Sixth Ward Flats brings 35 affordable housing units to Doughboy Square in Lawrenceville


“Affordable Housing” and “Lawrenceville” are things that don’t really go together anymore, to an almost absurd extent. The neighborhood is developing a nationwide reputation for its Robotics Row tech cluster (which stretches across the Strip District) and independent stores and restaurants – and prices have skyrocketed as a result.

Still, nonprofit developer ACTION Housing was able to create 35 affordable housing units right at the entrance to Doughboy Square, where the statue of a World War I soldier stands as a silent symbol of the past. Lawrenceville.

ACTION Housing commissioned a rent comparability study for the area and found that the average for one-bedroom units is $ 2,100 per month, $ 2,600 for two-bedroom units and $ 2,750 for two-bedroom units. 3 bedroom units.

However, the recently completed Sixth Ward Apartments offer one-bedroom rental units ranging from $ 260 to $ 895 per month. The two-building project replaces a vacant corner lot with a billboard and the long-vacant Wilson’s Barbecue building next door. (It was a place we’ve been wondering about for some time, named in our story the 9 most inexplicably empty buildings of 2019.) The second building, the tallest, is half a block away. (opposite the Clemente Museum) and is built on four contiguous lots belonging to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.


Six neighborhood apartments. Photo courtesy of ACTION Housing.

Apartments are available for rent to households earning less than 60% of the region’s median income. Eight units are reserved for people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

“A number of our units have ADA access – so you have the wider doors and wheelchair accessible showers and kitchen cabinets that have space for a person in a wheelchair,” says the senior manager of the facility. development at ACTION-Housing James Eash. “It is always important in our projects to create units that cater to people who need extra support.

“I think when we opened the application period, we received around 200 applicants,” says Eash. “It’s one of those things where demand exceeds supply. “

There are no vacancies at the moment, but applicants can call 412-829-3910 to be added to the waiting list.

The development includes 1,000 square feet of first floor commercial space for community use, an outdoor patio, secure bicycle parking, energy efficient building systems and other amenities. Commercial space is also meant to be affordable.

Six neighborhood apartments. Photo courtesy of ACTION Housing.

“In the long term, the purpose of this space is really to enable small businesses or nonprofits, arts organizations, small local businesses whose prices are outside the Butler Street shopping district – to allow them to ” have less space than market rents. , said Eash.


Designed by FortyEighty Architecture and built by Nelcon Construction, the project cost $ 16,782,774.

Founded in 1957 by Mayor David Lawrence and philanthropist Richard King Mellon, ACTION Housing is a non-profit real estate developer that has created more than 4,500 housing units since 1985. The organization focuses on the needs of low-income households income of all types: seniors, people with intellectual and physical disabilities, the homeless, veterans and young people who have aged outside the foster care system.

“Since our inception, ACTION Housing has really focused on housing, providing safe, secure and stable housing… We kind of use housing as this tool to help people live more and more sustainably,” Eash adds. .

They also do more than just build new apartments.

“We have a lot of ‘wrap around’ support services,” says Eash. “We do weatherization work for low income households, emergency furnace repairs during the winter months, things like that. And we operate one of the largest emergency rental assistance programs in the state.

Another large project in a highly visible location is now starting construction, alongside ACTION’s successful Krause Commons project on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. The development will fill the space once inhabited by the Squirrel Hill Theater – abandoned for over a decade – another entry into our history of inexplicably empty buildings.

Apartments on the front. Rendered courtesy of ACTION Housing.

“The Flats on Forward project, currently under construction at Squirrel Hill, will have 43 affordable units and 10,000 square feet of retail space,” said Eash.


ACTION-Affordable Housing Equity and Diversity Inclusion Lawrenceville

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