Progress at Pittsburgh Yards in Atlanta

Posted September 20, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog progressatpittsburghyards 2019

Atlanta residents learning more about Pittsburgh Yards

With more than 85% of phase-one con­struc­tion com­plete, Atlanta’s Pitts­burgh Yards™ is on track for an ear­ly 2020 open­ing. With­in the next decade, the project devel­op­er plans to trans­form the 31-acre site into a com­mer­cial, recre­ation­al and com­mu­ni­ty anchor that offers liv­ing-wage employ­ment, long-term career and entre­pre­neur­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents in and around the city’s Neigh­bor­hood Plan­ning Unit V (NPU‑V). The Casey Foun­da­tion is sup­port­ing the project.

Here’s a quick look at the progress made since the ground­break­ing in 2018.

The Nia Build­ing at Pitts­burgh Yards

The first phase of rede­vel­op­ment at Pitts­burgh Yards has focused on a struc­ture that stood for decades on the property’s east­ern side. Once a bare steel frame, the 61,000-square-foot build­ing has been fit­ted with 101 leasable cowork­ing spaces, a shared-use con­struc­tion work­shop and kitchen, con­fer­ence spaces, an amphithe­ater and five apart­ment units. Upon open­ing, the build­ing will serve as a hub for small busi­ness­es and mak­ers, a gath­er­ing space for neigh­bor­hood func­tions and the even­tu­al home of the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site office.

Its name, the Nia Build­ing™, reflects a Swahili term mean­ing pur­pose.” It was cho­sen, along with names for the var­i­ous build­ing spaces and sur­round­ing streets, by res­i­dents as part of a com­mu­ni­ty-led design and vot­ing process.

NPU‑V Res­i­dents Con­tin­ue to Lead

Res­i­dents have tak­en the lead in shap­ing many oth­er design and archi­tec­tur­al ele­ments at Pitts­burgh Yards, includ­ing the site’s visu­al iden­ti­ty. In 2018, com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers worked with local design firm HUMINT to devel­op a col­lec­tion of col­or palettes, taglines and logos. Sev­er­al options were put to a broad­er neigh­bor­hood vote, and the win­ning selec­tions were unveiled at one of the month­ly com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment meetings.

In addi­tion, work­ing group mem­bers devel­oped a set of cri­te­ria for use of the pub­lic green­space and par­tic­i­pat­ed in process­es to iden­ti­fy a prop­er­ty man­age­ment firm and local artists and crafts­peo­ple to exe­cute mul­ti­ple pub­lic projects in the Nia Building.

Most recent­ly, PY Com­mu­ni­ty Inc. — an orga­ni­za­tion found­ed and led by res­i­dents — launched an ini­tia­tive that allows com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to pur­chase engraved bricks that will be inte­grat­ed with­in Pitts­burgh Yards. The pro­ceeds will be used to pur­chase addi­tion­al onsite fix­tures, includ­ing an out­door clock and bench­es, which com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers hope will serve as a reminder of the site’s rail­road history.

Jobs and Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Remain Priorities

A diverse net­work of work­force part­ners is being tapped to ensure that res­i­dents secure con­struc­tion-relat­ed and per­ma­nent jobs at Pitts­burgh Yards and that busi­ness­es owned by women and peo­ple of col­or are sought for sub­con­tract­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. As of July 2019, more than 60% of con­struc­tion con­tracts for phase one have gone to firms owned by peo­ple of color.

Oth­er efforts to sup­port local entre­pre­neurs are also under­way. The Accel­er­ate South­side pro­gram, for exam­ple, will pro­vide access to afford­able real estate and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to South­side res­i­dents who wish to locate their busi­ness­es in Pitts­burgh Yards and sur­round­ing areas.

We’re excit­ed about what’s on the hori­zon at Pitts­burgh Yards,” says Kweku Forstall, direc­tor of Casey’s Atlanta Civic Site. And we couldn’t be more grate­ful for the time, ener­gy, input and ded­i­ca­tion that the devel­op­er and stake­hold­ers — espe­cial­ly res­i­dents — have put into bring­ing this vision to life.”

Vis­it the new Pitts­burgh Yards Website

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