PITTSBURGH, Pa., Dec. 17, 2020 – The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has selected Tryko Partners as developer of choice to redevelop the former Fairywood School site in the City’s west end. Tryko’s winning proposal will transform the vacant property into affordable townhomes for seniors aged 62 and up as part of a neighborhood revitalization initiative.
The project design features spacious one-bedroom units with covered porches, surrounded by a series of walkable, park-like green spaces. Ample parking will be provided as well as a community building, where residents will be able to take advantage of financial literacy, nutrition and exercise programs, health screenings and other support services designed to enable seniors to age in place. The complex will be transit-friendly and incorporate energy-efficient and sustainable site design, including rain gardens throughout the green spaces.
Isaac Sassoon, Esq., senior vice president at Tryko, said, “We are incredibly proud of our development plan, which includes 46 total units, 39 of which will be affordable to residents with incomes up to 60% of the area median income, as well as seven market rate, non-income restricted homes. All residents will enjoy the convenience of one-story living, with fully accessible units available.”
Moving forward with the project is contingent on Tryko receiving an award of 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). The LIHTC program is a federal program administered by State housing finance agencies for the acquisition, rehabilitation or new construction of rental housing targeted to lower-income households.
City of Pittsburgh council president Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents District 2, has acknowledged the need for the project and her strong interest in seeing it developed following multiple failed attempts by others. “What is most important to me is what is important to the community,” she said. “There are many seniors living in Fairywood who are saddened to leave because they can no longer maintain their homes. This development is crucial to making it possible for residents to stay. The people of this community selected Tryko because it was clear they listened and captured everything the community wanted in the design.”
Tryko has considerable experience with both affordable housing and market-rate units in the Pittsburgh area. The Brick, N.J.-based private equity investment group owns more than 7,000 residential units nationwide, including over 2,000 affordable housing units in Pittsburgh and the surrounding regional market.
In 2007, Tryko demonstrated its commitment to revitalizing the neighborhood surrounding the Fairywood site with the acquisition of Emerald Gardens, the 436-unit multifamily complex next door. The firm purchased the former HUD property when it was in bankruptcy and invested over $10 million to make improvements. Sassoon noted, “We hope to mirror our success with the market-rate Emerald Gardens, which is averaging nearly 100% occupancy and has become one of the most desirable properties in the area.”
The City’s mayor, William Peduto, has expressed his support for the developer and much-needed project, saying, “We’d like to thank Tryko Partners for their investment in creating accessible, affordable housing for our older adults in the West End. We’re thankful that they have the community’s support so that this can be a successful project that meets the needs of our neighbors.”
The URA has attempted at least twice before to find the right developer for the low-income housing project. During what was a highly competitive bid process, Tryko’s proposal was one of three presented to neighborhood residents for a vote. “Our design was the clear winner,” said Sassoon. “We have the support of the URA, the mayor, the council president and the neighborhood. We are confident this project checks all the boxes for LIHTC approval – the next critical step toward the future of the Fairywood project and further neighborhood revitalization that will follow. We hope our project will help make the dreams of this community come true by serving as a catalyst for additional improvements.”
Tryko Partners purchases multifamily properties, healthcare facilities and service entities, and tax liens along the Eastern Seaboard and in the Midwest. The organization has grown its real estate and healthcare portfolios by identifying recovering markets and maximizing investor returns through diligent acquisitions, hands-on management and value-added capital improvements. Tryko maintains an outstanding reputation as an operator, developer and property manager.