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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

More Housing Coming Soon To Pittsburgh's Strip

In the 1800’s, the building in the 2400 block of Smallman Street was the Duquesne Cigar Factory. As recently as this week, it was an industrial vacuum cleaner company. And soon, it will be home to 38 more condominiums.

Its neighbors? Other condominium buildings, a whiskey distillery and soon, according to published reports, an Apple Inc. office.

Real estate agent Kathy Wallace lauded Pittsburgh's rich, architectural history. As the Steel City's identity evolved, many buildings were left underutilized and sometimes abandoned as their uses changed over time, she said.

Developer Jack Benoff has developed two other condo buildings in Pittsburgh, one Downtown and the brewery-turned-living spaces across the street in the Strip.

“I guess it's much easier to take an existing building and knock it down," he said. "You can actually make a lot more money. I just don’t like doing that. I like taking something that’s been here 150 years, rehabilitating it, bringing it up to new and then adding onto it.”

Mayor Bill Peduto attended the groundbreaking. He celebrated not just the reuse of old buildings but the greater implications of development for Pittsburgh.

“That’s great for the city because that gives us a tax base,” he said. “That keeps our schools open. That keeps our streets paved, that keeps police officers working, and that’s what we need."