Lower Hill
News & Updates
Spring 2020 | Bulletin 2
Greetings from the Lower Hill development team. We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 developments and the unprecedented public response. As recommended by the CDC and World Health Organization, in order to ensure the safety of all stakeholders, and do our part to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have taken our development efforts virtual.

While our physical office may be temporarily closed, WE ARE STILL OPEN, the project is advancing, and we look forward to connecting with you.

Accordingly, our next community meeting has been prerecorded virtually and is posted online for you to review when convenient.   The prerecorded presentation—along with several profiles on the project in this newsletter—combine to provide a summary of current development and inclusive procurement efforts.
Watch The Lower Hill Update and Submit Your Questions
Learn about recent progress on the Lower Hill – especially on efforts to develop a new headquarters for our commercial anchor, Pittsburgh-based FNB Corporation.
After viewing the virtual presentation, submit your questions using the link below by 11:59 PM Sunday, April 5, 2020.* Answers to questions will be provided in the upcoming newsletter.

*In light of the current circumstances, it was decided that the submittal of questions be extended from April 3rd, 2020, to April 5th, 2020.
FNB Financial Center: Vision and Community Impact
The Development
The FNB Financial Center on block G1 is a critical component for the Lower Hill redevelopment and will be a signature project for the region. The development team has signed a lease with FNB Corporation, a publicly traded financial institution for 165,000 square feet of commercial space and prominent tower naming rights. On March 6, 2020, the development team filed a Take Down Notice with the URA and SEA to advance planning for this transformational project, which is to be developed at the corner of Washington Place and Bedford Avenue. 
FNB is making a long-term commitment to the Lower Hill project and, as one of its largest employers, to the city of Pittsburgh. This commitment is predicated on the successful completion of the related mixed-use project on Block E that includes public parking infrastructure. Accordingly, the G1 project will be developed in conjunction with Block E. Together, the projects represent over $300 million of investment and will serve as catalysts for future development and partnerships across the Greater Hill District.

The FNB Financial Center will be developed and constructed in partnership with the Greater Hill District community and will be consistent with the approved Land Development Plan and with the established goals for community participation identified in the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan (CCIP). The CCIP was developed with extensive community input and participation, thereby establishing the framework for realizing the Lower Hill redevelopment project impact to the community and providing an outline for community engagement. A summary of the project specific M/WBE goals, local workforce objectives, wealth building initiatives and Reinvestment Fund capital infusion can be found in the feature below: Community Engagement and Impact.
The project promotes many of the goals of the CCIP and does so in a substantial manner. The redevelopment of Block G1 will fund economic development priorities across the Greater Hill District by sharing an equal portion of its 10-year LERTA tax abatement benefit and create opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises to participate in the pre-development, construction and operation of the mixed-use building.

These opportunities include a Reinvestment Fund that will stimulate off-site commercial development and provide investment in support of affordable housing / home ownership in the Greater Hill District. Up to $7.5 million will seed the Hill District Reinvestment fund boosting the combined projected total between the related Block G1 and Block E projects to over $12 million.

In addition, the developer and its contractors plan to achieve approximately 45% participation in all contracted work by M/WBE firms with extensive capacity-building and business development resources made available to interested firms.

Tower construction will also begin the development of approximately 2.5 acres of Public Open Space along lower Wylie Avenue with retail kiosks and programmable assembly areas.

Additional investments by the development team and anchor tenant FNB include:
  • Workforce development/capacity building in coordination with Partner4Work
  • Proposed partnership with the Hill District Federal Credit Union and FNB will assist with overall wealth-building goals by offering financial literacy programs throughout the Greater Hill District.
  • FNB will play a leading role in monetizing the tax abatements so that funding for economic development priorities is available when the project breaks ground as opposed to accumulating over a 10-year period.
The Vision
As envisioned by Gensler, a worldwide leader in planning and architecture, the FNB Financial Center anchors this vibrant community while establishing a new presence on the city’s skyline. Its glassy form is carefully sculpted to reflect the unique setting of this highly visible, easily accessible location.

