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The LOFTS of Mount Washington to transform unique art deco school

One of Pittsburgh’s premier art deco buildings will soon be transformed into a unique housing development.  The LOFTS of Mount Washington will be a historic renovation and retrofit of the former Prospect Middle School into 67 units of apartment housing.

“It’s unique because there’s not a lot of art deco in Pittsburgh,” says developer Victor Rodriguez.

The school was built in 1931, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.  Rodriguez, of a.m. Rodriguez Associates inc., says the renovation will preserve exterior and interior architectural details.

One such detail is a former cafetorium, which will be reused as a main entrance, and lobby/lounge area.  The elevated space opens to a balcony, which Rodriguez says creates a dramatic entryway.

The building’s upper floors offer views of downtown, and the fourth floor looks out over both the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers.  One and two bedroom apartments will range in price from $800 to $2,000, and from 760 to 1600 square feet.

Also on the property is a former gymnasium, which is being transformed into a 6,000 square-foot fitness center that will be open to the public.  Rodriguez says there are currently no fitness centers on Mount Washington. 

A 160-seat auditorium will also be renovated, and made available for productions and semi-regular programming.  Rodriguez says the auditorium’s renovation is part of historic rehabilitation guidelines.  The project has received historic tax credits, and support from the URA.

The former school grounds will be redeveloped as outdoor terraces and other green spaces.

Rodriguez says the lofts are a 20 minute public transportation commute from downtown, including a short walk to the Monongahela Incline.

The project architect is Paul Rodriguez, and the contractor is Sota Construction Services.  Rodriguez says green building practices will be used throughout the renovation.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Victor Rodriguez
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