Recently renovated housing in Larimer. Photos courtesy of the URA.

The developers of Bakery Square are teaming up with the City of Pittsburgh to invest millions of dollars into affordable housing and workforce development in Larimer.

This week, the board of the East Liberty Transit Revitalization Investment District Revitalization Authority (ELTRIDRA) approved a funding partnership involving Walnut Capital, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) and several community organizations.

The plan is to fund a $1 million Larimer workforce development center, commit $1 million toward new, affordable housing on Mayflower Street, and pay for engineering and architectural support for development of the Larimer Master Plan.

“We’ve been working with the community for some time now, building trust, building relationships, so that together we can reimagine our built environment and create pathways that connect nearby residents to job training and home ownership,” says Walnut Capital’s founding partner and CEO Gregg Perelman. “Just like Bakery Square was made possible through public-private partnerships that pushed the bar on what could be possible, so too will the next phase of this development’s effort to give Black communities the opportunity to play a key role in shaping their communities’ future.”

It’s the second opportunity in recent years for homeowners in Larimer to rehabilitate their homes, says Donna Jackson of the Larimer Consensus Group. In 2014, the group was awarded a $30 million Housing and Urban Development Choice Neighborhoods grant to build 350 mixed-income housing units.

“This partnership with Walnut Capital extended another opportunity for residents to build wealth throughout the community and receive job training to empower them to increase wealth within their families,” says Jackson.

Walnut Capital is providing a $1 million grant for workforce development initiatives organized by the Larimer Consensus Group. Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. will be the service provider and the URA will provide technical assistance and expertise.

Another $1 million from the URA and Walnut Capital will go toward building affordable housing on vacant land on Mayflower Street near Auburn Street. The single-family homes will be built in partnership with the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation and sold to residents at or below 80 percent of the area median income.

Walnut Capital also is providing $17,500 to fund a guide that reviews architectural patterns in the neighborhood and offers suggestions for building or renovating structures. The so-called pattern book will include sustainable practices outlined in the Larimer Vision Plan.

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.