Public Subsidy Supports Walnut Capital’s New Residential Project in East Liberty

A new 78-unit apartment and retail complex called The Penn at Walnut on Highland will soon rise in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty business district. Scheduled for completion by the summer of 2016, the six-story project will replace two small retail buildings with historic facades at the corner of Penn and Highland avenues.

The Penn at Walnut on Highland, a new 78-unit apartment and retail complex, will soon rise in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty business district. Scheduled for completion by summer 2016, the six-story project will replace two small retail buildings with historic facades at the corner of Penn and Highland avenues.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Walnut Capital has recently reached an agreement with the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority to preserve the historic Terra Cotta storefronts in the footprint of the $17 million redevelopment. Under the terms of the deal, the agency will award Walnut Capital a $200,000 grant, along with an $875,000 loan to meet a funding gap prompted by the redesign of the complex, which implies a higher cost and a reduction of the number of proposed apartments by six. The loan, which has a 3.5 percent interest rate, is scheduled to be repaid in 10 years.

Furthermore, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that, as part of the agreement, community nonprofit East Liberty Development Inc. has agreed to reduce the sales price of the property where the project will be built.

Earlier in December, preservationists criticized Walnut Capital’s plan to completely demolish the old structures to make way for the new development.

The upcoming complex is considered an extension of the developer’s historic rehabilitation of the neighboring Highland Building. Besides a mix of micro one- and two-bedroom apartments, with monthly rents expected to range between $1,179 and $3,508, The Penn at Walnut on Highland will also include about 16,000 square feet of street level retail space.

Photo credits: Walnut Capital Partners