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URA July Board Meeting Wrap Up

Press Release
July 9, 2020

$50,000 matching grant to Neighborhood Allies for the rehabilitation of future home of Big Tom’s Barbershop

RFP to be re-issued for purchase and redevelopment of 1602-1606 Broadway

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 9, 2020) – The URA Board of Directors approved and announced the following items at its July Regular Board meeting held virtually this afternoon at 2 p.m.

  • The Board approved a Community Development Investment Fund (CDIF) grant with Neighborhood Allies in an amount up to $50,000 to be used as a matching grant for predevelopment costs associated with the rehabilitation of 2178 Centre Avenue into a mixed-use building. The first floor of the building was once Hamm’s Barbershop. The first floor will be rehabilitated and used by the future owner, Thomas Boyd, as Big Tom’s Barbershop. Boyd will also be rehabilitating the upper floors into residential housing.

    Neighborhood Allies has been hired by the URA to work with the respondents of the Centre Avenue RFP to help them prepare their development budgets, conduct predevelopment activities, and secure financing. Neighborhood Allies has already committed a predevelopment grant to Big Tom’s Barber Shop in the amount of $50,000. The URA’s CDIF grant will be used as a match.

    The CDIF grant will be used to help the developer pay for architectural and engineering costs and other predevelopment expenses. The URA currently owns the building. Thomas Boyd is in an Exclusive Negotiations period with the URA.

    Thomas Boyd has operated Big Tom's Barber Shop in the Hill District for 14 years. During this time, he has been renting this location. He has a strong and loyal clientele that has provided him with consistent revenues. Mr. Boyd will rehabilitate the first floor and relocate his existing business to the 2178 Centre Ave. building and include a waiting room lounge space and a flex space with a separate entrance. The upper two floors are tentatively scheduled to be renovated as 2, two-bedroom apartments that would be marketed as affordable to 50-80% AMI households. The adjacent lots would be used for outdoor deck/lounge space that would be utilized by the community at times and at other times be utilized by neighborhood home-based businesses for pop-up sales and demonstrations.

    “I want to thank Neighborhood Allies and the URA for helping us to get the ball rolling, said Thomas Boyd. “I’m very grateful for all of the support. We’re ready to go, ready to help the neighborhood and have something to look forward to.”

    “It’s good to see someone who grew up in the Hill, stay in the Hill and has respect in the Hill,” said URA Board Vice Chair Representative Ed Gainey.

  • The URA announced it will be requesting proposals from redevelopers or redevelopment teams to purchase and redevelop 1602-1606 Broadway Avenue. 

    The goal is to select a redeveloper who can complete a high-quality, mixed-use development as permitted by Local Neighborhood Commercial zoning guidelines while preserving the architectural character of the building.

    This is the second time this RFP has been issued. The URA expects to release the RFP in mid to late July.

The Board also approved:

  • A Housing Opportunity Fund For-Sale Development Program - Predevelopment loan with the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation in the amount of $45,000.

  • A loan agreement with Larimer/East Liberty Phase IV, L.P. in the amount of up to $517,261 for the build-out of the commercial white box in the Larimer School (Larimer Phase IV).

  • A contract in the amount of $200,000 for Omicelo to provide management services for the Community Engagement Ambassadors.

    The Community Engagement Ambassadors (CEA) will reach community members who are likely eligible for rental assistance/eviction prevention programs but who traditionally haven’t known about/been able to access these programs; they’ll also provide technical assistance to applicants in need to complete applications for these programs.

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