Wadsworth Street Oakland affordable housing project
Wadsworth Street Apartment Building. Courtesy OPDC.

A new development project by Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, the Oakland Affordable Living Development, will soon bring 49 affordable and sustainable apartments to the neighborhood.

As part of the project, Allequippa Place, which consists of six buildings with a total of 30,386 square feet, built in 1927, will be preserved, and the 38,190-square-foot Wadsworth Street Apartment Building will be constructed. New street trees will be added along with two rain gardens, and a backyard space for kids to play. All this is possible due to a recent award of low-income housing tax credits by the Wolf Administration.

“The Allequippa Place part of the project brings a sextet of handsome 1920s apartment buildings up to 21st-century expectations—for livability, visitability, and energy performance,” says Peter Kreuthmeier of Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects.” A new building on Wadsworth recalls the shapely forms prevalent in the neighborhood. Here too, the apartments aim to satisfy modern expectations.”

aliquippa place rendering
Rendering of the preserved Aliquippa Place by Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects. Courtesy OPDC.

Oakland is one of four neighborhoods to receive the approval. The others are Morningside, Squirrel Hill, and Crawford-Roberts. Together these projects will create 164 units of affordable housing that are rich in physical amenities such as playgrounds and green space. There will also be access to social services for residents who need them, as is the case in Oakland.

“These four investments are the result of our strong commitment to building more affordable neighborhoods throughout our city so that all residents may share in our growing prosperity,” says Mayor Bill Peduto.

Allequippa Place in Oakland was one of the first projects in Pennsylvania to receive low-income housing tax credits and now it will be preserved as a key part of the new affordable development. In order to bring it up to date, Loysen + Kreuthmeier has designed bump-out additions that increase the square footage of the first-floor apartments and allow them to be accessible and conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We’re improving existing units that have been a longstanding affordable opportunity in an ever-escalating market,” says Wanda Wilson, executive director of OPDC. “Residents will enjoy a cohesive, friendly neighborhood group and live close to jobs, education, transportation, and other amenities.”

Rental rates will be as low as $246/month for a one-bedroom apartment for those who make 20% or under of the Area Median Income (AMI). The same one-bedroom will run $645/month and a three-bedroom apartment will be priced at $865/month for those who make 60% AMI.

Community Human Services will provide supportive services and will have an on-site office in the Wadsworth Street Apartment Building. Residents can connect to resources for financial stability through the School 2 Career program for teens and the JobLinks Financial Opportunity Center for adults.

Construction will start in March 2017 and be completed in early 2018. Diamond and Associates is the project consultant and Sota Construction Services is the builder. Support was provided from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Bridgeway Capital, Neighborhood Allies, and the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund, in addition to tax credits received from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.