Rents in East Liberty have skyrocketed in recent years, but a new use of an older building will bring lower-cost options back to the neighborhood.
This is a complete redevelopment of the Angelus Convalescent Center, located just behind the $ 50 million mixed-use project under construction at the former Penn Plaza site which will be anchored by Whole Foods Market.
âIt started about 50 years ago, built as a retirement home,â says project developer Ahron Freilich of CLS Star. The person who originally owned the building has since retired and closed the family business about a year ago, he added.
The property will now be converted into 33 apartments below market price.
âAs I got to know people here (in East Liberty) the common theme is where new developments come in, and now people have to take a 40 minute bus to work, and the rents that were $ 600 are now $ 1,400. “
This project – which does not yet have a name – will include at least 90% of its units priced under $ 1,000, some up to $ 500.
âWe looked for ways to market it for rents that people were seeing before, below $ 1,000,â says Freilich, âin an effort to allow people to continue living in the neighborhood or to come back here. if they are gone. .
“We are doing it without public funding,” he notes.
According to Apartments.com, average rents in East Liberty are $ 1,393 for a studio, $ 1,327 for a one-bedroom unit and $ 1,534 for two bedrooms.
Dan Rothschild, of Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, is the architect of the project.
âAnytime you can reuse an existing building, it’s generally good for the neighborhood and for the environment,â says Rothschild. âThis building was vacant because it was no longer useful. Reusing it for housing is ideal.
The peculiarity that sets it apart, says Rothschild, is a large courtyard that will be open as a public space.
âThe building was originally a U-shaped building with an addition at the back, with a large courtyard and a small courtyard, which had fallen into disrepair,â Rothschild explains. âWe’re going to reimagine them as beautiful public spaces. One has an old wooden shelter which will be removed. Three very mature trees were encumbered by this shelter. They will be able to fend for themselves. We will put in place new landscaping and furniture so that people can sit under these trees, like in a park.
The pandemic has not hampered the project so far.
âThe pandemic has only bolstered the project even more as people start looking at their monthly budgets and reconsidering how much they should be spending on rent,â says Freilich. âDemand has increased. More importantly, it has highlighted that we are all in the same boat, which is why this project is for everyone, not just the luxury market.
âBasically, I believe that doing business and doing good things don’t have to be at odds.