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prepared for the Urban Redevelopment Authority Residents of Central Northside & Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle by LeTaj Tinker & Ashlie Bird UDREAM Fellows Carnegie Mellon University 2013

contents Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle 4 Acknowledgements 5 Foreword 7 History 17 Analysis Of Urban Fabric 19 Diagrams 21 Vacant Lot Strategies 33 Sustainable Design 43 Conservation District 55 URA Programs 60 References & Resources 63


R. DANIEL LAVELLE Councilman, City of Pittsburgh-District 6 Chair, Land Use & Economic Development                              510 City-County Building 412-255-2134

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219 Fax: 412-255-0737

acknowledgements Much appreciation and gratitude is extended to the residents and participants of the community meeting that was held; and for your continued enthusiasm and interest in the implementation of the Central Northside Toolkit.

Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Office of Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, District 6 Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

Residents of Central Northside


Supporters Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh LeTaj Tinker Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Ashlie Bird Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Karen Abrams Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Emily Mitchell Design Center of Pittsburgh Chris Koch Design Center of Pittsburgh LaVerne Peakes Design Center of Pittsburgh Thor Erickson Queen Village Neighbors Association Mike Hauptmann 5

foreword The Cental Northside Neighborhood Toolkit was produced for the office of Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle and the residents of the Upper Central Northside Neighborhood, specifically the area north of Jacksonia Street. The toolkit will assist the residents in producing a more vibrant, aesthetically pleasing and culturally rich neighborhood. It includes recommendations for defining and preserving the character of the community’s historic significance. Additionally, this document addresses existing and new construction and provides revitalization and activation strategies. This toolkit may serve as guidelines for the pending designation of the area as a Conservation District. This toolkit suggests guidelines, however, they should not be used as the official or legal resource for new development.   


central northside planning process Several Planning efforts have been made focusing on the Central Northside neighborhood and its redevelopment. These plans have addressed the development of green spaces, vacant lots, and infill housing. The Central Northside Neighborhood Toolkit looks specifically at the area north of Jacksonia Street’s current urban fabric and provides an analysis as to what defines the character of the area. It provides suggestions as to how vacant lots can be repurposed and it provides examples as to how the existing parking structure can be improved. Street elements such as lighting, signage, and various streetscape improvements will be addressed through various visualizations. The majority of these visualizations will be shown through examples in an area whose parameter extend from Arch Street to Saturn Way, from north to south, and will include Jacksonia, Carrington, and Jefferson Streets.


central northside pittsburgh, pa


aerial map


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history The Central Northside neighborhood, located in Pittsburgh, has a rich history which makes it one of the city’s oldest and most revered neighborhoods. A diverse community of old and new residents, it is centrally located just north of Downtown, and is surrounded by many of Pittsburgh’s entertainment and cultural facilities. The area was originally a part of the independent City of Allegheny, comprised of a series of neighborhoods built close by the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers, and in the valleys and on the hilltops rising quickly from the river flats. Industry stayed close by the rivers and in the Spring Garden Valley which prompted the construction of a canal in 1826. It almost paralleled the river along Canal Street and the current North Shore railroad route below East Allegheny and Allegheny Center. The neighborhood lies adjacent to the City of Pittsburgh’s oldest park, Allegheny Commons, which included area that once was “common grounds,” used as grazing lands for the original Allegheny City. Laid out in the mid-19th century, it consists of West Park, bordered by Brighton Road and Ridge Avenue, North Commons/North Park, running south of North Avenue and East Commons or East Park, bounded by Cedar Avenue and the Allegheny General Hospital. Due to redevelopment and the construction of highways, a majority of the industrial buildings and large amounts of housing stock no longer stand, leaving Old Allegheny City subdivided. One of the more popular areas of the neighborhood is The Mexican War Streets. The historic district was laid out in 1848 by General William Robinson, Jr., who had just returned from service in the Mexican-American War. The community’s streets carry the names of notable battles (Resaca, Palo Alto, Buena Vista and Monterey) and notable generals. A key factor which catapulted the growth of this neighborhood was the arrival of streetcar lines. The Central Northside is characterized by an abundance of trees and a specific style of architecture. Victorian brick row houses, which include the late 19th century architectural styles such as Italianate, Queen Anne, French Second Empire and Greek Revival line the streets of this charming neighborhood.