An expression of crisp verticality dominates the design, visually bridging to nearby skyscrapers and downtown landmarks, while shifts in massing effortlessly transition to the lesser-scale character of the adjacent development and then to the neighborhood. The steps in form create opportunities for outdoor terraces, connecting commercial tenants to the activity of the park and retail space below. 
Meet The Gensler Team - Vaki, Elaine and Don
Vaki Mawema,

As Co-Managing Director of Gensler Baltimore, Vaki has created a team-based design culture that embodies creative passion, innovation and rigor. His work focuses on experiential, branded environments for retail centers, mixed-use, hospitality and food and beverage projects. Vaki is well-known within the commercial real estate industry as an expert and thought leader in retail center and mixed use design as well as business leadership. His was named one of the Washington Business Journal's 40 under 40 business leaders in 2016. Vaki has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Newschool of Architecture and Design.
Elaine Asal
Design Strategist

A connector, catalyst, instigator and communicator, Elaine believes solutions to the wickedest problems come in many forms, and often from the most unexpected places. Trained as an architect, Elaine’s approach to problem solving is driven by balancing visionary ideals with realistic measures. She believes that positive impact comes from thoughtful, informed and tangible solutions, achieved when passionate people come together around a shared narrative and common goals. She is a visual communicator that excels at organizational development, innovation process and community engagement.
Donald Ghent,
With a knack for untangling complex technical problems, Don is Gensler’s reigning authority on technical design and delivery issues. As a Design Leader, he supports all of Gensler’s practice areas and works to overcome the logistical hurdles on Gensler’s largest projects. His expertise further extends to the areas of secure facility design and fast-track delivery methods, such as design build. This unique skill set has led Gensler to also tap him to serve as a Southeast Region Technical Director and a Leader of the Government and Tall Buildings Practice Areas. A Registered Architect, Don is also a member of the Design Build Institute of America, Construction Specifications Institute and Construction Management Association of America. He holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Catholic University of America.
Live Nation Announcement
Live Nation Entertainment  will run the 6,600 seat music venue on the former Civic Arena site, as part of the $120 million mixed-use development in the Lower Hill developed by the Penguins and   The Buccini/Pollin Group .

The 90,000-square-foot design will accommodate shows of various sizes and include an enclosed area for club and theater performances. The new venue will also feature an outdoor lawn and will be built atop an 850-space garage at Wylie Avenue and Logan Street.

“Ever since we established our full-time office in Pittsburgh, we’ve been focused on adding a music venue within the urban core of the city,” says Tom Loudermilk, president of Live Nation Pittsburgh.

“Live Nation’s 20-year commitment to this project will serve as the second entertainment anchor, along with PPG Paints Arena, and bring this transformational project one step closer to fulfilling its vision,” said Chris Buccini, co-president of The Buccini/Pollin Group.

BPG Sponsors The 19th Annual Conference for M/WDBEs
BPG was a proud sponsor of The 19th Annual Conference for Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, March 5th at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, PA. The annual conference is run by the MWDBE Governmental Committee, whose mission is to strengthen economic opportunities for Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. 

One of the highlights of the event was a panel discussing “Major Construction Projects in Pittsburgh.”  BPGS Construction ’s Matt Corace (pictured far right) and Intergen's Bomani Howze spoke as part of the panel, sharing updates for the Lower Hill redevelopment and answering questions from attendees related to MWDBE inclusion. As the commercial developer for the Lower Hill project in Pittsburgh, BPG is working closely with community members and civic leaders to maximize the inclusion of local and minority-owned businesses.

Interested in Lower Hill redevelopment opportunities?

Stay tuned for upcoming meeting announcements, news and updates from the Lower Hill redevelopment team and community partners. We recognize that these are extraordinary times and thank you for your understanding as we take precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy!
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!