Tom Fontaine | Trib Total Media

Developers tried to incorporate SouthSide Works into the existing neighborhood when it was built. Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Developers tried to incorporate SouthSide Works into the existing neighborhood when it was built. Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media

It’s not easy to weave upscale apartments, condominiums and office buildings into historic neighborhoods known for their gritty charm, developers and architects say.

Pittsburgh has a lot of the latter and is rapidly getting more of the former.

The Strip District is the latest target. Developers this month announced plans for 700 luxury apartments near the historic Produce Terminal that will feature designated areas to store kayaks, wash dogs and charge electric cars. Rents will be as much as $2,200 a month.

“I’m typically a big fan of progress, but many (in the Strip) fear how some of the developments will change the vistas and feel of the Strip,” said John Jordan, 49, who owns a condo at the Otto Milk building that opened in 2011. “I’m more optimistic. Everything you do changes it somewhat, but I think the Strip will remain an iconic American neighborhood.”

Developers are committing billions of dollars to large-scale projects that propose a mix of housing, offices and retail in areas with rich histories.

They include plans at the former LTV Steel Co. site in Hazelwood ($1 billion in proposed development), the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District ($440 million), along the shore of the Allegheny River in the Strip District between 11th and 21st streets ($400 million) and 25th and 27th streets ($130 million), and transit-oriented development in East Liberty ($127 million). Read more