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Hip Loft Apartments Attracting More & More People To The Strip District

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There's a place in the City of Pittsburgh where the population is exploding.

The Strip District has tripled in population in the past 15 years, and it's expected to double in the next couple of years.

When you think of the Strip District, you think of shopping, produce, dining and Primanti Bros.

But for people like Mary Kramer and husband, the Strip is now home. They raised their daughters, gave up the big house in Wexford and now live in a loft at 31st and Smallman Streets.

Kramer: "It now takes me an hour to clean the house, I like that."

KDKA's Paul Martino: "As opposed to what before?"

Kramer: "As opposed to several hours."

Kramer is part of a growing number of empty nesters and young professionals who are scooping up lofts, condos and apartments in the Strip.

"It's a foodie's paradise. But we're also a jobs center," said Becky Rodgers, who lives in the Strip. "Surprisingly, next to downtown, we have the highest number of workers in the City of Pittsburgh."

Rodgers heads a non-profit community development group that's overseeing the explosion of housing in the Strip District. Just 270 people called the Strip home some 15 years ago, the population has tripled. And it's expected to double again in the next couple of years.

One reason, old industrial properties like the Brass Manufacturing building on Penn Avenue. The plan is to put 14 apartments there.

At the Pitt-Ohio Truck terminal along the Allegheny River, 300 apartments planned. Soon there are likely to be 600 more units in the Strip.

"It's just a step away from Downtown, and it's a great central location," said Rodgers. "We can walk to so many restaurants. We can walk to the Post Office. We walk to doctors. Everything is very walkable."

There's one other big project still on the drawing boards. It would convert a produce terminal into a mix of residential, office and retail.

If it happens, it would mean there would be 750 new places for people to live in the Strip District.

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