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Fund poised to boost North Side startups, expansions with $1.64M in new capital

| Friday, July 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

With a $13 million capital base bolstered by $1.64 million in new contributions, the Northside Community Development Fund is ready to finance business startups and expansions, its executive director said on Thursday.

“Now we will include financing for pre-development real estate acquisitions and a new mortgage program that includes acquisition and rehabilitation of a house in one mortgage,” said Mark Masterson at the group's annual luncheon.

The fund recently received $450,000 from Rivers Casino, $450,000 from the state Department of Community and Economic Development in a grant and a low-cost loan, $440,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration, $250,000 from the Treasury Department's Small Business Loan Fund, and $50,000 from Huntington Bank.

The money will boost a number of projects under way or proposed in the North Side, said Mark T. Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference, the fund's parent organization.

The projects include:

• Demolishing an empty Vinial Street apartment building to give Pennsylvania Brewing Co. space for a cold-storage facility, which the brewery lost when a wall collapsed, said Sandy Cindrich, business manager. Vinial Partners — Steward Diamond, Gary Cindrich and Codrey Little — will join that project, she said. A second phase would expand the brewery.

• Expanding second-story offices in a building at 632 E. Ohio St., owned by Historic Deutschtown Development Corp., where Grace Period, a faith-based payday lender, wants to grow from its first-floor offices. Located at the corner of East Street, the building is undergoing a $200,000 facade restoration using money from the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Northside fund and the casino.

• Converting Allegheny Stables, owned by Allegheny West Civic Council, into 12 residential units and offices. Fatla believes construction could be under way by this time next year. “This is a building worth saving because it is in the heart of other Victorian industrial buildings,” he said. Work proposed in 2007 was delayed by property acquisition, consultations with developers who ultimately did not agree to work on the building, and repairs to masonry and the roof, he said.

• Renovating two buildings along the 400 block of East Ohio Street, one formerly occupied by Bob Ludwig Floral, where facade work is scheduled to begin in August. The plan is for street-level retail space with apartments above.

• Converting the Weaver building at 502 E. Ohio St., owned by Historic Deutschtown, into ground-floor retail or restaurant space; five apartments above are occupied.

Fatla also said there were other projects that had yet to begin, but he could not elaborate.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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