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Three projects are filling vacant lots and empty storefronts in the Central Northside

In 2010 the Central Northside Neighborhood Committee (CNNC) released their vision for the community: to transform vacant lots and empty storefronts by filling them with thriving individuals, commerce, and families of all kinds. Three projects on Federal Street are helping that organization meet its ambitious goal.

The latest phase of the Federal Hill housing development is near complete, and the first tenants have already moved in. The $15 million initiative is a collaboration between S & A Homes, CNNC, and the URA. The current phase brings 12 new townhomes to the intersection of Alpine and Federal Streets. Houses range in seize between 1,400 to 2,300-square-feet, and all but two are sold.

Closer to North Avenue, developer Bill Barron has begun renovating the former Toula’s restaurant building at 1108 Federal Street. This is his third project on the same block, where Barron has transformed two other dilapidated buildings into successful spaces for commerce.

Barron’s previous two renovations culminated in leases with Crazy Mocha and the Deli on North, and two apartments, developments that have greatly improved this important intersection and gateway to the Central Northside.

And for the current project on Federal, Barron already has a tenant lined-up: Derek Burnell, co-owner of Round Corner Cantina, is planning a take-out Mexican restaurant for the first floor.  Remodeling work is scheduled to be complete by early summer, and the second floor will be renovated as a one-bedroom apartment.

And finally, stabilization work has begun on two Federal Street properties in the Garden Theater block, the long-awaited redevelopment project that supporters hope will be a cornerstone for the neighborhood.

As reported in November of last year, developer Wayne Zukin has letters of intent from three Pittsburgh restaurants to develop new entertainment concepts for the Northside neighborhood.

Chris D’Addario, president of CNNC, says that people are resoundingly happy to see working begin on that block.

“To know that that anchor of our neighborhood is going to be an area that’s going to draw people, instead of scare people, is quite exciting to all that live here,” D’Addario says.

Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Bill Barron; Andy Haines, S & A Homes, Chris D’Addario
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