Triangle Building redevelopment moves forward with historic tax credits secured

By Jordyn Hronec – Pittsburgh Business Times

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The redevelopment of The Triangle Building aims to address an acute problem downtown — lack of housing in general and affordable housing in particular.

Use of the iconic shaped structure at 926 Liberty Ave. is being reimagined by local real estate developer Hullett Properties, whose other current projects are located in the Strip District.

It’s a project that has been ongoing, making recent progress despite facing pandemic-related delays and setbacks. Hullett Properties is looking to convert floors two through six of the Triangle Building into residential units, 15 units total, and the bottom floor will be used for commercial space. The building is well-known for its triangular shape and is a historic structure in Pittsburgh. It is located near the Cultural District and was constructed in 1868.

The redevelopment is being financed through several avenues, including up-front investment by Enhanced Capital Group. ECG also secured Historic Tax Credits for the project, meant to incentivize the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings, which will cover 20% of the project’s cost upon its completion.

Enhanced Capital Group, which is headquartered in New York, said that the Triangle Building project hits on all four of its interests in terms of real estate investment, which includes historic building preservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency, commercial and mixed-used redevelopment and low-income and affordable housing.

“The government recognizes that these projects by their nature are more expensive and complicated than going outside of town and building on a greenfield,” said Dusty Dickerson, the managing director of Enhanced Capital’s New Orleans office, on the project’s use of Historic Tax Credits. “They say they don’t build them like they used to, and that’s true in this case.”

The redeveloped building already has one tenant lined up for its first floor, Hullett Properties’ own venture, The James Cafe, which recently opened its first location at 2550 Smallman St. in the Strip District, and is described as a “destination, all-day cafe,” with coffee and tea offerings as well as an in-house food menu and marketplace.

“We are excited to see continued residential and retail growth in the downtown core and we feel that we are in the heart of it,” Breanna Tyson, principal at Hullett Properties, said via email.

Commercial leasing for the remainder of the first floor space, of which there is approximately 3,000 square feet, is currently underway. Construction on the building has started, with the developers expecting it to wrap up during the fourth quarter of 2023. Jon Knudsen of JLL is the leasing agent for the commercial space. He said that while leasing is in the very early stages, so far, food and beverage operators have been the primary parties of interest. Knudsen highlighted the building’s location as well as its history as some of its key features.

“We think, along with the Hullett team that we’re in the midst of a shifting momentum in the intersection between Grant and Penn,” Knudsen said. Knudsen likened the building’s architecture and appearance to that of the iconic Flatiron building in New York City. He noted that “the building got lucky” in finding developers who are preserving and repurposing the historic structure, rather than tearing it down to build anew.

“It’s a striking and beautiful building,” Knudsen said.

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