The Empire north oakland feature image

A parking lot at the corner of Craig Street and Centre Avenue is set to become The Empire — 723 apartments targeted at students at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh with a planned opening date of 2018. The $106 million development will also include 10,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

student housing north oakland
A full view of the planned development in North Oakland.

The developer is Park7 and it is a joint venture with EdR, based out of Memphis, who will manage the property upon its completion. EdR, one of the largest developers, owners and managers of college housing in the U.S. will own 80% and Park7 will own 20% of the development. Humphreys & Partners, headquartered in Dallas, is the architect.

“Having grown up near Pittsburgh and watched it flourish in recent years, I’ve been wanting to do something near these schools for a long time,” says Ron Gatehouse, president and chief executive officer of Park7. Gatehouse noted the project has been in the pipeline for nearly three years.

The development will have one, two and three-bedroom apartments with amenities such as en suite washers and dryers (no more taking laundry home to mom and dad), granite countertops, and “robust” internet and WI-FI. Structured parking below will contain 381 parking spaces for tenants.

Centrally located within walking distance to both university campuses, as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway, the development is in a prime location that is already abundant with student housing.

“EdR has been looking for a development opportunity near the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University for several years,” says Randy Churchey, EdR CEO. “We explored several options and the joint venture with the Park7 group best fit our development philosophy. When this community opens in 2018, the students at Pitt, Carnegie Mellon and other colleges in Pittsburgh are going to have a first-class housing option.”

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.