Residential Brownfield Sites Come With Many Opportunities

Pittsburgh Business Times
22 October 2011
By Tim Schooley, Reporter

Dennis Davin, director of economic development for Allegheny County, sees plenty of opportunity for residential development on some of the region’s major brownfields.

They offer the opportunity to bring new homes with all the most current amenities, as well as entire new neighborhoods in central locations in their communities.

That’s particularly true at riverfront brownfields.

Davin is quick to remember when visitors come to western Pennsylvania and wonder why there is so little residential development near riverfronts in the region. While the industrial revolution had a say in where people lived in the past in the Pittsburgh area, Davin said brownfield redevelopments have been successful with residential development.

“People want to be close to the river,” he. “Any riverfront development we’re involved in, we want the trails to go through.”

Summerset at Frick

The development of a residential community on a former slag heap in Squirrel Hill is seeing a new phase of development.

Craig Dunham, a principal of Summerset Land Development Associates, the developer of the project, said the company has sold nine homes and has six others under reservation since March in a new phase expected to add 116 for-sale homes to the project.

“Buyers don’t think about it anymore,” said Dunham, of Summerset’s origins as a brownfield. “We don’t market it as a brownfield site. We market it as a community. It’s its own neighborhood now.”

Edgewater at Oakmont

A local development team of EQA Communities and Kacin Brothers Inc. is seeing progress in redeveloping the former 28-acre Edgewater Steel mill property on the riverfront in Oakmont into 240 homes priced between $200,000 and $600,000, along with a riverfront park. Forty-two homes have been sold six months into the project.

Newbury Market

Bridgeville-based EQA Landmark Communities has been working for years with Beezer East along with local, county and state government to replace a brownfield of more than 300 acres in South Fayette with a mixed-use community.

Along with plans for a major retail center to be anchored by Giant Eagle, as well as offices and a hotel, Newbury Market has been briskly selling homes in its traditional planned community. The development has sold 50 homes, and at sales prices of more than $500,000, with a total number of for-sale units to be more than 200.

Tim Schooley covers retail, real estate, small business, hospitality and media. Contact him at or (412) 208-3826.