Because of its location and rich history, the neighborhood is an excellent area. Easy access to

public transportation, the walkability of many of the neighborhood business districts, and an array of bridges across the Allegheny River to downtown, the Northside is a beautiful and convenient place to live and work. 17

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

analysis of the traditional urban fabric

Reminiscent of Victorian Architecture which includes Italianate, Queen Anne, French Second Empire and Greek Revival. The housing mass is a simple and rectangular volume usually two to three stories high. Houses are typical row houses in that two adjacent houses usually share a common side wall; leaving no space or “side yard” for the properties. Houses have a profound urban edge. There is no front yard and the buildings steps extend to the sidewalk (the public realm). The shorter facade usually runs parallel to the street. The roofs are either gabled, flat or mansard. The addition of dormers is commonly seen. The first floor is generally two to three feet off grade and usually has steps leading up to the front door. It is common for these buildings to have basements which are distinguished by a continuous brick or concrete masonry unit block skirt wrapping around the base of the building and base ment windows to allow natural light to enter within it. Houses which do not have a porch usually have some form of overhang (usually in a pediment style) or awning which sits above the slightly recessed door entrance. Windows within this area are double-hung. Window proportions are typically 2:1. Windows are usually tall and narrow and usually have 2 window panes. However, 4 window panes are not uncommon. The doors usually accompany the windows and should be heavy in appearance and have one or two small integrals of light that relate to the type of windows used throughout the house. There is a rhythm to the placement of door and windows, and what’s done on the first floor repeats itself on the second and third floor, if present. Being of the Victorian nature, ornamentation plays a part in the appearance of these houses. Windows are usually framed by a light colored, contrasting trim which runs completely around its four sides; or in other cases, are anchored by rectangular sills and headers which sit above and beneath the window and extend slightly outward on both sides. In houses that resemble more of the Italianate architectural style, the roofline is anchored by a cornice which protrudes outward from the building’s facade as well as from both sides. Brick is the most dominant material of choice for the facades. However it is not uncommon to see buildings with wooden siding.


diagrams neighborhood elevations porch typology massing typology architectural styles streetscape & signage


saturn way & jacksonia street

saturn way & alpine avenue

saturn way & carrington street

neighborhood elevations

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alpine avenue & arch street

carrington street & arch street


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A key character of the Central Northside Neighborhood is the strong urban edge that the arrangement of the buildings provides. The private realm literally blends with the urban realm. With each of the buildings in a series sharing a common wall, thus eliminating the side yard of each property, the front

street typology

facades of the buildings essentially frame the street. It can almost be thought of as a room where the walls, floor and ceiling provide containment for the space. Fronts of buildings provide walls and give boundaries to a space, while sidewalks and the street act as the floor plane. 27


second empire

architectural styles

romanesque & queen anne



“While it may take mountains, hills, lakes, streams and trees to create a landscape, it takes the mind and hands of man – and the man-made structure to arrange a streetscape.” -Martin Pegler, Streetscapes

1. Lighting and Trees The insertion of streetlights promotes the concept of security and protection; allowing residents to clearly see what goes on in their surroundings. Trees not only offer aesthetic value to a street, but also serve as form of solar protection for the southern façade of the residential home. 2. Parking Steep topography and lot-sizing issues produce a problem for residents wanting to park behind their homes. However, on street-parking is a perfect solution which not only provides parking space for the residents, but also fits into the character of the neighborhood. The designated parking lane should be differentiated by a change of material, such as brick, cobblestone, or other pavers, which would differ from the existing asphalt street. 3. Temporary Planting/Planters In the Central Northside Neighborhood, the residential property line literally merges with the public realm (sidewalk); leaving no space for a front yard for residents. However, the 3 foot distance of the waterfall stairs which merges with the sidewalk can be used for the insertion of planters.

