Student-Housing Project to Fill Void for Pittsburgh Universities

PITTSBURGH — Construction began Aug. 2 on a student-housing community that will serve the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), both of which are located in Pittsburgh. The building is expected to house a mix of both graduate and undergraduate students from both universities.

Memphis, Tenn.-based EdR, which will manage the facility upon completion in summer 2018, will own 80 percent of the community, while New York-based Park7 Group, in charge of development, will own 20 percent. Dallas-headquartered Humphreys & Partners is serving as the architect on the project.

The $106 million development is being built on what was once a parking lot, located one block north of both the Pitt and CMU campuses. A rendering of the project shows trees lining the 17-story building, which is anchored by a massive windowed lobby. It will house 723 beds in studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations, which will feature in-unit washers and dryers and granite countertops. Access to Wi-Fi throughout the building will also help serve today’s student population. A 381-space parking structure and 10,000 square feet of retail space will round out the development.

As an urban high-rise, the building is designed to provide private spaces as well as other features that create a sense of community for the student population. “Its bed-bath parity paired with communal spaces within the community gives students privacy where they want it, along with places where they can study or socialize,” said Scott Barton, EdR’s vice president of acquisition and development for the project.

An indoor-outdoor lounge located on the roof and an amenity deck with a pool, fire pit and grills, for instance, will provide space for students to socialize in this urban setting, according to Barton. A state-of-the-art fitness center will also be available.

Located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, the new facility will join other student-housing facilities that make up a large part of the community. “As student-housing markets have evolved, part of the design challenge on projects like this is to give the building a modern look and feel, but also help it mesh with the neighborhood it’s in,” Barton said.

The construction of the student-housing community, which has been in the pipeline for almost three years, will help fill a housing void at this particular end of the campus, especially as enrollment continues to grow at both schools. “The purpose of the project is to provide high-quality student housing in an area near both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campuses, which have very little purpose-built student housing,” Barton said.

In 2015, Pitt had nearly 29,000 students enrolled and is currently ranked as the No. 24 public university in the country per U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings. CMU was ranked No. 23 in the U.S. News and World Report’s latest rankings and has a total enrollment of 13,650 students.