Pittsburgh, PA

Hazelwood Green owner signs master developer and promises rapid development

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

By Juliet Martinez

This month, The Homepage is launching a new section of updates on development projects in and near our circulation area. What development issues and projects would you like to see covered?

Hazelwood Green

Hazelwood Green has a new master developer in Tishman Speyer, a New York real estate firm. Readers may recall the November meeting when Tishman Speyer invited community members to meet and discuss proposed zoning changes for Hazelwood Green. The firm has been consulting on work at the 178-acre site, but the arrangement is now more formal. 

The deal was announced on February 25 by Almono Partners, which owns Hazelwood Green and comprises the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. 

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Mill 19 on Hazelwood Green, also known as the Almono site.Photo by Juliet Martinez

Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Tishman will move quickly on developing about 2 million square feet of land alongside of Mill 19 with research and commercial spaces, new parks, shops, restaurants, and affordable and market-rate apartments. Plans include roads and infrastructure to support these spaces. Tishman Speyer has also agreed to help with the design, construction and programming of the Robotics Innovation Center Carnegie Mellon University plans to build on Hazelwood Green. 

URA

At the Urban Redevelopment Authority March 10 meeting, Mayor Ed Gainey’s chief economic development officer, Kyle Chintalapalli, was voted in as the new chairman. He replaced Sam Williamson, the district leader of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, who held the seat for three years and remains on the board. 

Mr. Chintalapalli said in accepting the office, “We stand to gain so much more by working together to advance an inclusive growth platform and achieving a Pittsburgh for all,” he said.

The URA board approved a $15.1 million operating budget, a significant increase from last year’s $12.6 million spending plan. Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act are expected to cover the increase. They also voted to approve $5 million towards four investment programs intended to boost minority- and women-owned business enterprises, and more than $2.5 million towards the renovation or creation of 144 units of new affordable housing, including phase 1 of the City of Bridges Community Land Trust project on Chatsworth (below).

Oakland Crossings

On March 7, Mayor Gainey’s office issued a statement saying it had reached an agreement with Walnut Capital, developer of the Oakland Crossings project in Oakland. The deal shrinks the project from 18 to 13 acres, and adds a public benefit agreement creating 250 union construction jobs and covering affordable housing, food access, and women- and minority-owned business contracting. 

Community groups objected to the zoning changes Walnut Capital proposed last fall. When Mayor Gainey took office, he pulled the Oakland Crossings project from the Planning Commission agenda, delaying hearing on the proposal for two months. During that time, he met with Walnut Capital and community members. 

The Oakland Planning and Development Corporation greeted the mayor’s announcement with appreciation for his responsiveness to community concerns. But they said in a statement they were concerned that members would not have enough time to study the agreement before the hearing. 

The commission met the day after the announcement and heard the proposal from Walnut. The commission voted to study the proposal and continue the hearing at the meeting on March 22. 

At that time, the commission heard from the public and voted to refer the new zoning rules to City Council with conditions including the removal of “college campus” as an approved use and the recommendation that council further review the proposed increased height limits. The public will have additional opportunities to comment when the proposal is before City Council.

Gladstone Residences

Hazelwood Initiative executive director, Sonya Tilghman, said the Gladstone Residences project is expected to begin construction in mid-spring, renovating the larger of the two buildings on the former Gladstone Middle School campus.  

In partnership with The Community Builders, the organization is finalizing the primary piece of the funding puzzle, the construction budget, with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The agency manages the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Also in final planning stages is a pre-apprenticeship training program with Associated Builders & Contractors. Ms. Tilghman said up to 15 trainees will be able to enroll free of charge. A groundbreaking celebration for Gladstone Residences will be announced soon.  

City of Bridges Community Land Trust Housing on Chatsworth

The Urban Redevelopment Authority awarded $620,000 to City of Bridges Community Land Trust for this project at the March 10 URA meeting. The total cost for this project, building homes that will be guaranteed affordable to buy and maintain for 99 years, will be around $2.1 million. 

This first phase involves building four single-family, three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom modular duplex homes on Chatsworth Avenue. Construction is set to begin in May and end in November. When complete, they will sell to low- to moderate-income homebuyers for $120,000-$135,000. In total the project will build 12 homes. To apply to purchase one of the homes, go to www.cityofbridgesclt.org/apply.

Hazelwood Affordable Rental Preservation Program

Hazelwood Initiative bought the final 19 rental units for this program in March, bringing the total number of HARPP units to 63, according to senior director of real estate, David Brewton. These units will remain affordable for low-income families for the next 30 years, in line with the organization’s commitment to development without displacement.  

The program has had a few setbacks recently because of rising costs, pandemic-related construction delays and the need to engage a new property manager. But a third of the units are now renovated. Mr. Brewton said the next step is connecting tenants with social service providers who can help them meet their non-housing needs and goals.  

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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