streetscape & signage


lighting & vegetation

on-street parking


vacant lot strategies alpine avenue vison dog park community garden rain garden parking & infill



area of focus

Alpine Street Elevation

alpine avenue vision

Over the years, Alpine Avenue, as a whole, has experienced fluctuating periods which has left the street filled with vacant lots, abandoned homes, cracked sidewalks and unkempt vegetation. Unfortunate as it is, this provides an opportunity to illustrate how these vacant lots can be addressed through infill and activation strategies. The issue of parking for the streets residents will be addressed as well.


dog park

compost box recycled wood

permeable pavement native plants rain garden solar powered lighting

community garden

rain garden


alpine avenue with traditional infill



travel lane

rooftop deck

parking & infill

rooftop deck

39 alpine avenue elevation with traditional infill

alpine avenue with modern infill

alpine avenue with modern infill

alpine avenue with modern infill 41

1. SCALE Height The height of new construction needs to be considered within the context of the surrounding properties and the width of the facing street. On streets with a right of way width less than 21 feet, a new house shall not exceed the height of 22 feet to a cornice line before sloping back a minimum of 45 degrees. Width The width of new construction needs to be considered within the context of the surrounding properties. For new houses where any street frontage exceeds 20 feet, the plane of the façade should be broken up by offsets, roofline variations or other architectural features such as bay windows or setbacks. 2. STREET FAÇADE Windows and Doors • It is desirable to have doors and windows on the first floors in habitable rooms. These provide measures of security for residents. • It is more desirable for residents to enter/leave their homes through front doors, rather than garages. The intent is to foster a sense of community. • Security grilles should be discouraged. • Planted window boxes are to be encouraged. • Shutters on windows are encouraged on traditional houses. Windows of First Floor habitable rooms (not in garages, utility or storage rooms) are required on all street frontages with the following requirements: Window height above sidewalk: 4’-6” max. to top of sill. Overall window height: 4’-0” min. sill to head of window. Minimum aggregate width of window(s) and doors: 33% of each façade on the first floor. Exterior light shall be required. Setbacks • Prefer fronts of buildings to be located on the front property line. • Occasional buildings with setbacks from the front property line, with gardens or wider side walks can be desirable. Front facades facing the street shall be located on the property lines, except: Corner Lots may have facades setback from the property line, if a wall constructed of brick piers

with open wrought iron fences, with a maximum height of 4 feet is constructed on the property line, and the space between the property line and the building is landscaped and contains at least one tree. Roof Decks • New construction should respect adjacent rooflines. • Roof decks need to be unobtrusive, use materials which appear permanent, are easily main tained, and should be consistent with the style of the building. Temporary looking structures should not be allowed. Materials • Red brick is a consistently used material throughout the neighborhood. • Other colors of brick or a mixture of brick, stone and/or metal may be appropriate depending on the design. 3. PARKING • Encourage on- street parking. Topography and property size limitations make it difficult for rear parking to be implemented. • Discourage entirely asphalt paved parking surfaces. • Encourage stone or masonry pavers for parking surfaces. • Encourage trees and other plantings within parking areas. 4. REAR OF PROPERTIES Rear Wall Materials • Masonry materials are generally preferred. • If the rear is visible from the street, a material consistent with the front façade would be pre ferred. • Light colored stucco may be preferable when reflected light in adjacent rear yard is a con cern. 5. REUSE OF EXISTING BUILDINGS Encourage reuse as an alternative to demolition 6. COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTIES Materials and Scale • Should be compatible with residential structures. • Should look “urban”. Don’t want the suburban “strip center” look


