Stay up-to-date on what’s coming, going, and changing in the Northside business community with The Northside Chronicle’s monthly Northside Business Briefs. This month’s briefs feature Urban Impact Foundation, The Pittsburgh Project, J R’s Bar, and two community groups doing good in the neighborhood.
Photo: Mayor Gainey joins community leaders and business owners in celebratory ribbon cutting at the Five Points Project in Observatory Hill. Courtesy of Councilman Wilson’s office.
By Lauren Stauffer
Urban Impact Foundation and The Pittsburgh Project announce facilities purchase
Urban Impact Foundation announced in a press release the purchase of two facilities on the campus of The Pittsburgh Project located at 2801 N. Charles St.
The agreement includes the school building and the dormitory. The sale closed in late May and included each ministry’s mutual dedication and commitment to one another, the North Side, and the long-term sustainability of each organization as they work together to affect positive outcomes in the community. The Pittsburgh Project signed a multi-year lease retaining its presence in the school building and will continue to operate programming for the neighborhood, which were essential components of the agreement.
“The Pittsburgh Project team is excited to continue to work alongside Urban Impact in service of the young people and families of the North Side,” stated Rick Mason, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Project.
Urban Impact will now have a central location for its staff and additional program space. Both aspects were critical needs for the organization. Pastor Ed Glover, Founder and President of Urban Impact, commented, “we are delighted to have this deal with The Pittsburgh Project as it reflects an exciting new chapter in both our ministries. The N. Charles St. facilities will augment our other program sites on the North Side including Allegheny Center Alliance Church, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Provident Charter School, and many of our beautiful city parks.”
URA’s Neighborhood Initiative Fund awards grant for Brighton Heights green space development
On Thursday, July 14, the URA Board approved a grant for placemaking projects, which included the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation’s St. John’s Green Space:
“URA BOARD RESOLVES: That a grant to Brighton Heights Citizens Federation (BHCF), to help unlock economic and placemaking potential within neighborhood commercial corridors, and support vision-to-action community investment strategies that build an equitable Pittsburgh in the amount not to exceed 84,305, payable from the Neighborhood Initiative Fund (NIF) is hereby approved..[.]” https://www.ura.org/news/ura-to-award-seven-neighborhood-initiatives-fund-grants
Since 2011, BHCF has worked with the URA, Northside Leadership Conference, residents, city officials, environmental consultants, and other local groups to acquire and revitalize the vacant lot.
J R’s Bar closes its doors
A well-known local bar at 502 E Ohio St., J R’s Bar, said goodbye to loyal patrons on Saturday, July 13 for their last calls.
Since the early 1980’s, the bar has had a prominent presence on Historic Deutschtown’s main street. The business was purchased from the original owners in 2010, according to state and county real estate records. Recent reviews on the business’ Google profile, and the unofficial Facebook page for J R’s Bar, reflect that a majority of customers enjoyed their memories of friendly bartenders, good food, entertaining DJs, and ‘old-school’ bar vibe.
Five Points Revitalization Project complete
Observatory Hill Development Corporation celebrated the Perrysville Avenue business corridor’s transformation with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Monday, June 27.
Renovations at 3917 – 3925 Perrysville Avenue included four commercial spaces and six apartments as part of a $1.8 million investment. According to a press release from Observatory Hill Development Corporation (OHDC), the upstairs apartments will be rented as affordable with the assistance of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Rental Gap program, and one ground floor commercial space remains available for lease.
Five Points is Observatory Hill’s main business district and one part of a multi-phase revitalization underway. On a nearby street, six residential homes are currently under construction for Bonvue Street Phase Two. Both market and affordable housing rates are offered to stabilize the neighborhood’s housing stock.
Additionally, OHDC became the conservator in early 2019 of an abandoned church and apartment building at 3930 and 3936 Perrysville Ave., adjacent from the commercial buildings in the business district. Repairs are also currently underway, including building a new roof after fire and water damage several years ago and restoring the façade, including several crumbling balconies.
The St. John’s Green Space site, a roughly 3 acre lot on McClure Ave. in Brighton Heights. According to groundedPGH, a non-profit that organizes community programming addressing vacant lots, the site contains healthy wooded areas, meadows, and the last remains of foundation for the former hospital buildings.