Affordable Housing Complex Contractors To Break Ground In Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill Neighborhood

Jul 18, 2017

Construction of a 33-unit affordable housing complex in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood is expected to start this week. Action-Housing Inc. will build the six-story Krause Commons at the former Poli’s Restaurant property on Murray Avenue.

Lena Andrews, development officer with Action-Housing, said the site was ideal because of the community surrounding it.

“We really like to build our projects in strong neighborhoods that have access to a lot of amenities,” Andrews said.

The development will increasing income diversity in Pittsburgh’s more affluent neighborhoods. The median income for a family of two in Pittsburgh is $57,000, according to recent city data. 

Krause Commons will be available to households making less than $34,200, or 60 percent of the area median income, with half of the units reserved for individuals with intellectual and mental health disabilities. 

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill Peduto issued five executive orders aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing in the city. They included new incentives for developers to build affordable units and clarified zoning rules.

“The city needs affordable housing everywhere,” Andrews said. “But a lot of these neighborhoods where the market is very strong, they’ll completely lose their income diversity if there’s not affordable housing development.”

Andrews said the $16 million project is funded primarily by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency through its Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program. They then sold the credits to Bank of New York Mellon.

“Working through a syndicator national equity fund, we were able to raise about $12 million in tax credit equity to fund the project,” Andrews said. “The remainder of the funds came from the Jewish Residential Services and the URA.”

Jewish Residential Services will have office space on the first two stories of the building. Andrews said construction will take about 14 months and hopefully open in September 2018.