On September 20, 2021 in Pennsylvania, the City of Pittsburgh, City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), announced that the Greater Hill District Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund has received an initial capitalized payment of $7,187,045 from the development partners on the Lower Hill redevelopment site.
This funding will be used to invest in development projects and other community needs in the Greater Hill District, as outlined in the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan between the neighborhood and the developers.
“I am grateful that we are not only seeing the development in the Lower Hill move forward to right the wrongs of the past and create opportunities in the historic Hill District, but that our development partners are demonstrating their commitment to the Hill community by providing community investment funding up front,” said Mayor Bill Peduto.
“I’d like to thank all of the partners in this development and the Hill District community for creating a model where communities and developers can work together to help ensure the community benefits and drives investment in their neighborhood from these developments,” he added.
The guidelines for the Greater Hill District Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund were approved by the URA board in June. As a condition of the approval process, the developers, a joint venture comprising the Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. (BPG), Pittsburgh Arena Real Estate Redevelopment, LP (PAR), Clay Cove Capital, LLC, and First National Bank (FNB), committed to funding their 10-years’ worth of payments all up front, so that the community could receive funding immediately rather than after construction is completed.
Bomani M. Howze, Vice President of Development for the Buccini/Pollin Group, said, “We are excited to have delivered on our promise of the first installment of $7.2 Million toward the Greater Hill District Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund. The monetization of LERTA monies from the FNB Financial Center symbolizes our commitment to ensure that catalytic, Lower Hill projects are delivered with intent of having lasting impact in the Middle and Upper Hill District.”
The more than $7 million is generated by the Lower Hill Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) district, which was driven by Councilman Lavelle and the Hill Community Development Corporation in 2015.
The LERTA allows property owners on the Lower Hill development site to receive real estate tax abatements from the three taxing bodies (Pittsburgh Public School District, City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County) on each parcel for 10 years, with half of that funding going into the Greater Hill District Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund.
“The advancement of the LERTA dollars is in keeping with the commitment that I made to the Hill District Community: that the development of the Lower Hill would be for the explicit benefit of residents of the Middle and Upper Hill District,” said Councilman Lavelle.
Some of the potential uses for the funding could include project development initiatives and counseling programs, children and youth education initiatives, rent and mortgage assistance subsidies, other wealth-building initiatives, preservation of Hill District institutions and investments that generate recurring or matching revenue for the fund.
“I am thankful and encouraged by the development team’s investment up front to the community,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Dr. Diamonte Walker.
“The URA is committed to working with our partners to ensure that the Lower Hill redevelopment reflects the wants and needs of the community and benefits all the residents of the Hill District,” she concluded.
Applications for funding will be received and reviewed by a community advisory board, who will issue recommendations to the URA Board of Directors who govern the fund. Current guidelines designate representatives from City Council District 6 and the Hill Community Development Corporation as co-chairs of the advisory board.
All images courtesy of URA.