sustainable design native plants trees benefits development strategies


Plant name: Blue Flag Iris Moisture: Wet Soil, Medium Moist Soil Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun Blooms: May – June Flower Color: Purplish Blue Height: 2.0-3.0 feet General Natural Plant Setting: Low Meadows, Stream banks, Floodplains or Swampy Places Rain Garden Suitable: Yes Plant name: Bonoset Moisture: Wet Soil, Medium Moist Soil Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun Blooms: July-August Flower Color: White Height: 2.0-5.0 feet General Natural Plant Setting: Low Meadows, Stream banks, Floodplains or Swampy Places Rain Garden Suitable: Yes Plant name: Golden Groundsel Moisture: Wet Soil, Medium Moist Soil Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun Blooms: May – June Flower Color: Yellow Height: 1.0-2.0 feet General Natural Plant Setting: Woodlands and woodlands Edges, Low Meadows, Stream banks, Floodplains or Swampy Places Rain Garden Suitable: Yes Plant name: Monkey Flower Moisture: Wet Soil, Medium Moist Soil Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun Blooms: July - September Flower Color: Violet Height: 2.0-3.0 feet General Natural Plant Setting: Low Meadows, Stream banks, Floodplains or Swampy Places, Sunny Upland Meadows and Hillsides Rain Garden Suitable: Yes

Plant name: Rose of Sharon Moisture: Wet Soil, Medium Moist Soil Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial Sun Blooms: July - September Flower Color: Violet Height: 2.0-3.0 feet General Natural Plant Setting: Low Meadows, Stream banks, Floodplains or Swampy Places, Sunny Upland Meadows and Hillsides Rain Garden Suitable: Yes

native plants

What are Native Plants?

A native (indigenous) species is one that occurs in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat without direct or indirect human actions. These plants are good for use in planters or rain gardens. Advantages of Native Plants: - add beauty to the landscape and preserve our natural heritage - provide food and habitat for native wildlife - serve as an important genetic resource for future food crops or other plant- derived products -help slow down the spread of fire by staying greener longer -decrease the amount of water needed for landscape maintenance -require very little long-term maintenance if they are properly planted and established -produce long root systems to hold soil in place -protect water quality by controlling soil erosion and moderating floods and droughts - U.S. National Park Service



smaller streetscape trees

larger vacant lot and park trees

benefits “Trees are an important part of every community. Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards are lined with trees that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment. Trees increase our quality of life by bringing natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings. We gather under the cool shade they provide during outdoor activities with family and friends. Many neighborhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride.�



Sustainable Development

Water EcoKit

Energy EcoKit

The URA is committed to fostering, encouraging, and supporting sustaibale development and green building practices to the maximum extent practical and possible in the City of Pittsburgh. To that end, the URA has adopted a Sustainability and Green Design Policy which includes all aspects of our activities – from day-to-day operations to the creation of large-scale mixed-use developments. The purpose of this policy is to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our activites while simultaneously responding to the increasing market demand for products and services that are more environmentally benign. The benefits of green buildings are both broad and specific. For businesses, green buildings can offer economic advantages including lower operating costs, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and higher rental and retail sale rates. Green residential developments provide occupants with lower monthly utility bills as well as increased comfort and indoor air quality. It is extremely important that green strategies are incorporated into projects during the pre-design phase in order to realize the most cost effective implementation strategies. There are a number of ways in which current home-owners and new home buyers can improve the energy use of their homes. Pittsburgh’s Community Services, Inc. (PCSI) and the Environment and Energy Community Outreach (EECO) Center provides Water and Energy EcoKits to qualified residents. Water EcoKit contents: High Efficiency handheld shower head, dual-spray kitchen aerator, 2 bathroom aerators, toilet tank bank, toilet water saver fill cycle diverter, plumber’s tape, leak detection tablets and a flow meter bag. Energy EcoKit contents: 3 CFL light bulbs, lime light night light, draft stopper gaskets, 4 switch gaskets, 8 outlet gaskets, a refrigerator thermometer and an air filter whistle. Those interested should contact the Pittsburgh Community Services Inc. Neighborhood Safety Program at (412) 904-4711

