Planning underway for historic church’s $2.6M transformation

Mon Valley Initiative is moving ahead with plans for the conversion of a vacant but historically significant church in Braddock into much-needed quality housing.

Dave Yargeau, MVI real estate developer, recently presented the Regional Development Committee with a proposal to transform the First United Presbyterian Church on Parker Avenue into an eight-unit apartment building.

Built in 1893, the church was deconsecrated in 2017. Through the efforts of Mon Valley Initiative, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December 2019.

The church is strategically located next to Braddock Carnegie Library and near several homes built or rehabilitated by MVI.

Project architects MCF envision preserving most of the church’s unique features, including stained glass windows, parts of its pipe organ and a grand chandelier gracing the sanctuary.

“The ground floor would have four one-bedroom apartments,” Yargeau says. “The first floor would have three units — and because it is a very high building, two of the units would have a loft level that could be used for extra living space.”

Two of the first-floor units would have two bedrooms, while a single one-bedroom unit would be located in the choir loft, Yargeau says.

MVI is still raising the estimated $2.6 million to begin work, he says. The COVID-19 pandemic required many agencies and foundations to redirect spending toward emergency priorities, but things are moving forward again, Yargeau says. MVI is also working to secure the vacant property next door for use as green space and off-street parking, he says.