A developer is eyeing yet another big apartment complex in the booming Strip District

Once a hub for fruit and vegetable wholesalers, the Strip District these days is awash in another kind of product: apartment units — with yet another major project in the works.

Mercer County-based Hudson Properties is proposing 234 units of apartments spread over two buildings at 2929 Smallman St. and 6 30th St.

The project would feature two six-story buildings constructed nearly side by side just a couple of blocks from the Allegheny River.

Hudson is planning to demolish two industrial buildings to make way for the new complex. One is a former metals facility and the other once housed Gateway Paints and Chemical Co.

Dubbed the Maxx, the project adds to the surge of residential development in the Strip as the office market has stagnated because of fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials with Hudson, based in Hermitage, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They are expected to brief the Pittsburgh Planning Commission on the proposal next week.

Based on the presentation it submitted in advance of the meeting, Hudson hopes to start the demolition in August and have both of the apartment buildings completed by February 2025.

While both buildings will be six stories, one will total 30,500 square feet and the other 26,000 square feet. The developer is proposing a mix of studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.

Amenities are expected to include a swimming pool, a pickleball court, fitness centers, a yoga studio, a golf simulator, conference and coworking spaces, and a media lounge.

Hudson paid about $6.2 million to acquire the two properties, one in 2021 and the other in 2022, according to Allegheny County real estate records.

The community development committee of Strip District Neighbors provided a letter of support for the project.

“The strengths of the plan include its material selection in line with the historic industrial nature of the neighborhood, and the activation of residential units at street level,” it wrote. “The community would like to encourage the use of public art and greenery around the property.”

Pamela Austin, president of the Strip District Neighbors community group, said Hudson has been diligent about meeting with adjacent property owners.

The Maxx is one of several big residential developments in the works in the Strip.

Just a few blocks away on Smallman, Chicago-based McCaffery Interests, which redeveloped the Strip’s iconic produce terminal, is proposing the Brickworks — an eight-building complex featuring more than 220 apartments and 60 townhouses.

And just last month, the Planning Commission approved a master plan by North River Company to eventually convert the 31st Street Studios into a residential enclave with 750 units and 25,000 square feet of retail.

Last year, Strip District Neighbors estimated that 371 apartment and condominium units were under construction, with another 1,649 to be delivered within the next few years.

Besides the softening office market, there might be another reason so many developers are turning to residential in the Strip: In its 2022 report, Strip District Neighbors stated that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,890 and that the average for a two-bedroom was $2,674. Studios went for $1,438 on average.

Original: https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2023/06/21/strip-district-hudson-companies-produce-terminal-brickworks-31st-street-studios/stories/202306210119