Photo by Justin Criado

Civic leaders gathered for the official unveiling of recently renovated historic property, which includes two new storefronts and apartments, along East Ohio Street in Historic Deutschtown Thursday, Aug. 6.

By Justin Criado

A blue tarp hid a newly finished East Ohio Street property temporarily as civic leaders, including Mayor Bill Peduto and Councilwoman Darlene Harris, undressed the storefronts at 431 and 433 with a quick pull.

“We have gems throughout the city,” Peduto said referring to Historic Deutschtown’s East Ohio Street business district. “Just remarkable business districts unlike other cities that took a wrecking ball to them.”

The completed property feature stores in the Allegheny City Historical Gallery and The Farmer’s Daughter floral shop on the first floors with apartments for rent above.

“You wonder why a little building like this matters,” Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference (NSLC), said.  “Well, buildings like this are the heart and soul of our neighborhood business districts. They create opportunity for new businesses. They’re part of the vitality and architecture of these old historic districts.”

The NSLC worked with the Buhl Foundation, the Historic Deutschtown Development Corp and Northside Community Development Fund, which provided financial assistance, in restoring the the two-story, 3,121-square-foot brick building from the early 1870s.

Barbara Burns, who owns the Sweet Time Café next door to the gallery and serves as the Historic Deutschtown Development Corp. president, is a Northside lifer and loves to see entrepreneurs who share who same vision of revitalization.

“We want to bring back to this community quality spaces,” Burns said. “When I have neighbors that share the same commitment that I do, that’s a home run.”

Like Burns, Councilwoman Harris is another lifelong Northside resident, recalling times from her childhood when East Ohio Street was the place to shop.

“This was the only place we shopped,” Harris said. “…One by one (the businesses) are coming back.”

The Farmer’s Daughter filled the floral shop gap when it opened earlier this summer. While the historic gallery has hosted events like book signings and live music the space will hold an official grand opening on Aug. 15.

DSC_1067Photo by Justin Criado

From left to right: Fred Thieman, Buhl Foundation president; Mayor Bill Peduto; Barbara Burns, Historic Deutschtown Development Corp. president and Sweet Time Cafe owner; NSLC executive director Mark Fatla; and Councilwoman Darlene Harris standing in front of the large blue tarp before for the official unveiling of recently renovated historic property, which includes two new storefronts and apartments, along East Ohio Street in Historic Deutschtown Thursday, Aug. 6.