Hill redevelopment moves forward
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 23:09
Plans for several development projects in Pittsburgh’s Hill District near the former Civic Arena site are underway.
Five developments on Centre Avenue might advance in the next 12 to 18 months, according to City Councilman Robert Daniel Lavelle. Lavelle said the work would further complement the Lower Hill, near the Civic Arena site.
The city Urban Redevelopment Authority board, including Lavelle, voted Sept. 13 to enter into exclusive negotiations with E Properties & Development LLC, of Lawrenceville, for the sale of authority-owned land on the 21st block of Centre Avenue. The board voted to approve the proposal.
The property is vacant land consisting of 12,000 square feet. E Properties will use this site to construct a four-story, mixed-income, mixed-use building consisting of approximately 33,000 square feet. The building will feature commercial space on the ground floor and apartments on the other floors.
“Now, the developers are authorized to organize their finances and make it happen,” Lavelle said.
This is one approved proposal of several in process. These developments are part of a master plan to develop the Hill District, and make Centre Avenue a cultural hub, by providing housing, commercial and rental space, as well expanding business opportunities.
Over the next year to 18 months, Lavelle said he wants to see progress in developing a mixed-use building at 2030 Centre – that will also be built by E Properties, as well as moving forward on Ohio Based KBK Enterprises’ proposal for a series of town homes and mixed-use buildings on various lots along Centre.
Ujamaa Collective’s proposal for a market boutique, offices and business incubator at 22239 Centre and FOCUS Pittsburgh’s proposal for a health clinic and other operations on property near Centre, Soho and Hallett streets are also expected to move forward.
These proposals are still in process and some are reconsidering plans. Ujamma Collective and FOCUS Pittsburgh will be cooperating together for a new proposal.
Lakeisha Wolf, vice president of Ujamaa Collective, said the organization is currently resubmitting a proposal because it will be cooperating with FOCUS Pittsburgh, a nonprofit faith-based organization, regarding property use along Centre Avenue.
Because both groups are situated and interested in overlapping areas along Centre Avenue, they will both be cooperating together to resolve usable space issues.
“We hope to address both of our needs without either side having to compromise much,” Wolf said. “We’ll have a meeting with FOCUS Pittsburgh to discuss our plans after a few weeks.”
The original estimate was $1.5 million, but after resubmitting a proposal, this is subject to change.
Wolf said Ujamaa Collective hopes to support businesses in the area and further develop a business corridor. She said it wants to provide the opportunity for businesses to grow, with lower start-up costs, and wants to see storefronts and commercial progress.
“All of this will benefit the community. Place-making is important and we want to create and maintain the Hill District’s legacy, as a contributor to the larger cultural district of Pittsburgh,” she said.
Lavelle said he wants to see development to begin within a year. He said the Centre Avenue projects will complement the Pittsburgh Penguins' redevelopment of the 28-acre arena site in the Lower Hill.