Rendering of the Brickworks development at 2121 Smallman St. in the Strip District courtesy of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission.

More big developments are in the works for the booming neighborhoods of the Strip District and Upper Lawrenceville.

The development that is moving forward in the Strip at 2121 Smallman St. with the Pittsburgh Planning Commission’s approval, calls for eight buildings on 3.5 acres with 228 apartments in two large buildings and six smaller buildings. Four of the properties will have a total of 20 three-bedroom townhouses, and two of the buildings will each have 10 two-bedroom apartments that the developers are calling “stacked townhouses.”

The purchase price for the townhouses will run from $900,00 to $1.6 million with the two-bedroom apartments starting at $800,000 and running up to $1.5 million, according to the developer, Chicago-based McCaffery, which renovated the Terminal Building and Auction House.

Rent in the one-bedroom apartments will start at $2,000 a month.

Planning Commissioner Sabina Deitrick, the only member of the commission to vote against the proposal, asked Dean Welch, McCaffery’s vice president for Pittsburgh operations, if the development would include any affordable housing.

Welch said there were no plans to include any affordable units.

A monthly rent of $2,000 is considered affordable for someone with a $96,000 annual income. Area median income for a couple in the Pittsburgh area was $67,850 in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Townhomes at Brickworks located at 2121 Smallman St. in the Strip District. Rendering courtesy of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission.

The new development, which McCaffery is calling Brickworks, will have a total of 300,000 square feet of development spread across the eight buildings with a combined 268 units.

The two rental buildings, each with 114 apartments, will each have 53 covered parking spaces. The 20 townhouses for sale will each have two parking spaces and the 40 two-bedroom apartments that will be for sale will have one parking space per unit.

The developers are also including 86 protected spaces for bicycles — 29 in each of the two apartment buildings and one in every townhouse garage. There is no protected bicycle parking for the apartments that will be sold, though there are 80 outdoor racks that will be placed around the property.

Map showing the Brickworks development location at 2121 Smallman St. in the Strip District courtesy of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission.

One feature of the rental apartments lining Smallman Street from 21st to 23rd street are the two buildings, broken by a walkway at the 22nd Street easement, will each have 10 townhouse-style rentals on the first floor.

“We love the idea that we can walk up to the units,” Joseph M. Antunovich, CEO of Antunovich Associates in Chicago, which designed the apartment buildings, told the Planning Commission on Jan. 24.

“This is very reminiscent of the buildings we find in Lawrenceville. This is a tip of the hat so to speak to an older type of architecture. … All the way along Smallman we have these two-story units where their front doors are directly on Smallman.”

Proposed residential development at 5303 Butler St in Lawrenceville. Rendering courtesy of the Pittsburgh Planning Commission.

Further up the Allegheny River in Upper Lawrenceville, developers are proposing an L-shaped 300-unit apartment building along the north side of Butler Street with a wing stretching down the east side of McCandless Avenue. The site is mostly empty except for the brick building that was the Wilson & McCracken architectural millwork building.

The application presented to the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance hearing on Thursday, Feb. 2, shows renderings that leave the Wilson & McCracken building in place, but create four stories of apartments over two stories of retail and parking along Butler Street and over townhouses and parking on McCandless. 

The apartments will span the length of the property including over the breaks in the building on the first and second floors for easements allowing traffic to flow through 53rd Street off of Butler Street and through Berlin Way off McCandless Avenue.

The building housing the Persad Center is located directly behind the proposed development.

The developer, Albion Residential of Oak Brook, Illinois, is requesting a variance that would allows the company to build buildings that are 71 feet high in a zone that currently allows for 45-foot-high buildings. The building is designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture of Chicago.

Ann Belser is the owner of Print, a newspaper covering Pittsburgh's East End communities. After receiving a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she moved to Squirrel Hill and was a staff writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 20 years where she covered local communities, county government, courts and business.