Lower Hill Redevelopment
News & Updates
March 2021
Greetings! The Lower Hill development team is excited to share all of our updates so far this year.

2021 is shaping up as the year of recovery - of "building back better." In these early months of 2021, a Lower Hill development partnership that is committed, experienced and historic is working day and night to advance the 1st phase of this transformational project toward groundbreaking.

The development team invites you to participate in upcoming events, learn about rapidly advancing development plans, and spread the word about contracting and training opportunities!
Over $2 Million Worth of Contracts to M/WBE's to Date!
We've excited to announce that over $2 million worth of contracts have been completed with minority and women-owned businesses (M/WBE) in professional services. To complete the final stage of pre-development, the development team has fielded a diverse and locally inspired team of project consultants and vendors including:
  • Graves Design Group
  • UpStudio Landscapes
  • Dr. Kimberly Ellis
  • eHoldings
  • Communion LLC
  • AWK Engineering
  • Monaloh Basin Engineers
  • Michael Blades & Associates
  • HLB Lighting Design
  • A&A Consultants
  • Advantus Engineers
  • Trans Associates
  • Aspire Grant & Development
  • McFarquhar Group Inc
The development team is working with eHoldings and construction manager PJ Dick to bid and complete tens of millions of dollars worth of construction contracts in phases across dozens of firms over the next 12 months. For a construction industry still reeling from the ongoing and deepening economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project represents a well timed stimulus. 
There are many opportunities to be involved in the Hill District Redevelopment. As these opportunities become available, we'll send them right to your inbox.
Check out this month's event's here:
Development Activities Meeting Monday March 15, 6PM - 8PM
FNB Financial Center Bidder Info Session
Thursday March 25 at 3PM
Bomani Howze, Buccini/Pollin's VP of Development, featured in Pittsburgh Business Journal - 20 People to Know Working in Commercial Real Estate
A 10-year commercial real estate veteran, Bomani Howze has been vice president of development for The Buccini/Pollin Group for two months. He leads the new Pittsburgh office for BPG.

Are there any specific geographic areas or neighborhoods in the region that you think could be the next up-and-coming spot? 
The Hill District is absolutely the next up-and-coming neighborhood in the region. This Lower Hill project reconnects The Hill back to downtown with an exciting, festive open space across from PPG Paints Arena. It will have a variety of eateries with outdoor seating, first-floor retail shops, a music venue, parks with overlooks and an architectural layout that infuses local history, art and musical legacy in its design. We are creating a day-to-night, Monday-through-Saturday, year-round destination location for the region. With regard to other up-and-coming neighborhoods, I’d keep my eye on communities that are five minutes from a downtown bridge and have progressive business and City Council leadership.

Are people still holding back on making decisions about space to the extent that they can or changing their requests for space? 
No, FNB, the anchor tenant, will occupy 160,000 square feet of the Lower Hill tower as their new home. Mid-2021 is looking up, so we have not been short of prospect tenants that also want to take space in this next-generation, smart-building experience.

On Cultural Legacy
Honor and Repair
Written by Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis, Lower Hill Historical Consultant

It’s time to tell a new story about Pittsburgh and of this land, the Lower Hill District, in particular. In 1829, a small set of families of Black people settled upon the Hill. At the time, it was known as Prospect Hill, Little Hayti and Arthursburg. With an attractive settlement with a good view, they had found a sweet spot. These sets of families were free and many were abolitionists, who became prominent members of the Underground Railroad. Some years later, [White families] began to settle in the area, as they found it desirable and many of them joined in as abolitionists.  
During the late 19th century, immigrants began flowing into what we now know to be the Lower Hill. Upon exiting the train station, they came—the Irish, the Italian, the Jewish, the Russian, the Black Freedmen who became known as African Americans. They all came and settled upon a new life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—and in the Lower Hill. Soon, its seams were bursting and there was urban decay but still hopeful people making the best of the area. After World War II, there were many discussions by the federal government to renew American cities and engage in what we now know to be “urban renewal.” Pittsburgh was the first to be chosen and the Urban Redevelopment Authority was created in order to implement the program and receive the federal funds. Unfortunately, the plans that were made only partially came into fruition and the construction of the Crosstown Highway severed the physical connection between the Historic Hill District and the downtown. Disappointment and protests ensued. Further regional economic decline led to decades of dis-investment.

