The ribbon has been cut on a mixed-use development in Squirrel Hill. Krause Commons was developed on the former site of Poli’s Restaurant, which closed in 2005.
The six-story building at the corner of Forward and Murray avenues includes office space for Jewish Residential Services, and several other commercial offices. It also houses 33 affordable rental units, half of which are reserved for those with intellectual or physical disabilities. The non-profit Action Housing Inc. helped to develop the property.
Officials with the Urban Redevelopment Authority said they would like to build on the momentum in that neighborhood. Plans are in the works to create another mixed-use development adjacent to Krause Commons called The Flats on Forward. At Thursday’s URA board meeting, a $1 million loan was approved to help Action Housing purchase the site, which cost $2 million and is the former site of the Squirrel Hill Theater. Brandywine Agency is slated to help develop the site. URA officials said that it is important that responsible developers take control of the large, and highly visible site.
Plans include first-floor retail space, two floors of office space, and apartment units. One-quarter of those units would be reserved for residents with disabilities.
Across the Allegheny on the North Side, an affordable housing effort is in the early planning stages in the neighborhood of Manchester. The Manchester Citizens Corporation is partnering with the URA to acquire some city-owned properties. They plan to construct 46 new affordable units scattered throughout the neighborhood. An additional 84 rehabilitations to existing housing stock are also planned.
Meanwhile, the 2019 allocation for the City’s Housing Opportunity Fund is currently open for public comment. The allocation plan outlines which programs get funded, and for how much each year.
The $10 million annual fund is slated to be renewed by the URA board next month.