Union Square town-house project takes shape in midtown Erie
By ERICA ERWIN, Erie Times-News
Construction on the long-planned Union Square town-house project has begun.
Crews have poured foundations for the seven town houses that make up the first phase of the $1.4 million project, and framing has started, said Mark Schneider, managing partner of Fourth River Development LLC.
The midtown project had been delayed while the Pittsburgh-based developer tried to secure financing, but could now be under roof within the next two to three weeks, weather permitting.
"The fact that we're going ahead is a commitment that everybody's made to Erie," Schneider said, and reflects a belief that enough people are interested in urban living to make the project a success.
The project is a major part of a larger $55 million development that runs from West 12th to West 14th streets between Peach and State streets, and also includes the renovation of Griswold Park and the multimillion-dollar transformation of the Mercantile Building.
The first phase includes the construction of seven two-and-a-half-story town houses and a 1,300-square-foot Crazy Mocha Coffee shop, to be built near West 13th and Peach streets. Ultimately, Fourth River plans to build 140 housing units in the area.
Brenda Sandberg, the city's director of community and economic development, called the town-house project "a key turning point to the overall development of downtown and how we continue to grow and evolve."
Urban residential projects, familiar in larger cities, are a new concept in Erie and something that was lacking here, Sandberg said.
The town houses will appeal to people who don't want to mow an acre or lawn, or who want to walk across the street to dinner, she said.
"We've never had that opportunity prior to this," Sandberg said.
Kim Green, executive director of the Erie Redevelopment Authority, the organization that helped assemble land for the project, said she is excited that the project has started, and that potential buyers will be impressed by the finished product.
"There are naysayers, of course, but we really believe there is a market out there that wants to be part of an urban lifestyle," she said. "We're thrilled that we're finally going to be able to have that product available to people in the region."