strategies Sustainable Design Strategies 1. Green Framing Choose sustainable harvested Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood for framing. Also consider using finger joists and open web floor joists to maximize resource efficiency and make it easier to route plumbing, wiring, and HVAC duct work. Use advanced framing techniques to minimize the amount of wood used. 2. Natural Ventilation To achieve natural ventilation, locate operable windows at the front and rear facades of the residential structure. 3. High Efficiency Windows and Doors Make sure that new windows and doors are ENERGY STAR qualified and have a U-value of no more than 0.3. For new contruction, orient windows towards the south to maximize solar heat gain in the winter and design overhangs to shade these windows in the summer. 4. Indoor Air Quality Specify low emitting materials for paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, carpet and composite wood products. These products do not let-off gas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and other toxic materials which threaten the health of building occupants. Also make sure that all kitchen and bath fans are vented to the outdoors to reduce moisture and air quality issues. 5. Landscaping Placement of plants, shrubs and trees in the front and rear of the house provides heat reduction from the reflected sun, making outdoor spaces cooler. 6. Roof Strategies Choose ENERGY STAR qualified roof products to minimize heat gain in the summer months. For new construction, orient the majority of the roof surface towards the south. As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the house will be “solar ready. 51

1 4 2 3


1 Green Framing 2 Natural Ventilation 3 High Efficiency Doors & Windows

4 Indoor Air Quality 5 Landscaping 6 Roof Strategies



conservation district What is a Conservation District? A conservation district is a special category of a historic district. Like a traditional historic district, a conservation district has its own plan that specifically addresses the area’s unique conservation needs. The purpose of a conservation district is to conserve the distinctive character of an area character significant to the culture, heritage, history and development of the community. The Department of City Planning, Councilman Lavelle’s office, and the neighborhood will work together to accomplish conservation goals by utilizing a unique blend of guidelines. With cooperation among property owners and residents as well as technical assistance from elected officials and government agencies, limited regulation can protect and enhance identifiable characteristics that make the area significant. What is the difference between a historic district and a conservation district? A conservation district differs from a traditional historic district in purpose and administration. The strategies for protecting the significant resources in a historic district focus on preserving historic architecture while a conservation district’s focus is on conserving historic community. A conservation district’s regula­tory protection differs from a traditional historic dis­trict’s regulation. Its primary focus is on overall character rather than architectural components. Consequently architectural elements are generally not protected from change to the same degree as in a traditional historic district. What are the benefits of Neighborhood Conservation District designation? Neighborhood Conservation District designation: • Protects and strengthens the desirable and unique physical features, design characteristics, and recognized identity, charm and flavor of neighborhoods. • It offers a level of “protection” for property values, helping to prevent blight caused by income patible, insensitive development. What type of work requires a Conservation District Permit? Any work that alters the exterior appearance of your home will require a Conservation District Permit. Some examples include: • Building a new fence (if visible from the street) • Altering the “waterfall steps” leading from the sidewalk to the house • Installing new windows or doors • Installing a new roof • Building on vacant lots • Altering/removing/brick or stonework • Enclosing or opening a porch • Demolishing the home • Installing or altering retaining walls • Any other exterior modifications 55

Overall goals of the Conservation District from Central Northside Community Plan Recommendations Create a Conservation District o Will require significant legislation o Typically applies when the integrity of historic buildings is lower o Functions as a zoning overlay o Effective tool in preventing demolition o Less rigid, fewer land prohibitions, more flexibility in new construction, less red tape o Supports and strengthens adjacent historic district Architecture and Urban Design o Architecture, urban design, landscape streetscapes, preservation/ conservation and sustain- able design o Contemporary design is compatible when it supports the scale and character of the neighbor hood o Encourage diversity of cultural expression that is reflected in the architecture and design of the neighborhood o Work with city officials to improve the transfer of [unoccupied] tax-delinquent properties to willing buyers and developers o Support programs to train people how to rehabilitate old homes o Create incentives to reoccupy vacant buildings Residential o Existing social, economic and physical context o Housing types and geography of Central Northside o Sustainable (green) housing strategies o Conserve the existing historic housing stock o Develop housing policies and projects that improve the quality of existing rental proper ties, allow residents to stay in the neighborhood and support the business district o Incentives to rehabilitate vacant houses Providing Suggestions for Future Property Owners/ Developers From Central Northside Community Plan Recommendations Architecture and Urban Design o New Urban Infill should reflect urban not suburban patterns of development Residential o Build on the strengths of what is existing in the neighborhood and allow for new housing types o Respect history, but allow for something new and innovative o Vacant parcels for residential development





