New homes in Hill District touted as catalyst for redevelopment
Murder and drugs were commonplace as Ebony Lightsy was growing up in the Addison Terrace housing project, but she's still sad to see her childhood home torn down.
The Pittsburgh Housing Authority is replacing Depression-era Addison in the Hill District with about 400 apartments and townhouses. Demolition began last year, and workers so far have erected about 20 townhouses around what had been Elmore Square.
Lightsy, 36, has watched the project evolve from across the street where she now lives in a home formerly owned by her grandparents.
“This is definitely a change,” said Lightsy as workers and heavy machinery banged and clanged. “It looks nice. I just hope they don't put the hoodlums over here.”
The $186 million project is expected to bring about 1,000 new residents to the Hill and act as a catalyst for redevelopment of Centre Avenue. The first phase of construction is expected to end next summer. Work will then focus on nearby Bentley Drive, said Tisha Germany, city executive and assistant vice president of Columbus, Ohio-based KBK Enterprises, the project developer.
Community leaders are attempting to rebuild the Hill with new housing, businesses, entertainment spots and social and cultural programs along Centre Avenue. The work includes redevelopment of the 28-acre former Civic Arena site for offices, stores and apartments.
“The idea is to make Centre Avenue a destination,” said Marimba Milliones, executive director of the Hill Community Development Corp. The organization is beginning what Milliones said was an “action plan” that should trigger new development.
A $50,000 grant from the Design Center, Downtown, is paying for a consultant to plan development along Centre from Kirkpatrick to Reed streets. Carnegie Mellon University has chosen Centre Avenue for a case study through its U Dream program. Recent graduates will come up with best uses for properties stretching from Soho Street to Herron Avenue.
“When we finish this plan, we will have reached the tipping point,” Milliones said.
Robert Rubinstein, acting director of Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority, said development of the former Civic Arena site could be holding up things on Centre Avenue.
“I think in part that there might be questions in businesses' minds about what happens on the former Civic Arena site and how does that relate and support activity on Centre Avenue,” he said.
Construction has been ongoing on the Hill for several years.
The new Oakhill community brought about 700 apartments and townhomes to the site of the former Allequippa Terrace housing project.
The neighborhood's first grocery store in a generation, an $11.5 million Shop ‘n Save on Centre Avenue, opened last fall. Centre Avenue has a new YMCA and Carnegie Library.
Jeff Ross, owner of Ross Family Supermarkets, which includes the Shop ‘n Save, said the store hasn't performed to expectations so far. He attributed that to an unusually frigid winter.
“We anticipated a little bit more early on,” he said. “We're anticipating growth, especially with Addison Terrace.”
Trek Development group is planning 50 to 60 additional apartments on the site of the former Reed Roberts development on Reed Street. Ross said that would help the store.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Western Pennsylvania residents chill about forecasters’ spat
- Legal titans prepared to tussle in Ferrante cyanide homicide trial
- Water process eyed for 2 parks in Allegheny County
- Prosecutor in Ferrante cyanide trial attacked; partner charged with assault
- Rules hamper Franklin Regional attack victim scholarships
- Judge expected to sign sale order for August Wilson Center for African American Culture
- Pittsburgh photo exhibit shines light on ‘Good’ work
- Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group volunteers cut trail in South Park
- Pittsburgh VA director gets more time to appeal firing recommendation
- Executive order tightens security to combat identity fraud
- Savvy Service Employees International Union ‘keeps light on’