MANUFACTURING & DEVELOPMENT IN WILKINSBURG
Lofts and Live-Work Spaces on Tap for Developers: Paula Breuer and Victor Pregel, of NBT Holdings LLC, have been investing in Wilkinsburg since 2000, when they married and moved to the borough.
“We appreciate that the community includes many different people, and we love that most of the business district remains intact. Wilkinsburg has a lot to offer in both the commercial and residential sectors.”
Breuer and Pregel own and manage a portfolio of more than 20 residential units in duplexes and single-family homes throughout the borough. Their latest project is rehabilitating the Lohr Building at 725 Wood Street, a mixed residential/commercial building at the corner of Wood and South Avenues. The development will create six to nine residential lofts and four to five commercial spaces.
“The property is centrally located, offers ample parking, and is surrounded by long-time existing businesses,” Breuer notes. “Given its size and location, it can be a key development in the area’s revitalization.”
The main building has a total of 14,000 square feet of residential space. The resulting lofts will range from 775 sq. ft. for a one-bedroom to 900 sq. ft. for a two-bedroom unit. Two or three larger units may be available for artists and entrepreneurs looking for live-work space.
A 1,200 square foot, two-story addition will be marketed as retail or commercial space. “We are open to considering a number of potential tenants, including those that directly serve community needs. We know the space will appeal to forward-thinking businesses.” The building also houses the newly reopened and increasingly popular Nancy’s East End Diner.
In addition to bringing a key corner building back into use, Breuer says the project will help bridge the divide between one side of the railroad and busway and the other. And proximity to a major public transportation source will be a big plus for potential renters and customers of the commercial spaces, she says.
“Projects like this are helping to make Wilkinsburg a destination.”
Art of Building Nationally, Locally: If you’ve ever visited a fast casual chain restaurant, a mall retail store, or a health club such as Planet Fitness or Bally Total Fitness, it’s very possible that you have experienced the quality craftsmanship of Wilkinsburg-based Flynn Construction. For more than 25 years, the national construction management, general contracting and design-build firm has served a steadily growing base of commercial clients locally and across the United States.
Founder Tom O’Connor, a longtime resident of Pittsburgh’s East End, started Flynn Construction in 1989.
In 2002 Flynn Construction moved into an office building on Ross Ave. in Wilkinsburg, but quickly outgrew that space. The firm later moved a block away to 600 Penn Ave., a large corner building that was built as offices for a gas company and later housed a Goodwill store. O’Connor has completely modernized the building to accommodate his staff of more than 25 people.
“I have always loved Wilkinsburg and the vibrancy of the East End.”
O’Connor and his wife Dana and their children are active in the local Irish community and other community and civic projects. They also teamed up with Wilkinsburg resident Mark Smith to establish a cattle farm in Youngwood, Pa. The Pittsburgher Highland Farm, which Dana manages with Smith, specializes in grass-fed beef.
In addition, the O’Connors also helped fund restoration of one of Wilkinsburg’s best-known landmarks, the historic Abraham Lincoln statue on the Lincoln Highway at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Ardmore Boulevard. “It’s important for us to give back.”