(PITTSBURGH) October 17, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today, joined by community leaders from East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI) and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, announced $1.6 million in federal funding awards that will help advance two neighborhood development projects. The Community Economic Development grants, awarded from the Office of Community Services (OCS), which operates under the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, will help fund the transformation of a long-vacant East Liberty building into a boutique hotel and help to fill the funding gap needed to construct the Hill District’s Shop ‘N Save grocery store. Secured with help from Mayor Ravenstahl, Senator Robert Casey and Congressman Mike Doyle, the grants will strengthen the two communities and create hundreds of jobs.
“Neighborhood projects like these are crucial to continuing Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance, which is marked by job creation, neighborhood growth and economic development,” said Ravenstahl. “I am grateful to President Obama and his Administration for continuing to invest in the City of Pittsburgh and our 90 neighborhoods.”
Thanks to an almost $800,000 OCS grant, ELDI will renovate East Liberty’s 5-story, former YMCA building into a 63-room, boutique hotel. The City’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) provided $550,000 in loans to help finance the acquisition of the building. After sitting vacant for 10 years, the building will be developed to include a restaurant, exercise facilities, coffee bar, specialty retail, and event and programming spaces. The $19 million project will generate over 100 new jobs and is currently planning a construction closing in the next few months.
The boutique hotel, coupled with developments such as Walnut at Highland, is an essential piece of the larger master plan created in East Liberty by ELDI, the City, community stakeholders and the URA. The plan includes housing, improved public infrastructure, and retail and commercial centers, and will result in over $400 million in investment on 17 acres of land that span the East Liberty business district. When completed, the projects will create nearly 2,400 jobs, $17 million in tax revenue each year and will re-establish East Liberty as a destination spot.
“This project supports the first transformative development on the Garfield edge of the historic core of the East Liberty commercial district,” said ELDI Executive Director Maelene Myers. “This will be a significant anchor for the commercial core and establishes a market edge that will provide momentum for a move up Penn Avenue into the Garfield community.”
A $789,000 OCS grant will fuel the Hill House Economic Development Corporation’s work to bring a much-needed Shop ‘N Save grocery store to the Hill District. The $11.5 million project will provide a 30,000 -square-foot, full-service grocery store, as well as 6,800 square feet of retail space, and will create more than 100 jobs. The project is made possible thanks to a list of funders, including a $1 million Community Development Block Grant and $275,800 in deferred land acquisition financing from the URA.
“We are delighted to receive the news that our OCS grant application has been approved,” responded Cheryl Hall-Russell, President and CEO of the Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation. “This has been a very difficult project to complete and our community has been waiting a long time for fresh food and new retail options. We have been steadfast in our commitment to ensure a full-service grocery store comes to the Hill.”
Both projects have received support from Mayor Ravenstahl, Senator Casey and Congressman Doyle.
“I am proud to support these projects that will create family-sustaining jobs in the historic communities of East Liberty and the Hill District,” said Senator Casey. “These funds will invest in Pittsburgh’s economic revitalization through the development of commercial centers that will bring hundreds of new jobs. I commend the East Liberty Development Initiative (ELDI), the Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation for their leadership in making these projects a reality.”
“We all welcome the addition of a full service grocery store to serve the Hill District,” Congressman Doyle said. “They’ve been without a full-service grocery store for far too long. This new enterprise will improve neighborhood residents’ access to healthy, affordable food – and bring new jobs to the neighborhood. Likewise, the redevelopment of the old East Liberty YMCA will help revitalize the neighborhood’s business district and create new jobs for community residents. Working with community organizations like the Hill House and East Liberty Development, Inc, we have been able to accomplish our shared goals of significantly improving the quality of life for residents of the Hill District and East Liberty.”
About the Office of Community Services
About Hill House Association
Monday, October 22, 2012
Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687