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A project to convert the former Glassport High School into a senior living community received a boost from state officials on Thursday.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that the Glassport Retirement Residence and two other projects --- in Mt. Lebanon and Forest Hills --- were awarded tax credits at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
A.M. Rodriguez Associates, Franjo Construction, Thoughtful Balance Architects and CMS Management are planning to convert the 1930s high school, empty since 2004, into a 55-unit apartment building for people ages 62 and up.
Rodriguez/CMS also developed The Oaks on Route 48 in White Oak and the Munhall Retirement Residence on Andrew Street, and is a partner in a newly opened mixed-use commercial-retail development on East Eighth and Ninth avenues in Homestead called One Homestead.
In addition to low-income housing tax credits, the project has also received $1.5 million in Allegheny County Economic Development HOME funds, Fitzgerald's office said. The developer will be committing an additional $80,000 for an overall project cost of $13.9 million.
“As we continue to see growth and development in our region, it’s important that we also ensure that there is a supply of affordable housing in our community,” Fitzgerald said. “Thanks to the PHFA board, and the support of our governor and legislature, there will be three additional developments forthcoming in the county to meet that need.”
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program is a federal program administered by the PHFA. Its purpose is to assist in the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low-income households.
Specifically, the project must address a demonstrated housing need, be located in an area which does not have an over-concentration of affordable housing, and provide a permanent, decent, safe and sanitary structure for year-round residential use.
Located on Ohio Avenue between Second and Third streets, the former Glassport High School was converted into an elementary school after the merger of the Glassport and Port Vue-Liberty school districts. It was used as an elementary school until the early 2000s.
The developers have said that the Glassport Retirement Residence will be built to so-called "Passive House" standards which reduce energy costs for residents. When complete, according to published reports, each unit will have a living and dining room combination area, as well as a kitchen, bathroom and other amenities.
The other projects eligible for tax credits include a $16.6 million 60-unit senior housing complex in Mt. Lebanon being developed by the Allegheny County Housing Authority along with SOTA Construction, FortyEighty Architects and Oxford Development Group; and a $13.2 million 41-unit housing complex for seniors and veterans on Ardmore Boulevard in Forest Hills being created by ACTION-Housing, Inc., Nelcon Construction, RSH Architects and SHMS in a former office building.
Along with funds from Allegheny County Economic Development, the three projects will result in an overall investment of $43.8 million.
Originally published July 14, 2016.