South Side generates millions but is also the 'Jersey Shore of Pittsburgh,' per study
Pittsburgh’s South Side commercial district generates hundreds of millions in sales each year — including about $34 million in tax revenue for local governments — but needs to improve its image and branding for continued growth, a recent study shows.
The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority commissioned North Side-based Fourth Economy Consulting to analyze the East Carson Street business district and produce plans for improvement.
Fourth Economy found that the South Side is growing in population and jobs and generates millions each year for the local economy, but must overcome its image as the “Jersey Shore of Pittsburgh” and accessibility issues.
The report recommended a public relations campaign to improve the negative image. It also suggested the South Side needs cleaner and safer streets, specialty stores, unique dining options and fitness and wellness businesses, along with more green space and better parking options.
Population on the South Side has grown from less than 9,000 in 2000 to more than 10,000 in 2016 and is projected to exceed 10,600 by 2026, the report notes. The neighborhood has experienced a 35 percent increase in jobs from 2005 to 2015 compared to 7 percent for Pittsburgh overall during the same period. In 2015, 10,788 people were employed at South South businesses.
Businesses get most of their customers from people who live and work within a 10 minute drive, the report said, but also has a regional draw as an entertainment destination.
“The area draws more than $362 million in retail trade annually from visitors and more than $292 million in expenditures for food and drink,” the report said. “The business district therefore continues to need customers from outside of the neighborhood and from beyond the 10-minute drive time in order to thrive. Supporting the needs of only local residents would greatly shrink the business district.”
Fourth Economy recommended the creation of committees to implement the suggestions over the next three to five years.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, email@example.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.