A large vacant building in Forest Hills will soon have a new purpose. By the end of next year it will be rehabilitated and expanded into 41 new apartments for military veterans and senior citizens. The former Westinghouse Air Brake Company building at 1844 Ardmore Boulevard was vacant and an eyesore for Forest Hills residents for nearly a decade. The site became a focus for strategic redevelopment in the community. Numerous ideas were proposed; most involved demolishing the building, but ACTION-Housing, Inc. proposed a complete renovation and two-story addition to create new affordable housing units for military veterans and senior citizens. With support from Allegheny County Economic Development, Forest Hills Community Development Corporation, and Veterans Leadership Program, ACTION-Housing, Inc. was able to put together a development plan to save the building, create affordable housing, and visually improve the entrance to the Borough of Forest Hills.

On October 27th, ACTION-Housing, Inc. hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Forest Hills Veteran Housing facility. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky cleared and the sun warmed the groundbreaking site just in time for the 11:00am start. Speakers shared their support for the project and explained the critical need for affordable housing in Allegheny County. Speakers included: Congressman Mike Doyle, State Senator Jay Costa, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, State Representative Paul Costa, Forest Hills Mayor Frank Porco Jr., and Veterans Leadership Program Executive Director Ben Stahl among other project partners. After the speeches, speakers and other significant attendees ceremoniously laid bricks along the building as a symbol of unity and cooperation of the multiple entities that made this project a reality.

Once complete, this building will contain 41 affordable apartments, 21 will have a preference for military veterans and 20 will have a preference for senior citizens. Six units will be fully accessible; including two units for hearing and vision impaired individuals. There will be 12 spaces of indoor parking in the basement with elevator access to all floors. In order to increase the total amount of units, two floors will be added on top of the rear of the existing structure. More information on the Forest Hills Veterans Housing can be found on our website in the “Real Estate Development” page under “current projects”.