Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

School Reimagined as Apartments Schenley High Developer Envisions Up to 178 Units

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

School Reimagined as Apartments Schenley High Developer Envisions Up to 178 Units

Article excerpt

At a public presentation of their plans Monday night, the developers who want to buy the former Pittsburgh Schenley High School in Oakland described their $36.9 million project, which would turn the historic building into an estimated 178 luxury one- and two- bedroom apartments with parking places inside and outside the building.

PMC/Schenley HSB Associates LP, which is associated with PMC Property Group of Philadelphia, bid $5.2 million for the building, the highest of four bids received.

The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools is scheduled to vote Feb. 27, but the board reserved the right to reject any and all bids. The one from PMC won the recommendation of a review panel put together by Fourth River Development, which the board hired to oversee the marketing and bidding process for the building.

At the same time, there are those who want to reopen Schenley as a school. Last week, the district released two new estimates of how much such a renovation would cost, $53.2 million and $59.4 million.

One member of the audience asked why PMC could develop the building as apartments for so much less. Pete Camarda, chief financial and operations officer for the district, said the district has additional requirements that add to the cost, including a legal requirement to use five prime contractors.

Jerold Novick, executive vice president and general counsel of PMC Property Group, said it's "much easier to build as a private party than a public entity."

The work PMC does will be governed by the requirements of the National Park Service so that it can earn historic tax credits. Those requirements will affect how much the width of the corridors can be altered. Mr. Novick said he expects the restrictions will result in fewer than 178 apartments.

The plans include about 50 inside parking places and 75 outside ones as well as some bicycle parking. Mr. Novick said the firm expects to meet the parking requirements without a variance.

The plans call for leaving the auditorium intact, but there are no plans to use it. They also call for keeping the addition with the pool and the gym. The pool likely wouldn't be used, but the gym may become an amenity for residents. …

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