun on the University of Pittsburgh BioForge and the Carnegie-Mellon University robotics facility planned for Hazelwood Green.
He introduced new partners for a planned multi-family building project, including TREK Development and the nonprofit Scholar House.
TREK Development focuses on affordable, low-income, and mixed-income housing. The company also takes a human-centered approach to property management, employing social workers for tenant support, and holding “network nights” where residents can discuss problems and share ideas.
The project architect discussed the first phase of the project to construct a five-story, 50-unit residential building across Lytle Street from Hazelwood Green Plaza. It will have four floors of apartments and active ground-floor amenities including a flexible workspace focused on electronic resources that could also serve as a small classroom. It will have a fitness facility, bike storage and a children’s play area with an adjoining outdoor playground. Each floor will have a trash and recycling room; laundry facilities will be onsite. Six of the units will be accessible for people with mobility, hearing or vision disabilities. Water and sewage costs will be covered by the owner, but each tenant will pay for their other utilities.
The development will partner with Pittsburgh Scholars, a nonprofit that supports highly motivated single parents and their children to “ignite a cycle of generational prosperity through a blend of affordable housing and higher educational attainment,” said Diamonte Walker, Pittsburgh House chief executive officer. “We invest in parents, we invest in kids,” she said.
The project manager for TREK Development said preference will be given to people already living or working in Hazelwood in 37 of the 50 units. Of those, 27 will be for Section 8 voucher holders and 10 will be affordable for those earning between $60,000 to $75,000 a year. The project, expected to be submitted for funding this month, will set aside 13 units for families in the Pittsburgh Scholars program.
Meeting attendees asked how a residency preference conforms with the Fair Housing Act. The presenters said they will propose clear parameters for resident preference, but Housing and Urban Development will have to approve them.
Phases 2 and 3 will fill out the rest of the block with more residential units. In phase 1, the units will be one- and two-bedroom. Meeting participants said families have left the neighborhood because of the scarcity of three-bedroom units within the community. A team member from TREK Development responded by saying they rarely include three-bedroom units in apartment buildings due to the higher cost, so they plan to meet the needs of single and two-person households with this project, and that three-bedroom units are under consideration for phase 2.
The development will be all electric, with access to private and campus parking, and electric vehicle charging stations. The development will manage stormwater onsite and the roof will be built to accommodate solar panels if it becomes feasible to install them.
The team is focused on boosting energy efficiency by creating a well-sealed, well-insulated and well-lit building with large windows in each unit. They are pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification, known as LEED Gold, and Zero-Energy-Ready status.
“Sustainability is a core value for us, so we will continue to pursue opportunities to enhance that,” said William Gatti, the founder, president and chief executive officer of TREK Development.
Lewis Park Playground upgrades
Andrea Ketzel, senior landscape architect with the Department of City Planning, discussed proposed upgrades for the park at Second and Minden avenues. The current plan involves repairing retaining walls, resurfacing basketball courts, converting the deck hockey court into a green space and upgrading the safety surface.
Meeting participants suggested updating the drinking fountain and putting in lead-free pipes. They stressed the importance of clean water and staying hydrated, as well as the need for adaptable and wheelchair-accessible spaces in the park. Ms. Ketzel agreed to set up a page on the Engage PGH platform to gather more feedback.
A meeting participant emphasized the importance of public art in the park. Ms. Ketzel encouraged engagement through Engage PGH to coordinate the improvements with the Percent for Art program.
Visit engage.pittsburghpa.gov/lewis to give your input on the project.
Percent for Art public art
Arts, culture and history specialist Tony Cavalline from the Department of City Planning discussed the launch of a Percent for Art public art project in Hazelwood.
The Percent for Art program mandates that 1% of the budget for municipal construction projects be set aside for public art. A future Hazelwood project is likely.
Hazelwood Initiative updates
The Jan. 9 community meeting will focus on the development of the 4800 block of Second Avenue and on the new Hazelwood Initiative strategic plan. On Jan. 16, a tenant interest meeting for Gladstone will be held at Community Kitchen Pittsburgh (see ad below). Executive director Sonya Tilghman said she expects to start accepting interest applications in February and tenants will move in by June.