The area around the former Civic Arena which we call “the 28 acres” remained a series of parking lots and only one high-rise was created out of the many that were designed for the site. While there were many inspiring activities that took place in the Civic Arena, much of the rest of the area was left undeveloped, unfinished and a major disappointment for the next 60+ years. Pittsburgh’s first experiment at urban redevelopment largely failed everyone and African Americans the most. To date, it has remained contested space and the redevelopment potential of the Lower Hill has not been realized.
Enter The Buccini Pollin Group’s historic team.
It was a wonderful experience to help design the CAP Park above the Crosstown Highway and we are working to expand many of the aspects behind the design. As an extension of the CAP Park, the FNB Tower Open Space means that you get to walk up or down Wylie Avenue and explore a gorgeous landscape that is meant to inspire you from top to bottom. There will never just be one thing happening in the Open Space or in the Park. We envision arts entrepreneurs selling their wares, performing onstage, showcasing their designs and knowing that their pieces are sitting comfortably in the offices, hotel rooms and lobbies being created by the development team. We envision some of the best food being offered in food trucks, at retail kiosks, in the food hall and more permanent spaces. The cultural vibrancy of the Open Space depends upon the people who are invited and sustained. And you are invited.

For the last 60 years, the 28 acres has been contested space. Let's make it a celebrated space. It is time for us to write a new chapter of Pittsburgh that tells the progressive history of its past, as well as its future. Let us move forward with a new vision that honors and repairs the past, creates a better design for the future and forges a new path of shared prosperity expressed with this historic partnership.
Open Space Planning Advancing
The vision for the Lower Hill Open Space is built around incorporating best urban design principles into the creation of vibrant public spaces. The development teams commitments to the community can be clearly seen in the focus on revitalizing Wylie Avenue into a critical pedestrian, recreation and commercial corridor that re-connects the downtown and the Historic Hill District. As part of its Final Land Development Plan for City Planning, the team has submitted a culturally responsive and community-focused public space plan.
The Open Space framework builds on prior activation studies and community planning efforts and creates connectivity of the various linear parks along Wylie Avenue in a cohesive and complementary public open space network. That connectivity is expressed by a grouping of multi-million dollar parklets and accessible open spaces along Wylie Avenue that stitch seamlessly into the Greater Hill District neighborhood and – across the new CAP Park – into downtown. The project will move forward with an integration of public aspirations, anchor tenant and development team requirements, and site issues related to topography, accessibility, storm-water management and infrastructure.
The development team is advancing the first portion of the open space plan to compliment the FNB Financial Center Mixed-Use Project. The initial open space design effort is being led by Gensler and supported by UpStudio Landscapes a local WBE Landscape Architecture firm. Engagement, design guidelines, programming, cultural and historic elements critical to the successful design are being led by BPG's, Bomani Howze and supported by advisor’s Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis and Hill District architect Lakeisha Byrd of Communion LLC.

Programming, post-construction operations and ongoing maintenance will become the responsibility of the Lower Hill Conservancy, a non-profit owner's association.
Seeking Hill District Residents!
Introduction to the Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program
Rolling Admission

The Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania is now recruiting students for its Introduction to the Construction Trades pre-apprenticeship program!

This paid training opportunity sets students up for long-term careers in a constantly evolving industry that pays family-sustaining wages.

More details can be found at The Builders Guild Website.

Interested parties should contact Chaquita Barnett at Cbarnett@buildersguild.org or 412-532-1733
Estimating and Bidding Workshop - Riverside Center for Innovation

The Riverside Center for Innovation is partnering with CCAC to hold a workshop series for MWDBE construction firms that need assistance with estimating, bidding and blueprint reading. Workshops will take place on the following Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM:

  • March 20, 2021
  • March 27, 2021
  • April 3, 2021

You MUST have basic construction skills for these workshops.

For questions, contact Juan Garrett of Riverside Center for Innovation at jg@riversideforinnovation.com.

Do you have questions about the Lower Hill Redevelopment? Send them to lowerhillopportunites@bpgroup.net. Your question may just end up on the next newsletter!
Questions, Comments or Content Suggestions? Send us your feedback at LowerHillOpportunities@bpgroup.net. We will do our best to answer quickly and accurately. Your question may just be featured in our next newsletter!