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Request for Proposals: New Residential Development / 5416 - 5424 Penn Avenue

General Information & Goals }

The Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation (PHDC) is the non-profit housing development subsidiary of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), charged with the creation of housing in underserved neighborhoods of the City.  In line with its mission, PHDC is seeking proposals from qualified developers interested in building a new residential development on a site along the Penn Avenue Arts Corridor at the border between the Friendship and Garfield neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh.

The development site is specifically located at 5416 to 5424 Penn Avenue and consists of three City of Pittsburgh parcels.  PHDC owns 5422 and 5424 Penn Avenue (Lots and Blocks 50-S-265 and 50-S-264) totaling 6,336 square feet in area.  Presently, there are two residential structures and a garage on these sites that are slated for demolition.  The third parcel, 5416-5420 Penn Avenue (Lot and Block 50-S-266), is an empty lot.  This vacant parcel is adjacent to 5422 Penn Avenue and makes up the remainder of the development site.  PHDC has a sales agreement with the owner of this vacant parcel to include the property as part of this new development.

A challenge to development of the site is an active 24-inch sanitary sewer line that is located underneath the 5422 Penn Avenue parcel.  PWSA requires a 30-foot easement to access this line.  Therefore, any housing development on the site must make appropriate accommodations for this easement.

In keeping with recent development projects in the area and the nature of neighboring properties, the PHDC and community representatives have determined the best use for this site would be a single-family, for-sale, residential development with an architectural design and density appropriate for the surrounding area.  Sales prices would be market-rate, with one unit reserved for a buyer with a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income (see Attachment D).  In order to make this unit more affordable to a qualified buyer, the URA may be able to provide a deferred second mortgage.

To capitalize on the strengthening housing values in this neighborhood, PHDC is interested in receiving development proposals and cost estimates from development teams that want to develop new market-rate housing on this site.  

Quick Stats }

RFP Issued:             Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Proposals Due:        Monday, March 11, 2013 by 3:00 p.m. EST

Neighborhoods:             Friendship and Garfield 

Lot and Block No:          50-S-265



Sales Price:                    Negotiable 

Primary Contact:           David Howe; 412-255-6629;


Project Description  }

As mentioned before, the development site for this project lies along the border between the City of Pittsburgh’s Friendship and Garfield neighborhoods.  This location allows the project to draw on the strength of numerous new developments in the area while helping to bolster the face both neighborhoods present along a major thoroughfare.

Community Involvement

Additionally, because of the site’s location, the PHDC has been working with community groups from each neighborhood – Friendship Development Associates (FDA) from Friendship and the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) from Garfield – to ensure this project fits into the long term vision for Penn Avenue held by both communities.  PHDC, BGC, and FDA have developed a multi-phase strategic investment plan for the neighborhoods and this site is a key piece in this larger plan.  Therefore, the selected developer will be expected to work with both community organizations and PHDC to refine any development plan in order to ensure the project fits within the neighborhood context and the community’s vision and larger planning goals.

Project Objectives and Roles

PHDC and the community organizations developed a set of objectives for this project as part of an initial design process.  Some of the more notable objectives include:


  • Units oriented to Penn Avenue;
  • Facades that generally reflect a modern design;
  • Homes that make use of green design, materials, and construction methods; and
  • Units that meet or exceed Energy Star standards.


In the end, the larger market and prospective buyers will determine the features included in the new housing units, however, interested developers are strongly encouraged to incorporate these and other project objectives (additional design objectives can be found in Attachment C).

The development will be a public-private joint effort between PHDC and the selected developer.  The roles of each entity are outlined below; however, PHDC is also willing to consider alternate development scenarios, if such scenarios are in the best interest of both PHDC and the community.  Developers are welcome to propose such scenarios in their proposals.


PHDC will provide site assembly services and structural demolition.  These services will include assembling property, preparing and recording the subdivision plan, and demolishing existing structures on the site.  PHDC will not be responsible for existing soil conditions.  PHDC intends to sell the property to the Developer at the construction closing for an amount to be determined.  As public funds are being used to help underwrite this development, PHDC will use an appropriate mechanism to ensure its interests in the property until the project is completed and/or sold to qualified buyers. 


