How A Pittsburgh School, Empty For 30 Years, Became Home To Electronics Firm

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hays School had been empty for 30 years when Bob Dagostino drove by one morning and saw the “For Sale” sign. He copied the number and called for a tour. At the time, his electronics business Downtown was outgrowing its third location.

“At our other place, [employees] sat an arm’s length apart,” said Chuck Roberts, vice president of Dagostino Electronic Services. “Bob brought me in look at the school and I said, ‘Why don’t we get a renovated space?’ and he said, ‘No, no, this is our headquarters.’ He had a vision.”

It often takes vision to remake a century-old school. Pittsburgh has scores of them, some in private hands, some long vacant, several converted into apartments and 19 still to be sold. Pittsburgh Public Schools has contracted with Fourth River Development to sell them.

The former Schenley High School in North Oakland sold last year for $5.2 million and is slated for luxury housing. McCleary School in Upper Lawrenceville sold last year for $410,000 to a residential developer. Morningside School has been approved for sale to the Urban Redevelopment Authority for $275,000, also for housing; negotiations are underway “as we speak,” said Patrick Morosetti, sales and leasing manager for Fourth River Development.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/02/24/How-Pittsburgh-school-empty-for-30-years-became-home-to-electronics-firm/stories/201402240060#ixzz2uGDkAqAk

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Tech Boom In Pittsburgh Gives Rise To Co-Work Spaces

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Revv Oakland founder Mark Mussolino approached Nathan Schwartz of Oakland Real Estate five years ago with a plan to make their community the city’s next startup hub, he happened to water a seed planted years earlier during visits to the West Coast.

During Mr. Schwartz’s time in Palo Alto, Calif., during the early 2000s, he was impressed by the buzzing small business district found on University Avenue, a boulevard running through Stanford University’s campus. Hiding among the businesses — mostly tech-driven startups run by Stanford students — was one tiny office with a small blue and white sign advertising a company called “The Facebook.”

Between the university brain trust in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood and the booming demand from the region’s tech startups for innovative work spaces, Mr. Mussolino said it was easy for Mr. Schwartz to see the potential of discovering the next Facebook atop a Forbes Avenue storefront.

After the Schwartz family decided to use the Meyran Avenue space that formerly housed new-age smoke shop Tela Ropa in 2011, Revv Oakland — a 5,000-square-foot co-working community perched above a beauty supply store and Peace, Love & Little Donuts — was born.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/11/10/Pittsburghs-tech-boom-gives-rise-to-co-work-spaces/stories/201311100084#ixzz2kIxGfOn3

Hazelwood Residents Get Involved In Changes

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in ...

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finding money isn’t the only challenge to rebuilding neglected neighborhoods. At the grass-roots level, it may be hard to get people to open their doors.

But a knot of community census takers in Hazelwood is encouraged.

“We haven’t had to convince many people,” said Shavonne Lowry, a 2009 graduate of Slippery Rock University and one of eight census takers. “I was surprised how many people wanted to talk.”

More than 200 people have answered the door so far for a census designed specifically to glean residents’ attitudes about the neighborhood, its needs and its assets. The census is part of a community strategy that emerged from a three-year Heinz Endowments commitment that goes beyond its investment in the former LTV site on the Monongahela River — the city’s last brownfield, a 178-acre, $12 million mixed-use redevelopment site renamed Almono. It is the property of several foundations that include the Heinz Endowments.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/hazelwood-residents-get-involved-in-changes-708468/#ixzz2iMt09Np0

Developers Plan $30 Million Makeover Along Second Avenue In Hazelwood

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A largely vacant stretch of Second Avenue in Hazelwood would be filled with music, youth programming, and commercial and residential space as part of a proposed makeover designed to complement the $1 billion former LTV coke works redevelopment.

Under the plan, the vacant Spahr Building, which was a former G. C. Murphy’s store, would be transformed into programming and performance space for Hazelwood’s faith-based Center of Life organization.

ACTION-Housing Inc. and Washington, D.C.-based Telesis Corp. are partnering on the proposed redevelopment, which also would include an additional 1.5 acres of vacant land or structures besides the Spahr Building, all in the 4800 block of Second Avenue.

City Urban Redevelopment Authority board members are expected to vote Thursday on whether to begin up to 18 months of exclusive negotiations with ACTION-Housing and Telesis for the sale of the properties needed for the projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/developers-plan-30m-hazelwood-makeover-706824/#ixzz2hHZveyXq

Wheel Mill: One Man’s Vision Turns Pittsburgh Warehouse Into Indoor Bike Park

This place is so new, you can smell it. Walk into the low-slung warehouse on Hamilton Avenue in Homewood, and the effect is immediate: Fresh-cut lumber, a little bit of sweat, a flash of motion — hey, did that kid just pop a wheelie?

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhoo...

Locator map with the Homewood West neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year ago, this building was stuffed with city equipment and impounded cars, 80,000 square feet of space that officials never quite knew how to handle.

Where Harry Geyer is standing?  That’s where the Pittsburgh Public Works Department used to dump their junk, something the 40-year-old has to laugh about now, surrounded by the loops and whorls of his creation.

This is the Wheel Mill, a massive indoor bike park the Lawrenceville entrepreneur has built almost single-handedly, a testament to his twin loves of mountain biking and sustainable construction that he hopes will resonate with the city’s cyclists.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/wheel-mill-one-mans-vision-turns-homewood-warehouse-into-indoor-bike-park-688207/#ixzz2TqmN5KRG

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority Approves Hazelwood Tax Increment Financing Plans

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board got the ball rolling Thursday for the largest piece of tax increment financing in the city’s history — an $80 million to $90 million package that would fund roads, utilities, parks and other public improvements for a proposed $900 million office and residential development in Hazelwood.

While URA board members unanimously approved preliminary plans for the funding in Hazelwood, some members criticized city council for holding up a $50 million TIF for a proposed $400 million to $500 million Buncher Co. development in the Strip District and wondered whether the Hazelwood package would suffer a similar fate.

The TIF must be approved by the city, the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny County.

“This is the beginning of a very long process,” said URA board member Jim Ferlo, a Democratic state senator from Highland Park.  “There are going to be a lot of hurdles, if not some significant roadblocks.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/ura-approves-hazelwood-tif-plans-669989/#ixzz2Hgyhruih