Allegheny City Stables Lofts. Photo courtesy of Birgo Realty.

It’s a measure of how well buildings were constructed in the late 1800s, that even a place built for horses is, in fact, beautiful and worthy of preservation — and conversion into a place for people to live.

“Allegheny City Stables was built in 1895. It’s currently the last-standing municipal building of Allegheny City, (before it was annexed by the city of Pittsburgh in 1907),” says Andrew Reichert, president of Birgo Realty, the Pittsburgh-based developer overseeing the project that is converting the Allegheny West stables into the Allegheny City Stables Lofts.

Reichert says the stables were home to about 300 horses for Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works. The horses were moved from floor to floor using an elevator with a pulley system. And, while stables aren’t known for smelling fresh, that is no longer an issue; the building hasn’t housed horses for a long time.

Located on North Avenue, the 18,000-square-foot Allegheny City Stables Lofts project will cost $7.5 million to create, including a conversion of the stables and the addition of a large section of new construction.

“I personally love the large arched windows, the decorative masonry on the building facade and the detailed cornice,” says Reichert. “There are too many amazing historic features to name, but I also love the large steel columns and old wood joists, many of which will be repurposed in the building.”

Construction should be done by Sept. 1. The 36 lofts vary from studios to one-bedroom units to two-bedroom (530 to 1,180 square feet) spaces. Rents are between $1,300 and $2,500 a month.

Rendering of the lounge at the Allegheny City Stables Lofts courtesy of Birgo Realty.

As far as location goes, it’s a few steps from Allegheny Commons Park, and a short walk to the businesses on Western Avenue. It’s also right next door to Reichert’s office, making it the easiest commute ever for the developer.

This has been a project of immense passion in a neighborhood that we deeply admire,” says Reichert. “Preserving this important landmark and updating it for the 21st century will help to augment Allegheny West’s continuing vitality.”

The historic North Side neighborhood has been supportive of the project and chose Birgo Realty to bring it to fruition.

“The neighborhood group, Allegheny West Civic Council, did an amazing job at preserving the structure, investing in its stabilization, and then doing a Request for Proposals to find a developer to take on the project,” says Reichert. “We were honored to have been selected.”

Rendering of a room at the Allegheny City Stables Lofts courtesy of Birgo Realty.

Jaimeson Ellis Architects and general contractor Fairchance Construction are working on the project, which includes 25 indoor parking spaces.

The project is already attracting interest from potential tenants.

“Our social media has even gotten attention from someone in California who is moving to Pittsburgh,” says Reichert. “We’re currently at approximately 30% pre-leased, and expect to have the building fully occupied in the coming months.”

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.