Hill District Gets New Lease on Life

By Bauder, Bob | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 22, 2013 | Go to article overview
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Hill District Gets New Lease on Life


Bauder, Bob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Development is bringing changes that promise to help Pittsburgh's Hill District become a thriving neighborhood again, say community leaders and city officials.

About $93 million worth of construction is under way, and developers plan more than $30 million in other work this year.

The investments could transform the Hill, which for years has suffered unintended side effects of 20th century urban renewal. The goal is to make it a diverse neighborhood again, where families and commerce can thrive, said Marimba Milliones, executive director of Hill Community Development Corp.

"I think the Hill District will be a destination," said Milliones, 37, a lifelong resident of the Hill, a center of black culture in Pittsburgh until the 1960s. "We'll see home ownership. We'll see vacant parcels filled in with market-rate housing with affordable rates.

"It will be that place you go to that you can't find anywhere else. You'll go for the music, food and the unique business opportunities that exist."

Most of the work under way in the Hill is residential construction: the $180 million federally funded redevelopment of the former Addison Terrace public housing complex, and several smaller projects. Rounding that out is a long-awaited grocery store, a Shop 'n Save on Centre Avenue, costing $11.5 million and scheduled to open by mid-summer.

Residents say they're happy to see improvement after decades of decay since the wrecking ball razed homes and businesses to make way for the now-demolished Civic Arena.

"Time brings on a change, and I think we're ready for a change," said Effie Williams, 72.

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