TIGER loose in East Liberty!
The City of Pittsburgh has successfully applied for and received a $15 million grant from the U. S. Department of Transportation TIGER IV discretionary grant program. The grant will be matched with funding from the City and State as well as private and philanthropic funding and will allow for $34 million dollars in public infrastructure investment, including a new, multi-modal transit center that will serve nearly 1,000 bus arrivals and departures in East Liberty.
The project will create a transit center that facilitates pedestrian flow, provides resources for bicyclists, improves access to transportation services, and creates a visually intuitive and green gateway into the ever more busy East Liberty and Shadyside urban environment.
The new East Liberty Transit Center will replace the current East Liberty Busway Station. By creating a transit hub that supports alternative forms of transportation, the project will spur denser and “smart growth” development in the area, resulting in shorter travel times and better travel options.
The neighborhood’s recent growth includes over $440 million in new development either completed or underway. The new Transit Center will be at the heart of the proposed East Liberty Transit Revitalization District (TRID) and enable a $43 million privately-funded transit-oriented development called EastSide III, which could include a combination of uses including retail, housing, office or hotel.
Read more here, here, here and here.
See a super cool aerial video of the project vision here. Then click the link for Video Strategy Elements Animation.
*Please note that this video shows a concept design and vision for the new Transit Center. Over the next 12 months, planning, design and construction logistics will be finalized dependant upon total project funding raised.
Other Development News & Notable Quotables
Doughboy Apartments, a new four-story, mixed-income, mixed-use building in the 3400 block of Butler Street in Lower Lawrenceville. It will contain 39 residential units and 18,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.
“It is centrally located around hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that’s going to be coming online over the next three years,” he said, “that includes the Lord & Taylor Building across the street that has been purchased by PNC, we’ll have 800 people working there.” - Robert Rubinstein, URA acting executive director. Read more here and here.
“Right now, most of this property is vacant land, so it'll provide an attractive building to anchor a pretty strategic location in the corridor,” says Tom Cummings of the URA. “It will bring additional residents to the community that will help to bolster the main street shopping district.”
“What about those who need the services and environmental services the most?” asked (Senator Jim) Ferlo, who plans to renovate the former Connelley Trade School in the Hill District. “That’s lower-income families and communities. The idea was to transform a vacant gas station into an environment and energy outreach center.”
"These are the next logical steps," Tom McMillan, a Penguins spokesman, said on Thursday. "Other than the arena coming down, this will be the first physical step of the next phase, then comes the infrastructure and then the vertical construction."
"As part of Project Pop Up Pittsburgh I was given this space rent free along with a grant to transform it into my proposal 'Fraley's Robot Repair.' This photo shows how rough the space was and how helpful Google SketchUp was in helping me illustrate the possibilities I saw there." - Toby Fraley, creator of Robot Repair
"It's important for us to continue to invest in our seniors, and we have done that here today," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Read more here.
Council approves an $8.1 million tax-increment financing plan for the mixed-use Gardens at Market Square, proposed by Millcraft Industries. Read more here and here.
The programs were due to expire, or revert to a less generous incentive, June 30. With council's action, the programs will continue through June 2017.
Congrats and Welcome...
...Rebecca Harris, Andrew Csech, Scott Kennedy, Angel Marschik, Steve Bilko, and David Stahurski to the URA’s Business Loan Review Committee (LRC).
Rebecca Harris is the director of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. Ms. Harris has more than 20 years experience as an entrepreneur, consultant and marketing specialist.
Andrew Csech is vice president, commercial relationship manager, for Allegheny Valley Bank. Mr. Csech has specific expertise in SBA guarantee programs.
Scott Kennedy is a Partner with the law firm of Hergenroeder Rega Scotti Ewing & Kennedy, LLC. Mr. Kennedy has extensive experience in business and finance law and is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration as an expedited closing attorney.
Angel Marschik is vice president, SBA Lending Western PA at First Niagara Bank. Ms. Marshick has several years of commercial and business lending experience.
Steve Bilko is a senior SBA underwriter at First Commonwealth Bank. Mr. Bilko is on the membership and marketing committee of the Western Pennsylvania Association of SBA-Guaranteed Lenders.
David Stahurski is vice president, commercial loan officer with Fidelity Bank. Mr. Stahurski has about 10 years experience in commercial and small business lending.
These appointments will enhance the URA’s small business lending capacity, further the URA’s mission to support minority-and-women-owned businesses, increase our deal flow with three previously unrepresented banks added to the LRC and increase the URA’s capacity to leverage U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) financing tools.
Get to Know: Lena Andrews
Job Title: Senior Planning Specialist
What you actually do: I manage planning and visioning in URA target areas.
Years at URA: Four
Best thing about working at the URA: We are involved in almost every exciting project changing the built environment in Pittsburgh; our work is transforming the city.
Favorite project/Most satisfying moment in career: Green Boulevard and getting Sustainable Communities funding for innovative planning along the Allegheny Riverfront.
Education: B.A. from Dartmouth College, M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University
Where you were before the URA: Downstairs at City Planning. Before that, Carnegie Mellon.
If you were boss for the day: I would have everyone spend the day out in the neighborhoods visiting their projects. I would also install showers in 200 Ross Street so we could bike to work.
The Boss Says: "Lena is a bright and talented colleague, and among all URA employees, has the lowest carbon footprint." - Robert Rubinstein, Acting Executive Director
If you weren't at the URA you'd be ... outside.
First job: Cashier/Garden Consultant at Darlington Nursery
Favorite athlete: Andy Van Slyke
Favorite restaurant: Chaya
Favorite thing to do when not at work: Get outside – running, walking, biking, swimming, anything active.
