Major Multifamily Community Coming to Negley Avenue; King Penguin Opportunity to Acquire the Lawyers Building

A new 140-unit apartment development called Mellon Orchard could soon rise on Negley Avenue in Pittsburgh.

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A new 140-unit apartment development called Mellon Orchard will soon rise on Negley Avenue in Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Eric Jester, principal of New-burgh Real Estate, in partnership with Barry Lhormer and Bob Mistick, will be leading the project, which will cost between $20 million and $23 million.

The proposal went before the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board which voted measures that enable the developer to pursue funding through the Pittsburgh Housing Finance Agency. About 22 percent of the project’s apartments will be affordable, while the rest of the units will be rented at market rates.

The development’s construction timetable has not been finalized. Plans call for two four-story elevator buildings that would replace a collection of about 89 deteriorating apartments at the site, which is owned by East Liberty Development Inc. A neighboring house will also be converted into nine apartments, the newspaper reports.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the New York-based King Penguin Opportunity Fund led by Michael Mikelic is planning to acquire the 25-story Lawyers Building at 428 Forbes Ave. in Pittsburgh. The transaction is expected to close in mid-January for less than $4.5 million.

The historic 120,000-square-foot C-grade office property is owned by Union Real Estate. It dates back to the 1920s and is currently 77 percent leased. Before being used as an office facility, the building once housed a hotel called the Pittsburgher.

The property’s new owner intends to upgrade the facility with a rooftop deck, new finishes and new retail, and will also bring back its old name.

Mikelic’s King Penguin Opportunity Fund, which totals $50 million and includes mostly multifamily projects in New York, will now be targeting other investment opportunities in Pittsburgh, including office projects, apartments and student housing.

“We’re trying to do more because we don’t want to come down there just for one office building that’s pretty small,” Mikelic told the newspaper.

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