Craft proposes 162-unit Squirrel Hill apartment project at former Irish Centre site near Frick Park

Craft proposes 162-unit Squirrel Hill apartment project at former Irish Centre site near Frick Park

Craft General of Toronto, best known for its 68-unit townhouse development in Lawrenceville and the quick sale, Craft General is now working on a major apartment building project near Frick Park, in Squirrel Hill.

The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition hosted a Zoom meeting on Wednesday night, where the company, previously known as Craft Development Corp. presented its plans.

Craft, working with Strip District-based Indovina Associates Architects again, proposes building a 162-unit project on the former Irish Centre in Pittsburgh. This club facility closed a few year ago and includes a lot more than 185,000 sq. ft. The parcel is located on a hilly stretch of Forward Avenue, visible from Parkway East's outbound lane at the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

Ryan Indovina said, "We are very excited to be moving onto another project with Craft," as he introduced his presentation to a large audience of Squirrel Hills residents and interested parties. He added that the apartment complex was located in a "unique location" directly below Walnut Towers.

Craft's project is to build mainly on the existing structure of the Irish Centre, leaving the rest of site untouched. The majority of it is hilly, making it difficult to build on.

Indovina stated that the project would seek a height variation from the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment. The project is aiming to build a building with six to eight stories and will also be seeking a variance in floor area ratio. Craft's biggest zoning request will likely be to allow multifamily housing at the site located at 6886 Forward Ave. because it is in a park zone, due to its proximity to Frick Park.

Indovina explained that it's a zoned district where single-family houses are allowed but not apartments.

He acknowledged that this approach would result in higher construction costs.

Craft has only pursued residential projects for sale in Pittsburgh. Craft has also pursued six townhouses redevelopment projects called Penn Heights along Penn Avenue in Bloomfield. These are still not built.