Photo by Justin Criado

By Justin Criado

Gov. Tom Corbett announced a $3 million Economic Growth Initiative (ECI) grant in support of a large Northside development project Monday afternoon, according to a press release.

The grant will be used for a $20 million mixed-use project at the site of the former ARC House on the corner of Madison Avenue and East Ohio Street in East Deutschtown, near the entrance to I-79.

The 20,000-square-foot space was the site of a former historic bank and has sat vacant for years. Northside company October Development in conjunction with the Northside Leadership Conference (NSLC) plans on creating a 120-room hotel, a 300-space parking garage and a 26-room apartment building along the East Ohio Street stretch, which spans 20 parcels.

“This investment will continue our mission of making the city of Pittsburgh a premier, worldwide destination,” Corbett said in the press release. “Bringing people and jobs to the Northside area will ensure that we can continue to build a stronger city and state.”

The project also includes plans to restore the former Workingman’s Savings Bank, according to NSLC executive director and October spokesman Mark Fatla.

“The NSLC is assisting October as project manager and has been working with them on finalizing this grant over the past several weeks,” Fatla said.  “The project itself has been in the planning for five years or more with the Northside Community Development Fund financing much of October’s acquisitions.

“The project follows the neighborhood plan for the site, including saving and re-using the historic bank building, although of course many details remain to be worked out.”

The hotel will be a Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels. There will be other development partners, according to Fatla, but none will be named until all agreements are finalized.

“There is much work yet to do to bring this project to fruition, but this is a key step,” Fatla said. “You will see the start of site preparation work in the next couple weeks while we help October finalize design & financing, and help coordinate with PennDOT, city and county agencies.”

State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl also put out a release.

“The ARC House is at the gateway to the Northside of Pittsburgh for many visitors, and the property has fallen on hard times,” Ravenstahl said. “Breathing new life into this structure and surrounding land will help the Historic Deutschtown neighborhood, as well as the rest of the Northside.”