The five new homes in Manchester will be the first of 31 at Columbus Square. (Photos courtesy Fourth River)

After six years of planning and two years of construction, two families will be the first to move into new homes in Manchester’s Columbus Square housing development in early February.

Fourth River Development, LLC, completed the first phase of the Columbus Square project, which includes five finished homes, two of which have been sold.  

Other new homes throughout the Northside have sold well, and developers say that Columbus Square is no exception.

Sally Flinn, a developer at Fourth River, said that based on the increasing activity they see every week during their Sunday afternoon open houses, she believes sales are going well and that “people are becoming more aware o f the development and realize its value.”

The remaining homes for sale are two duplexes being sold at an introductory price of $179,000. The fifth home is now the model home for the project. The hope is that Columbus Square will see continued success in its next phases.

This project has helped revitalize the neighborhood of Manchester by transforming a vacant industrial site into state-of-the-art houses.

 “These new homes have boosted the local economy by creating jobs in the community and are providing an increased tax base while adding to the urban infill housing inventory,” said Flinn.

At completion, Columbus Square will consist of 31 single-family residences. Each home will feature a two-car garage, front porch, rear deck and private yard. The homes also include cost-saving green energy components.

The owners of these new homes will benefit from a10-year tax abatement from the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County that will reduce their property tax obligation.

The second phase of the project will include the completion of four more houses in the development. The project received a grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority as part of the Pittsburgh Housing Construction Fund.

According to Flinn, construction on these new units should start within the next 30 days. Prices for houses in Phase 2 range from $208,800 to $279,900.

Moving forward with the project, the developers intend to continue building in phases of five or six houses at a time, depending on presales. The total of 31 houses should be complete in three to five years.

Fourth River Development partners with Manchester Citizen’s Corporation for the Columbus Square project. Other stakeholders for the project include the Northside Community Development Fund, the City of Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority, PNC Bank, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewage Authority, Commonwealth of PA and the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County.

Sarah Reagle is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh and a former editor of Collision Literary Magazine.

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