Construction will begin ‘any day now’ on Penn 23 condos in the Strip District
22nd Street Condos merge stunning church architecture with modern living.
It may be quiet now, but the corner of Penn Avenue and 23rd Street will soon be booming.
Real estate developer and former tech entrepreneur Francois Bitz purchased the long-vacant Strip District building at 2330 Penn in 2016, and bought the lot next door (with the roofless structure) shortly thereafter. In partnership with Keller Williams Realty and New City marketing, he plans to turn the space into a high-end residence for the rapidly developing neighborhood.
Applications for the development have wound their way through the city’s approval process for nearly three years. Project leaders tell us that now demolition and construction of Penn 23 will begin very soon.
Speaking with NEXTpittsburgh, New City founder Kathy Wallace says she and her colleagues applied for a demolition permit several months ago from the City Planning Commission. Once that comes through, Penn 23 will be on track for demolition this fall.
South Side's St. Casimir Church transformed into heavenly condos
It’s not easy to renovate a desanctified church, says Kathy Wallace. But done right, it can lead to spectacular living spaces with unique architectural details.
Wallace, an agent with Keller Williams Realty specializing in historic redevelopments, says restoring a church presents design challenges that deter many investors, and leave dozens of old and unused churches vacant across the region.
A narrow church steeple, difficult to access and perched as high as 100 feet above the ground, can be enough to turn off even the boldest developers, she says: “I’ve really, until now, not been that enthusiastic about them because I know how complicated it can be for a conversion.”
But when developer Ivor Hill reached out in early 2017 with a proposal to turn St. Casimir Church in the South Side into a residential development that respected the building’s character and history, Wallace couldn’t resist.
Buying Here: Matthew's Lofts creates unique condos in old church
As parishes and congregations shrink, many century-old churches have ended up in the hands of developers. That’s not always a blessing, as church conversions are a tricky business. But the former St. Casimir Catholic Church on the South Side is definitely a triumph for good (design).
St. Casimir, the first Lithuanian parish in the Pittsburgh Diocese, was finished in 1902. The Baroque Revival-style church boasts ornate moldings, large pillars, a breathtaking domed ceiling and gorgeous stained-glass windows.
Now called the 22nd Street Condos, the 12 units developed by Ivor Hill feature many of the original architectural details set against bright white walls and modern conveniences. Four of the 12 condos are still available for prices ranging from $594,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bath, 2,027-square-foot unit to $697,000 for a two-bedroom, 2½-bath dwelling with 2,474 square feet. The condos at 2132 Sarah St. are open by appointment with Laura Kingsbury of the Kathy Wallace Team at Keller Williams Realty (www.kw.com or 412-855-8419).
Facebook taking big office lease in Strip District
Just down the street in the South Side Flats from St. Casimir is another church finding new life as condos.
Matthew’s Lofts (www.matthewsloftspgh.com) is in the former St. Matthew Catholic Church at 156 S. 19th St., South Side. Built in 1905, the church primarily served the Slovak immigrant community. The Pittsburgh Diocese decommissioned the church in 1992, and it stood vacant until Tom Sabol and Scott Wolkowitz with AM Group started the conversion.
Instead of dividing the units for one-level living, Desmone Architects created six townhouse units that rise three levels with underground tandem parking. Each unit takes advantage of the interior architecture in that part of the original building.
Here’s what you can buy for $350,000 in Pittsburgh
The new office project District 15 nearing completion along Smallman Street within the Riverfront Landing master plan in the Strip District. Facebook has confirmed leasing space in the building and sources indicate the social media company is taking all 105,000 square feet of the new building, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Neighborhood: 2131 Sarah St., Unit 202, South Side
Asking price: $365,000
Description: This two-bedroom, two-bath, lower-level unit is in the new 22nd Street Residences, the former St. Casimir Church transformed into 12 luxury condominiums. Construction is targeted for completion in spring 2018. The living quarters have high ceilings, large open rooms, preserved historic architecture, and customized interior finishes, says Kathy Wallace with Keller Williams Realty. Amenities include a fitness center, underground parking, an on-site furnished guest suite/common area, a pet washing facility and indoor bicycle storage.