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Economy & Business

New York Firm Invests Millions in Downtown, North Side Real Estate

Kaye Burnet
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s Washington Plaza and Allegheny Center apartment buildings will soon undergo renovations, complete with name changes, under the new ownership of New York-based firm Faros Residential LLC.

Washington Plaza, which is now City View, and Allegheny Center, now called Park View, are being updated to attract younger urban professionals, said Faros managing partner Jeremy Leventhal at a news conference Tuesday morning.

“We’re creating a brand new amenity program at both of these complexes,” said Leventhal. The interiors of the buildings will be gutted to create lounges, exercise rooms, business centers, and games areas. There will also be improved outdoor recreational areas and dog parks.

According to Leventhal, the buildings have not seen much change since going up in the 1960s. Jeremy Leventhal’s brother Alexander Leventhal is also a partner with Faros, and explained that the renovations will not change the structure of the buildings, just the interior space.

“We’re not messing with the integrity of the buildings, we’re simply removing interior components and replacing them with newer ones,” Alexander Leventhal said.

Jeremy Leventhal said a new generation of entrepreneurs is moving into cities, and Pittsburgh needs to update its living accommodations to attract them.

“There’s a great deal of wonderful things happening in Pittsburgh, especially with the high concentrations of intellectual capital, low cost of living—it’s a fantastic place to put down roots and make this type of investment,” Jeremy Leventhal said.

Mayor Bill Peduto said Faros’ investment is a step in the right direction for his goal of attracting a larger tax base to Pittsburgh, which lost more than 30,000 residents between 2000 and 2010. Leventhal agreed that now is the time to focus on bringing in and keeping new residents.

“Nationally, there’s this resurgence on urban core living,” Jeremy Leventhal said. “You have baby boomers who are becoming empty-nesters and moving into cities. As well as the children of baby-boomers, you know, millenials that are waiting longer to settle down, waiting longer to have kids, and that’s keeping them in cities longer and its creating this convergence on downtown.”

The renovations will come with some downsides for current residents of Washington Plaza and Allegheny Center. Construction may be disruptive, and Faros expects a good return on its investment.

“Of course rents are going to go up,” Jeremy Leventhal said. “I mean, in order to renovate a project you have to investment money into the project and naturally, in order to pay for that, rents have to increase.”

Faros’ total investment in the apartment complexes will be more than $100 million. Construction has already begun and is expected to conclude late this fall.