Secret vice: Yoga
What three words describe you best: Energetic, Resourceful, Thoughtful
Favorite TV show when you were young: We only got one channel. Probably Sesame Street.
Three favorite foods or three things always in your refrigerator: Yogurt, carrots, beer
Three people (living or dead) you’d like to have dinner with: Jane Jacobs, Jon Stewart, and my great grandmother.
Actor/actress who would play you in a movie: Maggie Gyllenhaal
People would be surprised to know that I ....used to live in Brazil.
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kudos! and Other Good News
To Marty Kaminski, who was named URA Director of Engineering and Construction on June 16, 2012.
Making dreams come true - one scoop at a time
Project Pop Up: Downtown participant Dream Cream is serving up dreams in a truly unique way. Read more.
They're talking about us up in the air
Check out this great spread about Pittsburgh in the latest Delta Magazine.
We made the list again!
Forbes has again ranked Pittsburgh as one of the 25 Best Places to Retire in America!
Public Art Walking Tours
Curious about art in public places? Want to explore a neighborhood from an artistic point of view? Need to recharge your brain and take a walk? Spend an hour with expert guides on an Office of Public Art walking tour. Learn about the artists, how the works were made, and why the artworks call Pittsburgh home. The next tour is July 20 in East Liberty. Find out more here.
Project Pop Up: An "urban forest" has been planted in the Sprout Fund Comic Courtyard at the ToonSeum along Liberty Avenue. Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette
Pop Into the Shade
The newest Project Pop Up provides an oasis for relaxation and shade at the ToonSeum Sprout Fund Comic Courtyard Urban Forest. Escape the busy streets and rest among the trees at 945 Liberty Avenue until Thursday, July 12. Tables, chairs, and free comic books will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Bring your lunch! Read more here.
Project Pop Up: Pittsburgh is a program of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, in conjunction with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Department of City Planning and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. Since Light Up Night, November 18, 2011, Project Pop Up: Downtown has been animating key downtown vacant storefronts and public spaces, improving the vibrancy, safety, and economic health of downtown. Visit us for more information.
Rock Out in the Square
Free concert series, Iron City Sound Downtown Live!, in Market Square kicks off tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. with Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers and opening act The Longtime Darlings. Read more here and here.
Is that You Santa?
And get ready for the Peoples Gas Holiday Market beginning Saturday, November 24. The market will provide a one-of-a-kind shopping experience with national, international, regional and local vendors display and sell gifts like hand-blown glass ornaments, traditional beer steins, nutcrackers and more. Read more here.
Read more about all things Downtown here.
The Pittsburgh Biz Buzz Small Grant program is designed to spur neighborhood business district revitalization through short and medium term projects and activities. The goals of the program are to bring newcomers into your neighborhood business district and create a buzz about your business district, through media and word-of-mouth.
Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Prior to submitting an application, applicants must meet with URA staff to discuss their project or activity. The maximum grant amount is $7,000.
"When talking with groups, we have been stressing 48x48x48, which is a strategy for business district revitalization emphasizing short and medium term achievable projects and activities," said Josette Fitzgibbons, citywide Mainstreets coordinator. "The goal is to determine what a business district group can do in 48 hours (a weekend), 48 days (roughly, a month), and 48 weeks (a year)."
The program is geared toward projects that can be accomplished by volunteers working with businesses. "We started by reaching out to neighborhoods that we hadn't worked in before, ones that weren't touched by the Mainstreets program," Fitzgibbons said. "Out of those neighborhoods, Brookline was the first to present a proposal, which was great, and was chosen as the first awardee. We are also working with Beechview and Elliott right now."
The Biz Buzz team is slowly making its way around the City, reaching out to groups in the South, West and North at this time - sort of a soft launch. Smaller, non-Mainstreets districts throughout the City are the focus. Stay tuned for more infomation as this program progresses.
For more information, contact Josette Fitzgibbons.
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds, the only pro soccer team in the Tri-State Area, will develop a $10.2 million professional soccer stadium and events center along the river at Station Square in the City’s South Side.
The 4,000 capacity events center will be a regional amenity that will be home to Pittsburgh Riverhounds home games, other regional event draws such as concerts, local university soccer and lacrosse matches, potential winter ice rinks, among other events. The LEED certified events center will create 30 new FTE jobs.
The project was supported through a $500,000 URA loan, New Markets Tax Credits and other private financing.
“The URA’s overall mission reflects what the management of Riverhounds Event Center, L.P. aims to do: create jobs, improve our local economy and impact the neighborhoods we live in through the redevelopment of the City of Pittsburgh,” said Jason Kutney, CEO, Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“As a privately financed project, we truly appreciate the support of the URA for approving a loan for Highmark Stadium,” Kutney said. “ We would also like to acknowledge the generous contributions of our partners, Highmark, Trib Total Media, #1 Cochran, First National Bank, Pepsi, Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company and Sodexo."
Since established in 1999, the Riverhounds have not had an official home field and have played at CONSOL Energy Stadium in Washington, PA as well as a handful of local high schools around the area. Their youth soccer program, The Riverhounds Academy, uses professional athletes to train young players. The academy has since grown in participation and programming, serving as a catalyst for the development of the new stadium.
During the fall of 2010, the Riverhounds joined the USL PRO Division created by the United Soccer Leagues. The division sits just below Major League Soccer and will serve as a stepping stone for players looking to jump to the next level.
“We truly appreciate the results achieved with the URA. We are excited to move forward and would definitely recommend the URA as a lending partner for future business ventures,” Kutney said.
Read more here.