Housing Authority Commits $36.5 Million for Addison Terrace Housing Complex

The Pittsburgh Housing Authority on Thursday earmarked $36.5 million to redevelop the Depression-era Addison Terrace complex in the Hill District.

Demolition began last year on the first phase of transforming crime-plagued, low-income housing centered around Elmore Square and Bentley Drive into a community that includes all income levels.

The project is expected to total about $164.5 million for 400 apartments and townhouses.

Housing Authority commissioners approved funding for the final phase, which will result in 214 residences along Bentley Drive and on city-owned land between Elmore Square and Centre Avenue, and total about $86 million.

“We are trying to connect Addison with Centre Avenue,” said Caster Binion, the authority’s executive director.

Authority Chairman Ricky Burgess suggested that the housing could be linked to redevelopment of the Civic Arena site and resolve a stalemate between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hill residents who want the hockey team to include more affordable housing in its plan.

Residents want at least 30 percent of nearly 1,200 rental units to be low-income. The Penguins prefer 20 percent.

Burgess, a city councilman, said collaboration between the city, Housing Authority and Penguins could lead to redevelopment of the entire Lower Hill.

“By looking at it as one big project, you get higher use of all of the land,” Burgess said, noting that the area has many vacant and rundown properties. “The number of low-income housing will go up, and the Centre Avenue corridor will get rebuilt quicker.”

Burgess said funding and other critical details could be worked out if all sides meet to discuss the issue.

Officials with the city and Housing Authority said they’re willing to discuss a collaborative venture. The Penguins declined to comment.

“It hasn’t even been discussed,” said Valerie McDonald-Roberts, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief urban affairs officer. “If it works, OK. If it doesn’t, OK, but let’s talk about it.”

Allies & Ross Management and Development Corp., a nonprofit arm of the Housing Authority, and Columbus, Ohio-based Keith B. Keys Enterprises are redeveloping Addison and will own and manage it under a 99-year authority lease.

Housing around Elmore Square is expected to open next year. The remaining residences are scheduled for completion in 2017.

By: Bob Bauder
Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 3:24 p.m.