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Identity & Community

Mixed-Use Building In East Liberty Officially Opens

Another new building is up in East Liberty, joining recent developments such as Bakery Square, the Transit Center and several hotels. This one is East Liberty Place South on Penn Avenue, across from a similar-looking building that owner the Community Builders also built.

The building is a mixed-use development that cost about $15 million to construct. It includes 52 one- and two-bedroom apartments that range between $500-$1200 to rent. Most of the apartments are already rented, according to Jim Eby, senior project manager for the Community Builders. The organization has developed other sites in the East Liberty area.

The development was done with assistance from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Department of Housing and Development and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Mayor Bill Peduto lauded them for offering apartments at various price points.

“This could be some of the most expensive housing in the city of Pittsburgh right now," he said. "You could have the folks from Google moving in here in loft apartments and paying a premium to live here. But we wanted to make sure of one thing – that it was here for the people of East Liberty who struggled through the bad times so they can take and be a part of the good times."

The building is at the site of the former East Mall, a housing development.

Alethea Sims, who lived in East Mall and now lives up the street, thanked the developers “for seeing not just a 17-story, 22-story, 20-story piece of urban blight, but home. Home for me and for a lot of good people.”

The Community Builders say they hope to expand the work they’ve done the last 20 years by building mixed-income housing in other neighborhoods.

“Hopefully we get to do more right here and in other strengthened neighborhoods," said Bart Mitchell, president of the Community Builders, "but also in neighborhoods that are at an earlier point but ready for change just like East Liberty was in 1995.”