Menu
The Julian may be headed to Oakland. And no, it’s not a cocktail or a celebrity

The Julian may be headed to Oakland. And no, it’s not a cocktail or a celebrity

A Hermitage, Pa., developer that owns apartment buildings on the South Side and Mount Lebanon is back in Pittsburgh for an encore.

Hudson Companies is pitching a plan to build a 10-story apartment building dubbed the Julian at 419 Melwood Ave. in North Oakland.

The Mercer County developer is proposing to demolish a vacant, two-story industrial warehouse near a Porsche dealership in order to clear the way for the 148-unit apartment complex, which would include a mix of units.

Hudson plans to go before the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment on Thursday to seek two special exceptions for the project, including one that would allow it to build to 10 stories. Such permission is required for buildings above four stories.

It also is asking for a special exception related to floor area ratio.

The latest plan is slightly different from the one Hudson proposed in April during a development activities meeting sponsored by Oakland Planning and Development Corporation.

At the time, Hudson presented a plan for a 128-unit apartment complex with 93 parking spaces and 68 bike spaces with a building footprint totaling 17,130 square feet.

The total square footage would not change under the new plan. However, besides increasing the number of units by 20, Hudson is proposing to add another 12 parking spaces while cutting the number of bike spaces by 15.

In a memo sent to OPDC Executive Director Wanda Wilson, Jonathan Hudson, a partner in Hudson Companies, said a change of unit mix and floor plan designs resulted in the increase in the number of apartments. Parking was boosted to account for the additional units, he said.

Despite the changes, the overall size of the building would decrease slightly, he added.

Ms. Wilson could not be reached for comment, and Hudson Companies did not return a phone call requesting comment.

As part of the latest plan, Hudson is proposing 80 one-bedroom units, 51 two-bedroom, eight studios and nine micro. Amenities are expected to include a fitness center, lounges, a yoga room and an outdoor patio.

During the OPDC meeting in April, Hudson said all of the units would be market rate, with none set aside as affordable.

At the time, some residents raised concerns about the height of the building, traffic and congestion on the street. One attendee said a vehicle delivery at the Porsche dealership can “gridlock the street for seven minutes; it’s hard to imagine that a 10-floor apartment building will have a negligible effect on the street.”

In response, Hudson said that based on a market study, it expects that “a lot of our resident base won’t rely on car transportation and residents will work nearby and will use public transit, with a lot of walking and biking expected.”

The Julian won’t be Hudson’s first apartment building in Pittsburgh.

It also operates the 87-unit Brix at 26 on the South Side, one of the neighborhood’s biggest buildings.

Hudson bought the seven-story structure from the Burns Scalo real estate firm last year. It at one time served as the regional headquarters of Goodwill.

Other holdings include an apartment building in Mt. Lebanon, an office property in Sewickley and a building in Shadyside.

The Julian would be the latest new apartment development in Oakland. In March, Chicago-based CA Ventures won approval from the city planning commission to build a controversial 296-unit apartment complex at 3500 Forbes Avenue after reaching a deal with Family House, a neighboring property owner.

Mark Belko: [email protected] or 412-263-1262.