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URA Approves Financing for Redevelopment Projects

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Board of Directors approved financing today for Locomotive Development to construct projects in Lawrenceville, Stanton Heights, and Sheraden.

Locomotive Development, a partnership of Rodriguez Associates and Green Development, Inc., will receive a $900,000 loan to construct a housing complex called "Locomotive Lofts" to be located in a once-vacant industrial lot in Lawrenceville.

Additional financing for the project will come through a $3.8 million loan according to Victor Rodriguez, President of A.M. Rodriguez Associates. He said he hopes to start construction by February and anticipates completion by early 2013.

"We're going to construct the thirty-four unit apartment project with one and two bedroom units in 48th to 49th Street of Lawrenceville, and they're going to be more high-end apartments because there's quite a demand in Lawrenceville for that," he said.

Rodriguez said there are approximately six new businesses moving into the Butler Street corridor in Lawrenceville in the next month, so the new apartment building will aim to accommodate the job market there with newer housing instead of mere refurbished rental homes.

"Right now the housing stock in Lawrenceville is very old and there's been some small companies going in there and fixing up some of the existing housing stock and converting them to rental housing, some of them are doing a nice job of that, but it's kind of like one or two units at a time and there's no modern apartment building in all of Lawrenceville," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also hopes to make the establishment eligible for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Gold building certification. He said their last 3 projects in the Pittsburgh region are also "green."

"It's usually based on the quality of the material you put in. They're low volatile organic compounds and you have energy efficient units so you have low utility bills and things like that, so we're hoping that this can be a new product for Lawrenceville, because I don't think there's been any real 'green' building going on there. It's mostly rehabbing what's there," Rodriguez said.