Written by The New Pittsburgh Courier
The same day it authorized its final piece of funding for the Centre Heldman Plaza project, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh board gave site control of twelve Hill District lots to New Granada Housing LP for a project that will revamp both the Wylie and Centre Avenue corridors.
The company is a joint venture between the Hill District Community Development Corporation and Ralph A Falbo Inc., which will act as the construction manager.
“The first phase of the project will create a new mixed-use, mixed income development featuring first floor retail and apartments above on Centre between the Credit Union and the Black Beauty lounge,” said CDC Executive Director Marimba Milliones. “It will be all residential along Wylie.”
The massive development comprised of 51 apartments in two buildings and 7,200 square feet of commercial and retail space will also include a courtyard and reception area, and an underground parking garage with an entrance from Aaron Street. Rothschild Doyno Architects is the designer.
Milliones presented the $16 million Shops and Residences at New Granada Square project to about 75 residents and stakeholders during a community meeting at the Hill House Association, Nov. 15.
“We are currently engaged in a substantial capital campaign and having site control enhances our fundraising abilities,” she said. “We’ve already received major predevelopment funding from McCauley Ministries and the PNC Foundation, and we are now looking to speak with interested parties; entrepreneurs, young urban professionals, and artists about the space and bringing vibrance to the community.”
The project’s second phase will renovate the New Granada Theater building, which thanks to a $1.1 million investment over the last four years, has been fully stabilized. How it will be renovated is still undecided.
“One thing we know is it will be a commercial retail and cultural space, with a restaurant for sure,” said Milliones. “We are currently conducting a market study to determine the demand for cultural and commercial space and what kind.”
K. Chase Patterson, president and CEO of Corporate Diversity Associates said, he was excited by the vision the CDC laid out in their presentation and that the development would definitely attract the urban professionals Milliones is targeting.
“No question. It has the proximity to Downtown and Oakland, the courtyard is a great concept, and the underground parking is a standout idea,” he said. “I’ll look at it as a potential resident and my firm will as a lessee. It’s great to see innovation taking place in the Hill.”
Linda Hastons, a performance artist and long-time Hill resident said she was impressed by the presentation and the project.
“It will bring people back to the Hill, as residents and as shoppers, and make the Hill the kind of friendly place it was back in the ‘60s,” she said. “I agree with Chase that it will appeal to the young vibrant African-Americans who respect the legacy of the Hill.”
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