Urban Redevelopment Authority

Operation Better Block

Residents of Homewood heard the results of Operation Better Block’s resident-driven land use plan last week.

Demi Kolke, the group's community development manager, said watching the redevelopment boom in nearby neighborhoods like East Liberty made them realize that Homewood could be next. And they wanted to ensure that the community remained involved through the process, as it brings changes to the neighborhood. 

Courtesy: City of Pittsburgh

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority a $1.2 million grant for transit-related development in Uptown.

Development carved through Uptown, Oakland, Downtown and the East End, known to senior city planner Justin Miller as the “EcoInnovation District,” is designed to make more effective use of the city's resources as a key component to its Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is big on innovation. He transformed the city’s Computer Information Systems department into the Department of Innovation and Performance and hired the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer, Debra Lam.

But Lam said that when the mayor’s team started looking around at the most innovative cities in the world, they found that they were also some of the most exclusive.

In an effort to bring down energy usage and cost, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) is planning to upgrade the lighting at five of its parking garages: one at the Pittsburgh Technology Center and four at Southside Works.

The URA and Green Building alliance will allocate $1 million for an upgrade to LED lights. That's after an engineering study showed it would be beneficial.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Thursday voted to terminate a contract with the Buncher Company for possible redevelopment of the Produce Terminal in the Strip District. The URA then voted to negotiate with two separate entities over the next 90 days about possible development.

One of those is McCaffery Interests of Chicago.

Flickr user Allie_Caulfield

When Michael Rubino envisions the future of the Strip District, he sees a grand marketplace at the site of the old Pennsylvania Fruit Auction and Sales building, with a farmer’s market, restaurants, business incubators, Amish craftspeople and closeout vendors.

flickr user BeyondDC

Homewood, once the home of Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse, has had more than its share of economic troubles in recent decades.

According to data available from PGHSNAP, Homewood had a population of nearly 31,000 people in 1940. By 2010, that number had decreased 79 percent to 6,442. In 2009, the median income was just under $20,000, and in 2010, 46 percent of residents were living under the poverty level.

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority is facing massive cuts under Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s proposed 2014 budget.

At a City Council budget hearing on Tuesday, Robert Rubenstein, acting executive director of the URA, said he was disappointed with the proposed budget’s $2.2 million cut to the authority’s budget.

State Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny) doesn’t believe federal investigators will find anything substantial from documents they’ve subpoenaed last week from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

Ferlo currently sits on the board of the URA.

The subpoena comes after board chairman Yarone Zober, and the mayor’s chief of staff, testified Tuesday before a federal grand jury believed to be investigating whether Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is involved in funding irregularities.

Ferlo said he’s not sure what investigators are looking to find.

Mayor's Right-Hand Man Testifies Before Grand Jury

Sep 12, 2013
Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

Last week Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Chief of Staff, Yarone Zober spent more than an hour and half behind closed doors testifying before a grand jury. 

The news follows reports that former Pittsburgh Chief of Police, Nate Harper will plead guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion for diverting funds from unauthorized accounts.  Many believe the federal investigation aims to look into all elements of Mayor Ravenstahl’s personal life.


In her new book Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted Out Cities, Dr. Mindy Fullilove presents a psychiatrist’s views on how to fix the American city. We'll discuss how a public health and well-being approach to urban planning and design can benefit neighborhoods and the people who live in them.

Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI) has been awarded $35 million in tax credits by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to help spur investments in the city’s low-income communities.

The New Markets Tax Credit Program began in 2000 and allows individual corporations and investors to receive a credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making equity investments in Community Development Entities such as the PUI.

Investors can then receive 39 percent of their total investment in credits over seven years.

Rachel R. Grozanick / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is working to snag $9.25 million in state grants for two major new projects in Downtown and the East End, as well as for two smaller developments in Oakland and the West End.

On Tuesday, the URA submitted to city council legislation that would allow the agency to apply for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's budget office. The Corbett administration has already confirmed that the grants will be awarded if the enabling legislation passes council.