Various developers tried and failed to complete the block’s redevelopment, and the neighborhood abided. The legal challenges over previous zoning decisions came from Stephen Pascal, who owns properties in the Central Northside and Deutschtown. He had challenged the Zoning Board of Appeal’s approval of the original proposal for eight stories. He and another appellant, David Demko, also challenged the proposal to demolish the three old buildings, citing the need for preservation. Demko did not continue with his appeal. Pascal could not be reached for comment.

The URA had three historic structures, 4-6-8 West North, demolished in 2019 after years of efforts to incorporate them, or at least their facades, into the final design of new construction.

The properties suffered the delays so much that preservationists from Preservation Pittsburgh and the Young Preservationists Association, who had actively sought to save them, had changes of heart after touring them.

The overall project includes the build-out of nine apartments in the Morton House, a stand-alone structure on Federal Street across the alley, Eloise Way, behind the proposed new building.

The developers have arranged for 100 spaces in a nearby parking garage for tenants to use as part of their apartment lease. Rents will range from $1,000 to $1,300 for a studio apartment to $3,600 for a three-bedroom apartment.

“The biggest aesthetic change is that the rooftop balcony will probably not survive” because of costs, Belloli said, adding that some apartments will have balconies.

Neighborhood residents who have longed to see the block become lively again say they are relieved and excited that the new construction will finally move forward.

“We were all really heartened to hear the news,” said Maggie Connor, president of the Allegheny City Central Association. “Obviously with a heavy knock on wood, I don’t anticipate any problems now. It’s so nice to be on the other side of these legal issues, and the idea that we will see actual progress is really uplifting.”

“It is such a relief that the hurdles have finally been overcome,” Talerico said. “We are thrilled that they have worked with the community on redesigns and astounded that they stuck with us as long as they did. When they break ground, there is going to be a big celebration.”

Diana Nelson Jones is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. Send comments on this story to info@publicsource.org.

This story was fact-checked by Danielle Cruz.