Historic Wholey's storage building to become new apartment building

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PITTSBURGH —

Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has seen many historic buildings turned into living spaces. The latest rehab project is going to be a major undertaking.

The Wholey’s cold storage building on Smallman Street, which has been a Strip District landmark for decades, is about to be transformed into an apartment building.

“I think it’s really exciting,” said Beck Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip. “There’ll be new apartments and new residences – which is great for the Strip. I think it’s a great location for the people who will be living there.”

Officials said the one- and two-bedroom apartments will have windows and balconies, something the building is currently without.

Crews will punch through the warehouse’s double concrete exterior to overhaul the entire look of the building.

Business owners told Channel 11’s Trisha Pittman that they’re hoping the apartments will bring business to the area.

“A lot of the stores on Penn Avenue do 25 to 30 percent of their business in retail, and the balance is wholesale. Hopefully that will increase those retail numbers,” Rodgers said.

A parking garage, pool and fitness center will also be incorporated into the 1930s warehouse.

For Strip District purists, there is one disappointment – the Wholey’s smiling fish that has greeted many will have to come down.

Developers also said they want to make the building energy efficient, and they're seeking a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating. Wind turbines will be placed on the top of the building to help power outside lightning.