Allegheny Land Trust

More affordable housing could be coming to Pittsburgh after the Allegheny Land Trust received a $200,000 donation from The Heinz Endowments to test the feasibility of a community land bank.

The community land bank would make housing about 25% cheaper by only selling the house on the property, and not the land. Right now the Trust is focusing on the Larimer neighborhood.

$40,000 dollars will go to researching, and the rest of the money will be used to set up the community land bank.

The Allegheny Land Trust wants a 30-acre chunk of land in Sewickley, and a new grant might help obtain it.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has provided a $250,000 grant to acquire the green space along Waterworks Road.

“It’s primarily going to be used for wildlife habitat, water interception, absorption and the scenic character of the borough and surrounding boroughs around Sewickley,” said Chris Beichner, Land Trust CEO and president.

After pursuing buying the Pittsburgh Cut Flower (PCF) property for three years, the Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) has learned the land is no longer for sale.

The 180 acres in Richland Township were developed in 1922 by the then Company President Fred Burki. The dozens of greenhouses on the property grew 2.5 million roses every year for about 100 years.

The Allegheny Land Trust has protected more than 1,500 acres of land in Allegheny and Washington counties, but it’s not cheap. That’s why it was awarded a $110,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Chris Beichner, ALT executive director, said the money from the grant will go toward general operations.

The Allegheny Land Trust is under contract to purchase 180 acres in Richland Township — land formerly owned by the Pittsburgh Cut Flower company but unused for the past 20 years.  

There are about 10 acres of dilapidated greenhouses and other structures on the property. Some may be reused, but most will be removed.  

Chris Beichner, Allegheny Land Trust's executive director, expects the sale to go through this summer if further environmental testing indicates the land can be made safe for public use.