City planners give approval to Trust Building renovation

Natalie Reid Miller
Observer Reporter

After years of planning, developers are ready to revitalize the historic Washington Trust Building.

Trek Development Group, owner of the building since 2013, obtained conditional use approval from the City of Washington’s planning commission Wednesday to convert the 10-story “annex” portion of the building into 24 one-bedroom rental units. Current commercial office renters will move to the original six-story structure at the corner of South Main and East Beau streets.

Pending approval of mayor and council, work will begin by the end of the year and take 10 to 12 months to complete.

John M. Ginocchi of Trek said market studies indicate the need for this type of housing in the city.

“The time has come,” he said. “We’re ready to move forward.”

The $8 million project includes on-site management and maintenance personnel, fitness and laundry units. Ginocchi anticipates rental rates at $650 to $700 a month for the 690- to 750-square-foot apartments.

Plans also called for the existing parking structure on East Beau to be demolished and construction of a parking garage with 74 spaces available to tenants only.

In 2014, Trek proposed a 40-unit mixed residential and commercial space for the 90,000-square-foot space. After gathering funds to move forward, developers decided 24 units would be a better fit.

Jody Schurman of Lab8 Designs said the characteristics of the building will remain, including the facade. The annex windows will be replaced, but Schurman said the restoration will comply with historic restoration guidelines.

The original portion was built in 1902 as the headquarters of the Washington Trust Co. In 1927, the 10-story annex was added.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Trek’s résumé includes several revitalization projects in Pittsburgh, including the Century Building in the city’s Cultural District.

Planning commission Chairman Gordon McMurray said he’s happy to see the building evolve.

“I’ve been in that Trust Building all of my life and it needs everything you’re going to do,” he said. “It’s a nice building. I’m glad you guys are going to take care of it.”