Fineview Crest was initiated by local community groups in the heart of Pittsburgh's working-class Fineview neighborhood. To increase home ownership in the neighborhood and to add diversity to the typical narrow townhouses, the Fineview Citizen's Council (FCC) chose to build detached homes on fee-simple lots. Despite general community support, a few neighbors waged a year-long legal battle against the housing, based on the claim that the proposed density and setbacks were not permitted by zoning. Affordable housing advocates worked with city staff and the Pittsburgh City Council to create an ordinance that allowed density and setbacks based on the averages in the area, a solution that has affected developments citywide.
The 12 homes were built in three phases of four homes each, which enabled the developers to borrow less money and use the sales proceeds from one phase to help fund the remaining phases. As they were being constructed, people of various ages and races bought the homes with assistance from the City in the form of 99-year-deferred second mortgages. The homes feature front porches, gabled roofs, and horizontal siding, and the rhythm and textures of the homes help them to fit comfortably into the existing neighborhood. Through modest design and the use of cost-saving energy-efficient materials, the architects were able to make construction and maintenance more affordable. Fineview Crest serves as a model for affordable infill home development in Pittsburgh.