Erin Sogal 614-572-5297
For Immediate Release
Beacon Communities and PFHA Dedicate Reopening of Historic Pittsburgh Landmark
$18.5 million Redevelopment Shines Bright in Garfield Neighborhood
Pittsburgh – Beacon Communities is proud to introduce The Carina, a redevelopment of the former B’Nai Israel Synagogue and School located at 327 North Negley Ave, in Pittsburgh’s historic Garfield neighborhood. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Thursday, June 1, 2023, at 3:00 p.m., with a public community celebration from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. This $18.5 million adaptive-reuse project is now a 45-unit mixed-income environmentally focused housing community.
“Partnering with the neighborhood on this exciting redevelopment of an iconic Pittsburgh landmark is part of what makes The Carina such a vibrant property,” said Michael Polite, Senior Vice President at Beacon. “From the groundbreaking to an art installation during construction, this property is innovative and community focused.”
Honored by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s (PHFA) “Innovation in Design” awards in 2019, the all-electric building is Enterprise Green Communities certified, designed to use minimal energy, with rooftop solar panels to offset energy consumption. The Carina takes its namesake from the Eta Carina which is the brightest star in The Milky Way. Just like the star, The Carina serves as a bright star in the Garfield neighborhood, providing a quality home and a space for the arts. Furthermore, the star namesake honors the Star of David present on The Rotunda.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency funded this project with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and PHARE funds. “The Carina offers affordable housing much needed in the Garfield neighborhood,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “With the focus on preservation, community, and environmental impact, this development is an example of thoughtful redevelopment that provides a model for other affordable housing developers to emulate.”
“Finding ways to create more housing in our city is key to our continued growth and success,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “This type of investment and renewal is exciting, and I want to congratulate and thank everyone who helped bring this project to completion.”
“The Rotunda,” designed by famed architect Henry Hornbostel, will be a dynamic, collaborative, multi-use space focusing on the performing arts and community gatherings and events. The Rotunda Collaborative and the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation are working together to revitalize the structure to preserve and celebrate its rich cultural history while providing a re-envisioned space to gather in the East Liberty neighborhood of today. The Rotunda Collaborative has commissioned Saudi-born Pittsburgh artist, Ebtehal Badawi, to create her signature Pittsburgh Builds Bridges work with the help of event attendees. Ebtehal, as featured in The Incline, shares in the Collaborative’s vision that the arts are inherently joyful and healing while playing an essential role in building community. Local school children have been invited to participate in the artmaking and artist-led discussion around how they personally work to build bridges between communities and what equitable neighborhoods of the future might look like in their minds.
“Our talented Pittsburgh team has made this unique development a reality through their focus on collaborative partnerships and community building.” Said Dara Kovel, Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Communities. “Beacon’s footprint in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania is enhanced by this cutting-edge and community-focused project.”
Beacon’s development work includes new construction, historic adaptive reuse, regenerative developments, and the renovation of existing housing. Beacon secured funding for this revitalization project through a mix of state, local, and private funding sources. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provided financing through a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocation, first mortgage loan, and PHARE funds. Local construction and permanent gap financing were provided through the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh ($1.725mm) and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh ($1.095mm). Private equity totaling $12.375mm was raised by RBC Community Investments, LLC through the syndication of LIHTCs, which were purchased by BNY Mellon. BNY Mellon also provided construction period financing of $8.7mm.
About Beacon Communities: Beacon Communities LLC is a privately owned real estate firm that develops, acquires, invests in, and manages a wide range of multi-family housing. Their portfolio includes affordable housing, market rate housing and mixed income-housing. Their developments range from new construction to historic adaptive reuse, to the renovation of existing housing. They take on challenging developments and make them succeed. Their driving passion is to create well-designed, healthy homes that improve the quality of life of their residents and enhance the neighborhoods in which they are located. For more information about Beacon Communities LLC, please visit www.beaconcommunitiesllc.com.