Alan Razak Leads ULI Team to Explore Redevelopment in the East End of Pittsburgh

AthenianRazak Principal Alan Razak chaired an Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel which examined the prospects for redevelopment in the East End of Pittsburgh. The panel included real estate industry experts from across the United States.

In a presentation of the panel’s findings and recommendations to Pittsburgh City Council last week, Alan spoke about the opportunities in the East End: “All of them revolve around issues of maintaining the character of the community — the essential character of the communities — while trying to attain affordability, both of housing stock and of business stock, and social equity in an environment where there’s a lot changing, and changing fairly quickly.”

The key recommendations from the ULI panel include:

  • ▪ Complete a city-wide comprehensive land use plan to make neighborhood planning easier across the city.
  • ▪ Provide some property tax relief to existing homeowners through programs like Philadelphia’s homestead exemption and LOOP program.
  • ▪ Engage and coordinate with anchor institutions and the philanthropic community.
  • ▪ Combat perceptions/transcend boundaries between neighborhoods, which are often arbitrary and not meaningful to newcomers.
  • ▪ In terms of tackling neighborhood revitalization, take a long-term view and work west to east.
  • ▪ To achieve the target of 1/3 Affordable, 1/3 Workforce and 1/3 Market rate housing, and to avoid further concentrating lower income populations, limit additional low income units throughout the East End.
  • ▪ Engage current residents by extending excellent planning and community participation efforts already used in Homewood.
  • ▪ Establish the HELP Initiative as a cross-neighborhood Community Development Corporation, separate from East Liberty Development, Inc., but engaging ELDI as a technical advisor. Provide financial stability and wherewithal through Pittsburgh URA.

Following the panel’s presentation, ULI prepares a full report of the findings and recommendations, which usually follows a few weeks later.

Video of the panel’s presentation to Pittsburgh City Council is posted here.