Home > PUM One on One with WILLIAM J. GATTI -PRESIDENT/CEO Trek Development Taking Development to the Highest Heights…Got my mind on Development and Community

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PittsburghUrbanMedia.com One on One with WILLIAM J. GATTI -PRESIDENT/CEO Trek Development Group

Taking Development to the Highest Heights…Got my mind on Development and my mind on Community…Oh yeah…

TREK Development Group has been one of the most trusted names in real estate development for more than 20 years, focusing on building sustainable neighborhoods and fostering the growth and restoration of the region.

TREK builds homes…but they also build playgrounds, parks and public plazas and transforms historic buildings into office space for growing businesses. TREK collaborates with local partners to find solutions for their communities. It is more than real estate development, it is building communities.

At tthe helm of the organization is Mr. William J. Gatti, President & CEO Trek Development Group, Mr. Gatti is directly involved in all aspects of the development process from conception through design, construction and management. Mr. Gatti has extensive experience working with complex financial structures in the private and public/private partnership development markets. Since founding TREK Development Group and related companies in 1991, Mr. Gatti is responsible for the development of a portfolio valued in excess of $250 million.

Mr. Gatti, a native of Western Pennsylvania, received a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College’s Wallace E. Carroll School of Management.
 Recently Trek Development donated a landmark former school in the Hill District to nurture small, start-up businesses in Pittsburgh's economically depressed neighborhoods.  Christian Evangelistic Economic Development, a Larimer faith-based organization that helps new businesses, will spend $10 million renovating the old Miller Elementary School. PittsburghUrbanMedia.com caught up with Mr. Gatti, about this generous donation and his commitment to development, community and sustainability.

PUM: Mr. Gatti, please tell us what appealed to your company as it relates to donating the former Elementary Miller School to the non-profit?

Mr. Gatti:  We are very pleased to be able to support CEED in their mission to nurture start-up businesses through the donation of the building…finding a use for this historic structure that supports the physical and civic revitalization of the neighborhood is a win for all and we are glad to be part of it

PUM:   Tell us more about your company's efforts and focus it terms of development in that area, the lower hill district?

Mr. Gatti: In 2009, we purchased and dismantled a blighted 70 unit property known as Reed Roberts.  We believe that high concentrations of low-income housing are not sustainable.  Since then we have been focused on replacing these units over a broader area, serving a broader income band in a variety of unit types.  We have evaluated the area on a lot by lot, block by block basis and produced a combination of new construction and rehabilitated brownstones and lofts.  Over $30 million has been invested to date with more work planned.

PUM:  Your company has been highlighted as a business with a focus on  developing with health and wellness in mind, can you tell us more about a project your group has worked on using that concept. Why is that important?

Mr. Gatti:  TREK continually strives to advance the use of green technology but works to balance advancement with practicality.  In addition to its standard threshold green building practices including energy-star compliance, HERS ratings, and recycling, significant investments in innovative GREEN infrastructure  have been made.  The Hill District properties include solar panels and geothermal HVAC and being located within walking distance to downtown and many other amenities promotes wellness.  Healthy and happy residents not only leads to long term tenant retention but improves lives.

PUM:  Since your company was founded in 1991 your group has distinguished itself as a real estate development firm specializing in building innovative and sustainable communities, why does collaboration work for your team? What makes your company different in this region?

Mr. Gatti:  TREK works with community, financial and development partners to plan projects that are organically appropriate, reflecting the values of stakeholders and the context of the neighborhood.  TREK does not dictate outcomes to community partners, but seeks collaboration. The TREK team has built a portfolio of residential and commercial development projects focused on sustainability and value for lenders, investors, residents and communities. TREK works to transform historic neighborhoods afflicted by decades of disinvestment and decline.  TREK has extensive experience working with complex financial structures in conventional capital markets as well as public/private partnerships. Projects are developed with long-term ownership in mind with a commitment to executing energy efficient and sustainable solutions to real estate development challenges.

PUM:   As a pioneer in urban development, how is your team working to provide high quality, affordable housing and commercial/retail space in urban centers critical to retaining your professionals?

Mr. Gatti: In addition to the work on Dinwiddie, Reed and Heldman in the lower Hill, Trek completed 900 Penn Avenue (Downtown Pittsburgh) in 1999 (winner of ULI Award for Excellence), 1505 East Carson Street (Southside), and The Overlook (Braddock). TREK understands that the growth and development of a vital urban core is paramount to long-term regional success.  Development of  high quality, affordable housing and commercial/retail space in urban centers is critical to retaining young professionals and attracting people of broad age and income bands. TREK is proud to be the developer, owner, and manager of The Century Building (Terwilliger Institute for Housing Awardee), the first Downtown Pittsburgh development to include a mix of market and affordable workforce housing options in addition to office and retail space.

PUM:   What are some key projects we can expect from your team on the horizon?

Mr. Gatti:     We are working on the Brew House restoration on the south side. The 19th century Brew House on the South Side, former home of the Duquesne Beer brewery and an artist’s haven for more than 20 years, will be renovated as a artists space and apartments. The building will be transformed into a mixed-income housing development, the artists, who have long claimed the iconic building as their own, will benefit from a major upgrade to the facilities.


PUM:    As the leader of the team, what are some of the projects you are especially proud of in your company's portfolio?

Mr. Gatti:  We have had the pleasure and privilege of working with community groups to restore many great neighborhoods in this region: the lower Hill, Braddock, downtown and the south side are a few of my personal favorites. 



To take a look at Trek's portfolio click here


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