The Developer shall be responsible for the complete design and construction of the units; all sitework and landscaping; approvals from local community, City of Pittsburgh Zoning and Planning Departments; obtaining all permits necessary for the construction and sale of the houses; and all marketing and sales of the units.  The Developer shall be responsible for ensuring the soil is adequate for construction activities. 

The Developer should also be aware that:


  • A geotechnical report is not available, nor have any subsurface investigations been conducted.  The selected Developer will be responsible for the site in “as is condition.”  Please prepare your proposal accordingly.


  • A site utility survey is available for review (see Attachment B).  Please take note of the existing conditions presented in the report and plan your proposal accordingly.  As mentioned previously, there is a 24-inch combined sewer line located under a portion of the site that is subject to a PWSA easement.  The land that falls within this easement may not be available for permanent structures.  Developers are encouraged to add new program elements or incorporate elements of the suggested building and site program in order to accommodate this existing sewer line.  Furthermore, PHDC will work with the Developer to design and refine plans for these “non-buildable” areas.

Proposal Requirements }

PHDC is seeking firms that have experience with the design, construction, and completion of projects similar to that described above.

The proposal shall include the following:


  1. A narrative description of the approach, both technically and organizationally, to delivering the completed project (including how the project will be financed);  A complete scope of work and methodology should be identified;
  2. Schematic design(s) and layout of a structure that will meet the program requirements described herein and fit on the site;
  3. Identify key staff and what their roles and responsibilities would be in delivering the completed project;
  4. Identify key sub-contractors and consultants to be used on this project; Include the experience of these proposed sub-contractors and consultants with similar projects and what their roles and responsibilities would be in delivering the completed project;
  5. Organizational chart defining roles and relationships of all staff, sub-contractors and consultants;
  6. A draft schedule from contract signing with submitting firm(s) to issuance of the occupancy permits for the homes;
  7. A description of the organizational capacity and workload of the submitting firm(s) and evidence of their ability to deliver the project within the schedule submitted;
  8. A preliminary cost estimate, broken down by CSI Division, that includes all work necessary to deliver a completed project;  This should also include an offer price to PHDC for the site;
  9. A list of voluntary alternates for any extra or additional work not included as part of the estimate under Item 8;
  10. Any and all assumptions made in estimating costs; and
  11. A description and images of similar projects completed by the submitting firm(s). Identify the client and their contact information.

This proposal should reflect a solution that your firm/team believes will closely satisfy the needs of the client and an estimated cost that your firm feels can be reasonably met.   PHDC, FDA and BGC will work with the selected firm/team to refine the design and specifications to meet specific project needs and goals. Please contact David Howe, manager of PHDC, at 412-255-6629 or with questions regarding this Request for Proposals.


Selection Process }

A Developer may be selected based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

  1. Developer’s experience completing similar successful development projects in an existing urban neighborhood;
  2. Demonstration of ability to attract financing (i.e. construction bridge financing, tax equity, permanent financing, etc);
  3. Experience and ability to assemble a team with the appropriate specialties for this project;
  4. Completeness and feasibility of proposed plan (i.e. scope of work, schematic design, schedule, and financing);
  5. Experience with and commitment to community engagement in projects;
  6. Commitment to Green Building standards; and
  7. Commitment to Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise participation.

After consultation with FDA and BGC, a Developer will be recommended to PHDC’s Board of Directors based on the overall quality of the proposed project.  The evaluation of the Developer’s qualifications, experience, and capacity will be based upon information in the Proposal submitted by the Developer, interviews, investigation of projects completed by the Developer, assessment of their performance in previous undertakings, and other pertinent factors.  The PHDC Board will then have final approval of any Developer, sales price, and any additional conditions of development.

PHDC reserves the right to determine which respondents have met the basic requirements of the Request for Proposals.  In addition, PHDC may at its sole discretion reject, in whole or in part, any and all proposals, waive irregularities in proposals, allow a respondent to correct irregularities, and negotiate with one or more respondents in any matter deemed necessary to serve the interest of PHDC, FDA, and/or BGC.  PHDC reserves the right to cancel the Request for Proposals at any time.

