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Fifth Avenue School Lofts complete, residents moving in; units available

It might be summertime, but the historic halls of the former Fifth Avenue High School are buzzing with activity.  The building's conversion to luxury lofts is now complete, and residents are moving into their new Uptown apartment homes.

It has been 36 years since classes were held in this building, now the Fifth Avenue School Lofts.  The Romanesque/Gothic Revival structure has been converted into 65 rental units, ranging from one-bedroom lofts to two- and three-bedroom units with mezzanine levels.  The average apartment size is 1,250 square feet, with ceilings from 12 to 16 feet high.  Corner units are wrapped in windows, which include historically replicated frames, and rebuilt transoms with arched or rectangular shapes.

Of the 65 units, only 9 penthouse unites are still available.

The residences are a project of Jonathan Hill, EDGE studio, and Casey Steiner, of Impakt Development, among other partners.  Steiner's previous work includes the conversion of a South Side warehouse and the Grant School in Bellevue into loft condominiums. 

The building's 200-foot main hallways feature original tilework and wainscoting, rebuilt by the Strip District's Allied Millwork, and replicated plasterwork by Steel City Plaster.

"It looks like it did 100 years ago," Steiner says.  "We were able to save the package, which was a gorgeous package."

The school’s original iron entry gates have been moved to Fifth Avenue. A “green-screen” fence will support plantings and surround a 85-car parking garage and deck that is under construction.

In addition to the preservation of historic details, Steiner says the building has been retrofitted for energy efficiency, including the addition of foam insulation throughout the interior and attic.

Built in 1894, the former school was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and names a historic landmark by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh in 1998 and 1999 respectively. 

The lofts are located at 1800 Fifth Avenue, in Uptown.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Casey Steiner
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