The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh has programming for people released from incarcertaion. Photo by Urban Design Build Studio.

After much discussion, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) delayed a vote today on the much-anticipated Lower Hill Redevelopment project. But the board did endorse initiatives that will bring a new mixed-use development to the Strip District, add affordable housing in Highland Park and help recently incarcerated students in Homewood with living space while they train for new jobs.

Stay tuned to NEXT for more details on the Lower Hill.

In the meantime, here are a few key takeaways from the eventful URA meeting:

-Strip District

23 RR Associates, a joint venture between Oxford Development Company and Steel Street Capital Partners, received a three-year, $2 million loan to support the construction of a mixed-use residential and retail development located at 23 Railroad Street (currently a vacant lot).

Located next to the Cork Factory Lofts, the five-story building will include 220 rental units. Of that total, 94 units will be optimized for communal living, meaning residents will have smaller private rooms opening onto shared communal kitchens and lounges.

Of the remaining 126 traditional apartments, 15 percent will be available at below-market rates. The $52.4 million project also includes a 139-space underground parking garage and 1,380 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

The proposal included a letter of support from City Council member Deb Gross, who wrote that the development serves a vital need by providing more housing options beyond the luxury projects that make up the majority of new construction in the neighborhood.

-Highland Park

Stanton Avenue Associates, a collaboration between the Highland Park Community Development Corporation and the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, received a $110,000 loan through the URA’s Housing Opportunity Fund Rental Gap Program, which provides support for nonprofit developers to build and restore affordable housing.

The loan, pegged at zero percent interest for the next 15 years, will help fund the renovation of the facade at the low-income apartment complex at 5635 Stanton Avenue.


The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh received a $100,000 grant from the URA’s Rental Housing Development & Improvement Program to restore a multi-unit residence at 7911 Susquehanna Street.

The Homewood-based nonprofit offers a 10-week program teaching bricklaying and basic masonry skills, which then gives students (about 85 percent of whom were previously incarcerated) an on-ramp to entry-level construction jobs.

With this particular loan, the Trade Institute will pilot a new workforce housing program: Recently incarcerated students will live in the renovated housing while receiving counseling and job placement services at its 7800 Susquehanna Street location.

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.