Proposal Submission }

The proposal may be submitted digitally to David Howe, manager of PHDC, at


Three (3) hard copies of the proposal may be submitted to the offices of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh at the following address:

David Howe


Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation

200 Ross Street, 10th Floor

Pittsburgh, PA  15219


No later than 3:00 p.m. EST on March 11, 2013.  Hard copies of proposals will not be returned.


Legal Information }

The Developer, by submitting a response to the Request for Proposals, waives all rights to protest or seek any legal remedies whatsoever regarding any aspect of the Request for Proposals, PHDC’s selection of a Developer with whom it enters into negotiations, PHDC’s rejection of any or all responses and any subsequent Disposition Agreement that might be entered into as a result of this Request for Proposals.

PHDC shall have the right to verify the accuracy of all information submitted and to make such investigation, as it deems necessary, to determine the ability of a prospective Developer to perform the obligations in the response.  PHDC reserves the right to reject any response where the available evidence or information does not satisfy PHDC that the prospective Developer is qualified to carry out properly the obligations of the response, is a person or firm of good reputation or character for strict, complete and faithful performance of business obligations, or if the prospective Developer refuses to cooperate with and assist the owners in the making of such investigation.


  1. Inspection of Parcel:  Developers shall be given an opportunity to inspect the parcel and the title to the parcel, among other things.  If the Developer is selected and elects to proceed after exercising its due diligence, it shall acquire or take possession of the parcel(s) in “as is” condition.
  1. Building Permits, Zoning Variances, and Financial Viability:  The sale of the Property in no way guarantees or warrants building permits, zoning variances, or financial viability.
  1. Discretion, Non-Liability, Waivers and Hold Harmless:  Developer acknowledges by submitting information and proposals to PHDC that PHDC does not undertake and shall have no liability with respect to the development program, the Request for Proposals, and responses thereto nor with respect to any matters related to any submission by a Developer.  By making a submission in response to the Request for Proposals, the Developer releases PHDC, from all liability with respect to the development program, the Request for Proposals and all matters related thereto, covenants not to sue PHDC, regarding such matter and agrees to hold PHDC, harmless from any claims made by the Developer or anyone claiming by through or under the Developer in connection therewith.
  1. Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Requirements: All Developers must demonstrate a good faith effort to obtain minority and women owned business.  The PHDC’s goal is twenty-five percent (25%) minority and ten percent (10%) female participation in predevelopment activities such as design or legal as well as construction contracts and purchases.  The successful applicant will be required to submit a proposed M/WBE plan as part of the project approval process.  Any questions about M/WBE requirements should be directed to Chuck Powell, director of Diversity Affairs and Community Outreach, at (412) 255-6611 or
  1. The Developer, its employees, contractors, and primary subcontractors will not discriminate against or segregate any person or group of persons on any unlawful basis in the construction, sale, transfer, use, occupancy, tenure or enjoyment of the property or any improvements erected or to be erected thereon, or any part thereof.
  1. Each respondent will execute a Debarment Affidavit (Attachment E) affirming that all members of the responding team are not prohibited from entering a bid or participating in a City of Pittsburgh contract by reason of disqualifications as set forth at Pittsburgh Code Section 161.22 (b).
  1. Responses to the Request for Proposals will not be opened publicly.
  1. Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice received by PHDC before the time and date set for receipt of offers. After the submission date, a Proposal may not be withdrawn for a period of sixty days, except by mutual consent of PHDC and respondent.
  1. Mistakes:

Prior to submission date

A respondent may correct mistakes discovered before the time set from receipt of offers by withdrawing the original offer and resubmitting a new offer before the date set for the receipt of offers.

After submission date

Mistakes may not be corrected after the submission date except when PHDC decides, at its sole discretion, to allow the mistake to be corrected.

  1. To ensure receipt of any addenda to the Requests for Proposals, please email David Howe, manager of PHDC, for inclusion on the list at


Attachments  }

A.  Site Location Map with Investment Highlights

B.  Site Utility Survey

C.  Community Design Objectives

D. Affordable Homebuyer Income Limits 

E. Debarment Affidavit