community involvement Identifying the most important opportunities and challenges that emerge during community visioning and mapping sessions is key step in implementing comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies. As a matter of fact, community input is at the forefront of the establishment of all Neighborhood Conservation Districts. Most NCDs allow residents and property owners to determine what aspects of a neighborhood should be preserved, rather than strictly following the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitation work on properties within the district. The focus for protection in an NCD is on neighborhood characteristics, rather than details pertaining to individual buildings.


Below are four neighborhood conditions that were most discussed during the Central Northside Neighborhood community meeting. It is recommended that all organizations who will lead these revitalization efforts work with the residents, businesses and other community stakeholders to prioritize their importance and to create actionable plans to address each condition.

1. Address the problem of limited parking in such a way which would provide adequate parking for residents and visitors, but would aesthetically detract from the overall character of the neigh borhood. 2. Address safety issues for residents through implementing strategies such as adequate street lighting, the lighting of alley-ways, and the fencing of lots. 3. Addressing urban infill design strategies that will build on the strengths of what is the existing character of the neighborhood and allow for new housing types. 4. Address vacant lots with the possibility of implementing sustainable, community spaces such as dog parks, rain gardens and community farms. 59

ura programs for residents Home Buyer Loans

The URA has an array of mortgage products available to help you on your way to home to ownership. Income limits and program areas apply.

Pittsburgh Home Ownership Program (PHOP)

Provides below market rate first mortgage financing for the purchase of new or existing homes, in move-in condition, located in the City of Pittsburgh. Down payment/ closing cost assistance grant funds are available for all borrowers. For further information about this program, please contact Housing Program Officer at (412) 255-6677

Second Mortgage Financing

Interest free, deferred seconf mortgage financing is available to help purchase a newly constructed or rehabilitated single family home through the Neighborhood Housing Progra, and the Housing Recovery Program-Developer. This program is only available for the purchase of a URA-sponsered single family home. For further information about this program, contact Housing Program Officer at (412) 255-6698

Home Improvement Loans

The URA offers an array of products designed to assist you in the renovation of repair of your home. Income limits and program areas apply. Pittsburgh Home and Rehabilitation Program (PHRP) AND PHRP for Energy Efficiency PHRP provides a 0% fixed interest rate for up to 20 years for home improvements. With the new PHRP Plus, you receive the added benefit of energy Efficiency Loan Program with a grant of up to $2,500.

Home Improvement Loan Program (HILP)

The interest rate is only 5.99% with terms of 10, 15 and 20 years with no equity requirements. You may borrow up to $15,000 for a single unit home, although the home can have up to four units. For further information about this program, please contact Housing Program Officer at (412) 255-6677.

Keystone Renovation and Repair Program (R&R)

Program is for homeowners in the City of Pittsburgh who earn up to $99,900. Borrow up to $35,000. There are no equity requirements. For further information about this program, please contact Housing Program Officer (412) 255-6677. For program Fact Sheet(s) go to

Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)

Interest free loans for low income homeowners to make emergency repairs to correct immediate health and safety hazards in an expedient manner. For further information about this program, please contact Finance Specialist at (412) 255-6573.

Home Accessibility Program for Independence

Funding available to low income homeowners or landlords with low income tenants to assist in making the home accessible to people with disabilities. Limited funding is available.

Pittsburgh Party Wall Program (PPWP)

Grant funding is available to low income homeowners or landlords with low income tenants to reconstruct exposed party walls of residential row houses. Vacant properties are not eligible. For further information about this program, please contact Housing Program Officer at (412) 255-6677.

