URA Announces $24 Million in New Community Investment in Avenues of Hope Corridors
PITTSBURGH, PA (August 11, 2021) Mayor William Peduto and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced a series of community investments in the Avenues of Hope initiative through a new real estate funding program as well as four housing and development projects in Hazelwood, Hill District and Larimer, currently totaling over $24 million in investment. Avenues of Hope is a place-based, people-first approach that focu ses on revitalizing seven major business corridors in Black and diverse neighborhoods through targeted investment in residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and housing to support inclusive growth of the neighborhoods.
The new Avenues of Hope Commercial Real Estate Investment Program (ACRE) will provide up to $200,000 in long-term capital to local and minority small businesses and developers for site acquisition and preparations, building costs and construction and soft costs associated with real estate development. This new tool will help in real estate revitalization efforts by filling funding gaps in Avenues of Hope real estate projects, allowing these critical developments to move forward.
The URA has proposed selling parcels for four development projects in Avenues of Hope areas in partnership with the local community and using neighborhood-defined master plans as guidance:
The City of Bridges Community Land Trust has been selected to develop affordable, for-sale homes on a residential block between Chatsworth Avenue and Osprey Way in Hazelwood. Following the Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan, 12 permanently affordable single-family homes will be newly constructed for sale to households earning between 60-80% of area median income. This has been selected as one of 15 projects nationwide to participate in the International Living Future Institute’s Affordable Housing Pilot for the Living Building Challenge. The current estimate for investment in this project is $4.8 million.
A project along the Centre Avenue corridor in the Hill District has been proposed by the Sankofa Group that will include a $9 million construction of a 45,000 square foot, three-story commercial space and parking lot. The first floor will house Smoketown Culinary at Sankofa Square, which will serve as a launching site for local entrepreneurs in the food industry who will grow beyond the hall itself and add new concepts to the Hill and surrounding communities. The additional floors will be available as office space.
A $2.4 million housing development is also being proposed in the Hill District, following the 2015 Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan and the 2011 Greater Hill District Master Plan. R. Kyndall Development Group will purchase five vacant lots on Rose Street to construct six new for-sale homes. Of the six 1,700-2,000 square foot, 2-3 bedroom, 2 bathroom and integral garage units to be developed, four will be market rate and two will be affordable to households at or below 80% area median income.
A $7.9 million, 40,665 square-foot nonprofit recreation facility that will include squash courts, classrooms and meeting space for the community will be developed in Larimer by Steel City Squash. The nonprofit launched in 2015 to provide programming focused on education, mentoring, community service, travel and the sport of squash and will work in partnership with the community throughout the design of the project.
These Avenues of Hope projects will be presented to the URA Board at their regular meeting this Thursday.