When the UPMC Braddock hospital was demolished beginning last year, the community was left with a huge gap in the center of the financially woebegone town.
On Wednesday, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato detailed a plan to fill in that void with an office building, housing, and a 20,000-square-foot park.
Drafted with input from Braddock's elected officials, the $20.3 million dollar plan would be carried out over the next two years, with a tentative completion date of late 2013.
Onorato said that a $6.6 million, 26,000-square-foot office building would be the centerpiece of the property, with room to accomodate several potential tenants.
"Community college could possibly go there, the Health Department, Human Services, other activities that the county has in the area that could ultimately get in this building," said Onorato. "There will be other room for other retail and commercial activities. This is a building that will also have a primary care health service."
The primary care health service would fill a major need in the town. After the hospital's closure, a free clinic moved into Braddock, but Borough Councilman Jesse Brown said that the community needs more.
"The primary care center right now does not provide the needs that the community needs in Braddock," said Brown.
In terms of housing, the plan would install 24 rental units and 11 single-family townhomes for sale, at a total cost of $12 million. The office building would be constructed first, followed by the rental homes, and lastly the townhomes.
As for funding, UPMC will pay $3 million, to be matched by a $3 million redevelopment grant from the state. In addition, the project will receive an $8 million state tax credit and $1.2 million in private investment. The remaining cost of $5.1 million will be divvied between Allegheny County and the federal government.
"While we're investing some tax dollars here, remember what was here. This was a site that didn't pay any taxes," said Onorato. "This is going to be privately owned, this site. So, every building that we've talked about, and these phases, are all going to be paying property taxes. So, there's a long-term benefit to Braddock here."
Onorato said that the office building would ultimately provide long-term employment for Braddock residents, and the construction work would create the equivalent of 80 full-time jobs.
Since Onorato will be leaving his office in January, he said that he's made certain that incoming County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will give the project the same priority that he has.