With the legal work on the housing and retail/commercial space done, construction can begin on the New Granada Square development located in the Hilltop District of Pittsburgh. This is a mixed-use redevelopment that will redesign most of a city block, including the historic New Granada Theater on Centre Avenue. The redevelopment will not only have commercial space and 40 affordable apartments intended for artists connected with the Black community but in a separate deal, will also feature a performance space, a nod to the theatre that once hosted Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, as well as office space. The third floor is to be anchored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Community Engagement Center.
The Hill District has historically been disinvested in after the post-war redevelopment isolated the neighborhood from the downtown area, significantly impacting the area’s economy. The housing stock was considered old and past its utility, and much of it was torn down to make way for the Three Rivers stadium in the Lower Hill that cut off the Middle and Upper Hill neighborhoods from the downtown area.
Current redevelopment efforts in the Hill District are led by such organizations as Hill Community Development Corporation. Its stated mission is to spur economic revitalization that is rooted in building more equitable communities, preserving affordable housing, and expanding commercial corridors. This is the first time that RHLS has had the opportunity to work with the development arm of Hill CDC, but has collaborated with the organization on advocacy efforts on other issues related to affordable housing and community development.
RHLS also worked with CHN Housing Partners, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and housing service provider based in Cleveland, Ohio, with a mission to build more equitable communities, improve housing affordability and preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing in the region. RHLS was grateful to establish a strong relationship with both CHN and a development relationship with Hill CDC and hopes to continue working with them in the future.
This development is an Economic Development Engine Deal that received money from Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), as well as an affordable housing grant from the Pittsburgh Federal Home Loan Bank. The intended residents will be in the 20-80% of Area Median Income (AMI). Working on the deal from RHLS were Dina Schlossberg, Deputy Director and Senior Attorney for Multifamily Housing, Brandon McFarlane, Staff Attorney from the Pittsburgh office, and Ryanne Shuey, Consultant.
For more information, and some of the history of the redevelopment, read this article from the Post-Gazette.