Rendering of Penn 23 courtesy of New City Marketing.

It may be quiet now, but the corner of Penn Avenue and 23rd Street will soon be booming.

Real estate developer and former tech entrepreneur Francois Bitz purchased the long-vacant Strip District building at 2330 Penn in 2016, and bought the lot next door (with the roofless structure) shortly thereafter. In partnership with Keller Williams Realty and New City marketing, he plans to turn the space into a high-end residence for the rapidly developing neighborhood.

Applications for the development have wound their way through the city’s approval process for nearly three years. Project leaders tell us that now demolition and construction of Penn 23 will begin very soon.

Speaking with NEXTpittsburgh, New City founder Kathy Wallace says she and her colleagues applied for a demolition permit several months ago from the City Planning Commission. Once that comes through, Penn 23 will be on track for demolition this fall.

“It will be any day now,” says Wallace.

That will be followed by 12 to 14 months of construction, with the building’s opening slated for late 2020. Franjo Construction will serve as the contractor.

Rendering Courtesy of New City marketing.

The eight-story development will include 21 one- and two-bedroom condos ranging from $408,000 to $1.4 million. Eight units have already sold, including a $2.5 million penthouse.

While there are certainly larger projects in the neighborhood, Wallace says Penn 23 offers more living space per unit than many other high-end apartments and condos currently on the market. The floor plans range from 920 to 2,589 square feet.

“We’ve seen a lot of people that wanted more square footage,” says Wallace, whose portfolio includes several developments in the Strip District and Downtown.

Drone image shows what will soon be the view from the top of Penn 23. Courtesy of New City marketing.

Designed by Indovina Associates Architects, the building includes a number of private and communal decks and terraces boasting stunning views of the city skyline, Wallace says. Other amenities include a fitness center, generous indoor parking spaces and bicycle storage.

Most appealing of all, Wallace says, residents will have access to the wealth of professional and cultural resources that define the Strip District today.

“The location,” she says, “is crazy good.”

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.