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Above: The nail pounding ceremony on East Ohio Street. (Photo by Kaitlin Balmert).
The estimated 50,000 drivers who pass 632 E. Ohio St. each day will notice some rapid changes in the highly visible Northside real estate in the coming months.
On Thursday, the Northside Leadership Conference and the Historic Deutschtown Development Corporation marked the start of the Deutschtown Gateway Project with a nail pounding ceremony on the East Ohio Street site.
The Deutschtown Gateway Project plans to improve the E. Ohio Street entrance to Historic Deutschtown by renovating several properties in the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of E. Ohio Street.
“This gateway restoration project will continue driving the upward investment trend to his wonderful historic neighborhood and business district. With the help of our partners, we will be transforming this structure back to its historic grandeur – a shining anchor to our community, this major crossroad and the entire Northside,” said HDDC President Barbara Burns.
The first phase of the project is the complete restoration of the façade of the Victorian-era commercial building at 632 East Ohio Street, including saving the colored art glass windows that were hidden for decades behind earlier remodeling. Grace Period, a non-predatory lender, occupies the building.
“That’s a great statement for where East Ohio Street is heading,” said Mark Masterson, executive director of the Northside Community Development Fund. “This is an opportunity to link some of the historic buildings with modern offices.
The project also includes renovation and “in-fill” construction at 620-628 E. Ohio St that will add over 35,000 square feet of commercial office space to East Deutschtown.
HDDC owns and will also renovate 431, 433 and 505 E. Ohio St.
Funding has been provided by the Northside Community Development Fund, the Rivers Casino and the Northside Leadership Conference, the Mainstreets program of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the City of Pittsburgh’s Neighborhood Needs Fund for Council District 1 (Council President Darlene Harris) and Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development’s Champion Corridors Program. First National Bank and First Niagara Bank provide funding to NSLC for business district and real estate programs.