Pittsburgh, PA

Developer invites feedback on affordable housing concepts for Hazelwood Green

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

Hazelwood Initiative April 12 community meeting highlights

By Juliet Martinez 

Hazelwood Green developer, Tishman Speyer, gave residents a first look at an affordable housing complex across from Hazelwood Green Plaza. It will consist of two buildings forming an L shape at the intersection of Lytle and Eliza Streets. 

Architect Brent Houck said the Lytle building will have 60 units. The first floor will house amenities like a fitness center, community room, playroom and management offices. Small retail spaces are possible as well. 

Image courtesy of Tishman Speyer

Mr. Houck said they currently expect to have 58 1-, 37 2-, and 10 3-bedroom rental apartments. The buildings will meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards. While some will be built for disabled tenants, disabled people will be able to visit any of the units. Both buildings will have elevators and the units will have full bathrooms with bathtubs. 

Austin Gelbard, Tishman Speyer senior director, said these designs are in their earliest stages. 

Gary Rodney is managing director of affordable housing at Tishman Speyer. He said Tishman Speyer prioritizes working with minority- and women-owned businesses. He promised that Tishman Speyer will ask for more input on the designs. 

“We are definitely open and willing to meet with as many groups as we can because we realize we’re coming into your community,” he said. 

Chatham University greenway hillside stabilization study 

Three graduate students in sustainability reported on their research at the meeting. They conducted studies of landslide risk and hillside stability in the Hazelwood greenway.

They found that storms will be more frequent and intense across the Northeast. This will worsen the threats of landslides and stormwater problems. They said heavier rains destabilize the soil, which already shows signs of degradation. 

The group’s analyses of map data showed that steep hillsides in the greenway create conditions for erosion.

They recommended stabilizing hillsides by pairing non-invasive plants with retaining walls, for example. In areas with shallow slopes, landscape fabrics can stabilize soils while allowing water to soak into the ground. On steep slopes, live-pole drains offer a way to intercept high speed runoff and keep the soil stable.

They suggested moving trails to more stable areas when current trail locations are unsafe. Honeycomb grids can help reduce puddling and improve the load-bearing capacity of trails. 

The City of Pittsburgh chief resilience officer, Rebecca Kiernan, collaborated on the studies. The data and recommendations may affect city policy in the future. 

Second Avenue grocery store update: Cooperative business model 

The group working to build a grocery store on the 4800 block of Second Avenue welcomed volunteers with the Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership. POORLAW/GH-CARED is spearheading the construction of the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center. 

Kevin McPhillips, the organization’s executive director, said employee ownership is about programs that change the lives of workers. He described a multi-tiered co-op facility. 

Tier 1: Real estate co-op

If area residents pool money to pay for the building, they would each be part owners. 

Tier 2: Consumer co-op grocery store

Co-op members would pay a fee to shop at the store. At the end of the year, they receive to a part of the profits or a discount on future purchases. These benefits are proportional to the amount of money each member spends at the store. 

Tier 3: Employee-owned worker co-op

The grocery employees would own the business. They would have a say in important decisions affecting the company. Worker co-ops are democracies. They can have a one-person-one-vote governance structure, or an elected board of directors. 

Ron Gaydos, a cooperative business consultant, spoke about the “triple bottom line" of a cooperative. By this standard, the actions of the cooperative must make financial sense, benefit the workers and benefit the community. He said on average, workers in cooperative businesses make 12 to 15% more than other workers. They have more control over working conditions. And cooperative businesses have about a third the failure rate of conventional businesses. 

For more information, contact Kevin McPhillips at kevin@paceo.org or visit https://ownershippennsylvania.org/

Come to the May 10 community meeting!


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  • Hazelwood Initiative Updates
  • Community Announcements

Register in advance for this meeting at https://bit.ly/2SwPr9k.

CALL IN TO LISTEN: (646) 558-8656; Meeting ID: 853 9182 9343; Passcode: 796212

Homepage publisher, Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., is a community development corporation and a registered community organization. Monthly community meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month from 6-8 p.m. and are open to the public. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., does not profit by or receive compensation from contributors or organizations for mentions or links in Homepage articles.

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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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