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Oakland Portal project underway, 47-unit apartment building, office towers and hotel

Construction of the Oakland Portal project is underway, a development set to bring two apartment buildings, office towers, and a hotel to West Oakland.  The project is spearheaded by Lou W. Molnar, of L.W. Molnar & Associates, Inc.

The first four-story building, which will have views of the Monongahela River and the South Side Slopes, will consist of 47 units, and is being built over a structured parking garage.  The building is scheduled to open in July, with the second structure to be under construction by the end of this year.

The 1-and-2-bedroom apartments will be offered at $1,300 to $1,800 a month.  Skip Molnar, of L.W. Molnar & Associates, says the 2-bedroom units are designed as suites, with separate bathrooms and walk-in closets.  

As part of the construction, the sidewalk will be expanded, and will included a landscaped buffer between Fifth Avenue.  The buildings were designed by TKA Architects, and the contractor is FranjoConstruction.  

The apartments are located on bus lines into Downtown, and along the study route for bus rapid transit.

In the coming weeks, plans for the second phase of the project will go before neighborhood organizations and the City of Pittsburgh.  Molnar says his company is proposing three office towers, with one to include a hotel, for a site located across Fifth Avenue.

Included in those plans are suggestions for widened sidewalks, landscaping, and bicycle infrastructure along Fifth Avenue.

The entire project is scaled back from an earlier project proposed for this site by a different developer in 2005.

Because of an agreement between the previous landowner and Lamar Advertising Company, a permanent easement exists on the property for two billboards.  However, Molnar says designs were able to incorporate the existing billboard wall to build a secure, indoor bicycle storage facility for the building’s tenants.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Skip Molnar
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