Milhaus Breaks Ground on Pittsburgh Mixed-Use Development

Arsenal 201 will be one of the largest redevelopment projects in the Lawrenceville area of Pittsburgh.

By Jeffrey Steele

Arsenal 201 will be completed in multiple phases, with the first units expected to be available for pre-lease in summer 2017.

Arsenal 201 will be completed in multiple phases, with the first units expected to be available for pre-lease in summer 2017.

Pittsburgh–Indianapolis-based Milhaus has begun work on a residential and retail development in the Lawrenceville enclave northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The firm originally unveiled plans for the project in March.

The first phase, totaling $100 million, will feature 243 residential units and 19,000 square feet of retail space. First units will be available for pre-lease in summer 2017 and the first phase is expected to be complete in 2018.

The complete development will fill a parcel originally occupied by Allegheny Arsenal, encompassing the entire block from 39th to 40th streets and offering 625 units. Work on the first phase is beginning at 39th and Butler Streets. The project’s name, Arsenal 201, reflects the history of the site, as well as the last three digits of the Lawrenceville ZIP code.

“Lawrenceville is one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods for dining and retail with very few rental projects of scale,” Milhaus Vice President of Development Thomas Bost told MHN. “We are excited to add more residents to the neighborhood to support the existing and future retail. This site also created a large physical and social gap between lower and central Lawrenceville. We are hoping this project will bridge that gap and connect both neighborhoods together.”

The development’s first-phase amenities will include a pool, resident lounge, fitness and wellness center, and a courtyard with hammocks that will serve as an outdoor entertainment area. A pedestrian walkway called Arsenal Alley will link Butler Street to a new 1-acre public park and existing riverfront amenities.

The groundbreaking ceremony for Arsenal 201

The groundbreaking ceremony for Arsenal 201 was attended by city officials, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. 

When considering development sites, Milhaus was particularly drawn to Lawrenceville’s dense, urban character, intact residential roots and accessibility to downtown by bus, car and bicycle. Also appealing to the developer was a broad array of restaurants, bars and boutiques, some ranking among the best in the Steel City, Bost said.

“The location being in the heart of Lawrenceville was the obvious plus of the site,” he added. “It being a fully operational and leased site helped reduce the risk of the Pittsburgh entitlements process. The size of the site was daunting. At first, we only wanted to acquire the 39th and Butler corner, but the seller didn’t want to break the site apart. The site was not for sale. We knocked on the previous owner’s door and negotiated with him for over six months …We were the only bidders.”

The site is about 12.8 acres in size and was purchased for nearly $8.2 million, Bost reported. Hard costs for Phase 1 are approximately $40 million.

“Lawrenceville is a very active neighborhood that demands high-quality design,” Bost said. “This project has more masonry and other higher-end materials, which elevates the design and the cost. The site is much larger than our typical projects and therefore less dense, which helped us keep construction costs down with some surface parking. But this size site requires significantly more infrastructure costs than our typical projects, which is a line item that is both hard to swallow and get in line.”

The groundbreaking was attended by a number of dignitaries, among them Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, Councilwoman Deb Gross and Lawrenceville Corp.’s Matt Galluzzo.

“Lawrenceville is a neighborhood full of wonderful people, great businesses and strong organizations,” Gross said. “This project has the potential to build off of all the hard work put in over the years by so many, and become an integral addition to the neighborhood.”