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City Joins Big Tom's Groundbreaking, Bringing $1.94 Million of Investments for Barbershop, Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization Project on Hill District's Centre Avenue Business Corridor

Press Release
November 30, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 30, 2021) Mayor William Peduto joined Thomas Boyd, Sr. of TomTom24 Development, LLC as well as the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), Neighborhood Allies and other elected official, stakeholder and community partners to break ground on a revitalization project at 2178 Centre Avenue in the Hill District. The project will transform the former historic Hamm’s Barber Shop into the new home of Mr. Boyd’s Big Tom’s Barbershop while also creating affordable housing units and community space along the Hill District’s Centre Avenue business district.

Mr. Boyd will relocate his business to the first floor of the rehabilitated structure. The second and third floors will be rehabbed into four one-bedroom apartments affordable to households at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). The adjacent lots will be beautified and used as open space for the community and for pop-up sales and product demonstrations from local home-based businesses.

"Today is truly a celebration as we recognize the work of my friend and community champion Thomas Boyd. Big Tom’s is a staple in the Hill District community and it’s momentous that he will be redeveloping the historic Hamm’s to be the new home of his barbershop and using the opportunity to meet the community’s need for housing and shared space for community entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Peduto. “I’d like to thank him, as well as the funding partners who have joined us in supporting this redevelopment. This significant investment in the historic Hill District business district will be one of many we will see as part of the Hill community plans and the Avenues of Hope initiative.”

The new Big Tom’s Barbershop project arose from a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) the URA released in July 2019 seeking multiple developers to purchase and redevelop any portion of 170 publicly-owned parcels along the Centre Avenue corridor in the Middle Hill neighborhood. The goal of the RFQ was to select developers to bring uses and concepts identified as priorities by the community in the 2015 Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan and the 2011 Greater Hill District Master Plan. 

Mr. Boyd presented his proposal at a community meeting hosted by City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle in September 2020 and received a community approval score of 100%.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Big Tom and this project which will break new ground in the Hill District,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Dr. Diamonte Walker. “The success of this project will not only signal catalytic change along the Centre Avenue corridor, but also paves the way for future commercial revitalization projects which simultaneously creates opportunities for community-centered ownership while closing the City of Pittsburgh's affordable housing gap.”

“We are honored to be an ally and partner on this journey with Big Tom and to support him in accessing the tools and resources needed to create transformative community change in the Hill District,” said Neighborhood Allies President, Presley Gillespie. "This project is the true epitome of equitable community development-encompassing the redevelopment of a physical place and creating opportunity for the people who call that place home. We're incredibly proud to that Mr. Boyd is not only poised to own a key corner parcel in his neighborhood, but also grow his community serving business over the coming years."

To date the project has received over $1.94 million in funding from First National Bank (the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corporation), Lower Hill Group, Neighborhood Allies, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and URA. The project has also received over 450 of intensive technical assistance from Neighborhood Allies through their Centralized Real Estate Accelerator.

"Thanks to all the people who have been working hard - all the community groups, all the funders, Neighborhood Allies, URA and all the people who have been helping me through this process," said Mr. Boyd. "I just feel blessed and we're going to continue giving back to the neighborhood."

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