Tax Abatement

If you purchase or build a new home or make home improvements on you home in the City of Pittsburgh or Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh and District School taxes can be abated for 3 years. If the home is located within a Targeted Growth Zone, your City of Pittsburgh, and School District taxes can be abated for ten (10) years after property is reassessed.

ura programs for developers Housing

URA supported housing developments transform neighborhoods, protect affordability for Pittsburgh residents, and enhance the value of our communites. Residential Developer financing is offered by the URA’s Housing Department. We offer a number of construction loan and grant gap financing programs tht vary in features and eligibility requirements. Financing is available for small and large-scale new construction or the rehabilitation of rental or for-sale housing. We also provide equity financing to assist community-based organizations in real estate development projects that provide housing or job creation opportunities. We work with both for-profit and non-profit developers to structure individualized financing programs that work over the long term to create sustainable housing developments. There are a variety of financing programs available for your rental of for-sale housing development project. The Pittsburgh Housing Construction Fund is one source available for financing new construction or rehabilitation of for-sale housing. Rental Housing Development and Improvement Program provides permanent gap financing for new construction for the rehabilitation of rental housing. To discuss your residential development project with a housing development officer, contact Housing Development Programs, at (412) 255-6670

Earning the ENERGY STAR

The URA now requires all new residential construction projects that its builds or finance earn the ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR specifications make homes more energy efficient and comfortable which helps homeowners save money on utility bills and prevents unwanted pollution from energy production (mercury, particulates, CO2, etc.) from entering our atmosphere. ENERGY STAR version 3 includes additional specifications that address other aspects of whole house performance. These additional specifications help make homes that have earned the ENERY STAR even more durable and healthy to live in by addressing issues including moisture and indoor quality. For more information on ENERY STAR homes please contact Sustainable Design Coordinator, at (412) 255-6430

Tax Abatement

Multiple tab abatement programs exist for development in the City of Pittsburgh. Abatement of City, County and School taxes may be made available for your commercial or residential renovation or redevelopment project based on project type and location. Staff at the URA can assist you in making application for the product that applies to your project.

Elm Street

The Elm Street Program was created by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to strengthen our states historic downtown neighborhoods that re beset by low property values, negative images, and perceptions or poor public safety. Elm Street aims to improve the situation of Pennsylvania’s urban neighborhoods while linking revitalization efforts to those of adjacent business districts. Using the long established Main Street programs as a model, the Elm Street concept is structured around simultaneous action in five focus areas (clean, Safe and Green; Neighbors and Economy; design; Image and Identity; and Sustainable Organization), integrated through a community-based strategic planning process. The Elm Street program is a work in progress, and is likely to be so for the next several years. The URA partners with the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development to pilot the Elm Street program in five Pittsburgh communities: East Allegheny East Liberty Lawrenceville South Side Slopes For more information on the Elm Street program, please contact Main Street/Elm Street Program Coordinator at (412) 2556686

Green Development Resources for Residential Development

The benefits of green buildings are both broad and specific. For businesses, green buildings can offer economic advantages including lower operating costs, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and higher rental and retail sales rates. Green residential developments provide occupants with lower monthly utility bills as well as increased comfort and indoor air quality. Pittsburgh is recognized as a leader in the construction of green buildings and we believe that maintenance of this position is advantageous to make the City of Pittsburgh a more desirable place to live, work and play.


references & resources Central Northside Community Plan – Pfaffman + Associates Northside

Previous Planning Efforts Information Mike Hauptman – Queen Village Neighborhood Conservation District Save a Tree: The Tree and Shrub Care Company Martin Pegler, Streetscapes U.S. National Park Service Benefits of Trees - Yoga Palm Trees


Image of tree - Love Big Trees Blue Flag Iris -,_Ottawa.jpg Boneset - Golden Groundsel - Monkey Flower - murals - Central Northside - Patrick Joust- Pittsburgh/Central+North+Side/ Framing - Natural Ventilation - Window Diagram - Landscaping Devices - Aerial Map - Google Earth Central Northside -


Central Northside Toolkit  
Central Northside Toolkit