Photo of East Liberty courtesy of Rapid Flow Technologies.

In a move sure to please housing rights activists, the Urban Redevelopment Authority approved Trek Development Group’s plan for dozens of new units of affordable housing in East Liberty at their monthly meeting today in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The project has had the weight of city government behind it. Last week, the Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF) advisory board passed a motion to award the project $690,000. And prior to the vote on Thursday afternoon, Mayor Peduto and the URA were already touting the project as a significant step for the rapidly changing East End neighborhood.

Thursday’s vote formally approved the grant, allowing Trek to purchase the land from the URA for $600,000, and to receive an additional loan of $670,000 from the Rental Housing Development and Improvement Program.

Located at the corner of Station and North Beatty streets, the Mellon’s Orchard South development will feature 37 affordable units and 10 market-rate units. A dozen of the units will be townhouses, with the rest being apartment-style homes in a variety of sizes for a variety of income levels. Six of the units will be specially designed for residents with mobile and sensory impairments.

The total cost of the project is projected to be $13.6 million.

A press release from the Mayor’s office notes that former residents of the Penn Plaza development, who were displaced in 2015, will be given priority for occupancy in Mellon’s Orchard South. In addition, the local nonprofit Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty will be consulting on the design.

The project is in keeping with Trek’s long-time focus on affordable housing.

“We’re happy to be at the forefront of this important issue,” says Trek Founder, President and CEO William Gatti. “And we’re happy to be a part of East Liberty’s rebound.

Bill O'Toole

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