The Boggs Bailey parcel with building footprint.

Sometimes the success of one key anchor project can drive swift development to an underserved area that sorely needs it. To galvanize interest in a key set of parcels comprising a four-acre development site in the Boggs/Bailey business district, Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) is holding an ideas competition. The winner will receive $2,000 and all designs will be presented to the public.

Ideas competitions are held for projects that may or may not be built, because just the creative conceptions themselves can generate buzz and help others imagine the full potential of a key site. Neil Grbach, Economic Development PULSE Fellow at MWCDC, says, “The competition site is a strategic piece of property, maybe even one of the most strategic pieces of property Mt. Washington has seen on the market in the last ten years. A development on this property could remediate seven blighted properties and two vacant lots within a two-block radius.”  

MWCDC envisions an attractive mixed-use development that Grbach pointed out would be only a six- to seven-minute walk from the Mon Incline.

The contest, sponsored by PULSE and Northwood Realty, seeks unique designs that will enhance the built environment. Any registered architect is able to enter the contest. College and university students of architecture, design, civil engineering, city planning or a similar degree are also eligible. This includes undergraduate and graduate students. Both individual and team projects will be accepted.

The winner will be announced and the designs will be displayed at a party on June 18th during the NEXT 3 Days Festival, a three-day celebration highlighting a Pittsburgh neighborhood. In June, Allentown/Mt. Washington will be showcased with further details forthcoming.

All projects should be submitted to Mount Washington Community Development Corporation by June 10, 2016 at 4 p.m. either through mail or in person. Full competition details are available by contacting Neil Grbach of MWCDC at or 412-481-3220 ext. 206.

Maya Haptas

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.