A $ 7.1 million cash injection has been deposited into a fund that aims to revitalize Pittsburgh’s Hill District, the city said Monday.
The money is now in the Reinvestment in the Greater Hill District neighborhood Funds. Administered by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the fund will provide grants for development projects throughout the neighborhood.
The money comes from the Lower Hill Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance District, a program that provides tax breaks to owners of new buildings on the site of the old civic arena for a decade. Half of these allowances – a technical term for tax breaks – are for the fund.
Site developer Buccini Pollin Group advanced the payments, which reflect 10 years of property tax reductions for the city, school district and county. The money is provided up front so the community can use it now, the city said.
Earlier this month, FNB Corp. unveiled a $ 220 million 26-story tower that will be its headquarters and anchor for the 28-acre site of the former Civic Arena.
The Sept. 1 grand opening was the final step in a long effort to redevelop the area, a former residential and commercial district that was razed to the ground in the 1950s to build the Civic Arena. The arena originally housed the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and later became the home of the Penguins. The arena also hosted numerous concerts and other events until it was demolished in 2012.
The Penguins own the rights to redevelop the property, which is now used as a parking lot. The Penguins also receive income from these prizes.
They worked for more than a decade with URA, city, state, and federal officials to develop a redevelopment plan that met the approval of Hill District residents, many of whom cite the lingering scars and the broken promises made to them. with regard to the site.
The Buccini Pollin group, the Penguins and others say the development plan was designed to benefit residents across the neighborhood, not just the Lower Hill district where the Civic Arena was located.
The $ 7.1 million payment to the reinvestment fund marks a step towards helping the entire Hill District, said Bowmani M. Howze, vice president of development for the Buccini Pollin group.
Howze is also a resident of the Hill District.
“We are delighted to have kept our promise,” Howze said.
The movement was also supported by Mayor Bill Peduto.
“I am grateful that not only are we seeing Lower Hill development moving forward to right past wrongs and create opportunity in the Historic Hill District, but that our development partners are demonstrating their commitment to the Hill community. by providing the community with upfront investment funding, ”Peduto said in a statement.
He called the reinvestment fund and the plans that created it a “model” that shows residents and developers can work together to improve a neighborhood.
Pittsburgh City Councilor R. Daniel Lavelle, who represents the neighborhood on council, will have a say in how funds are allocated as a member of an advisory council. He also praised the movement, which he lobbied for as he led the creation of the LERTA which provided the money. (LERTA is the term for the Pennsylvania Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act-based program.)
“The advancement of the LERTA dollars is in line with my commitment to the Hill District community: that the development of the Lower Hill would be for the explicit benefit of the residents of the Middle Hill and Upper Hill Districts,” said declared Lavelle.
The money can be used for other projects, community programs, rent and mortgage subsidies, and other things to preserve and improve the neighborhood.