Residents, Partners, Casey Foundation Celebrate Groundbreaking for Atlanta's Pittsburgh Yards

Posted March 10, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Plans for Pittsburgh Yards development site in Atlanta

Rendering of plans for Pittsburgh Yards mixed-use development site.

Res­i­dents and devel­op­ment part­ners reached a much-antic­i­pat­ed mile­stone today with the ground­break­ing cel­e­bra­tion for Pitts­burgh Yards™, a unique mixed-use project express­ly aimed at improv­ing the lives of peo­ple in Atlanta’s Pitts­burgh neigh­bor­hood and the sur­round­ing South­side com­mu­ni­ties. The project is meant to be not only a com­mer­cial, recre­ation­al and com­mu­ni­ty anchor, with liv­ing-wage jobs, but also a cat­a­lyst for broad, pos­i­tive change for every­one who lives in the area.

The 31-acre site at 352 Uni­ver­si­ty Avenue SW forms the south­ern bor­der of Pitts­burgh and backs to an as-yet-unde­vel­oped seg­ment of Atlanta’s Belt­Line. The name Pitts­burgh Yards was select­ed with com­mu­ni­ty input.

Saturday’s ground­break­ing cer­e­monies brought neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents — many of whom are help­ing to plan Pitts­burgh Yards through com­mu­ni­ty meet­ings — togeth­er with lead­ers from the Colum­bia Core Part­ners devel­op­ment team and the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, the non­prof­it phil­an­thropy that owns the par­cel and has invest­ed toward ensur­ing the devel­op­ment ben­e­fits the community.

The $26 mil­lion first phase of devel­op­ment will hap­pen on the east­ern side of the prop­er­ty around an exist­ing 61,000 square foot struc­ture that will cre­ate work spaces at acces­si­ble rental rates for approx­i­mate­ly 100 busi­ness­es, includ­ing light-indus­tri­al, admin­is­tra­tive, arti­sanal, mak­er and cre­ative enter­pris­es. A large, nat­ur­al-turf green space will be cre­at­ed, along with a busi­ness-cen­tric area that fea­tures repur­posed ship­ping con­tain­ers that will be used as work spaces and store­fronts. The first phase will also include nec­es­sary road, sew­er, storm-water man­age­ment, land­scap­ing and pedes­tri­an-ori­ent­ed infra­struc­ture — includ­ing a spur to the Atlanta Belt­Line — as well as three adapt­able pad-ready sites.

The time is right to move for­ward, accord­ing to Dil­lon Baynes of Colum­bia Ven­tures, which along with the Core Ven­ture Stu­dio has formed Colum­bia Core Part­ners (CCP) to devel­op the prop­er­ty. With its loca­tion on the Belt­line, right off the Down­town Con­nec­tor and not far from major attrac­tions and the air­port, we know it will boost the econ­o­my in Pitts­burgh and the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods. There are tal­ent­ed entre­pre­neurs and peo­ple ready to work hard for fair wages in these neigh­bor­hoods, and they will have those oppor­tu­ni­ties here.”

As Pitts­burgh res­i­dents, we have con­sis­tent­ly been invit­ed to con­tribute our ideas, opin­ions and knowl­edge of the com­mu­ni­ty to the devel­op­ment of Pitts­burgh Yards,” said Dantes Rameau, who lives in Pitts­burgh and is one of many neigh­bors who have attend­ed meet­ings to help shape the project. It’s excit­ing that this is hap­pen­ing in our neigh­bor­hood and I look for­ward to the many ben­e­fits it will bring to Pitts­burgh and Pitts­burgh residents.”

Com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are encour­aged to attend Pitts­burgh Yards engage­ment ses­sions, which are typ­i­cal­ly held on the sec­ond Thurs­day evening of each month. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it pitts​burgh​yards​.com or call 4048625858.

That fact that we are co-cre­at­ing Pitts­burgh Yards with peo­ple in the com­mu­ni­ty makes it some­thing much more than an ordi­nary urban rede­vel­op­ment project,” said Ryan Chao, vice pres­i­dent for Civic Sites and Com­mu­ni­ty Change at the Casey Foundation.

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is a nation­al phil­an­thropy; Atlanta is one of two civic sites, along with Bal­ti­more, where the Foun­da­tion has a spe­cial con­nec­tion and long-term com­mit­ment to child and fam­i­ly well-being. The Casey Foun­da­tion pur­chased the Pitts­burgh Yards prop­er­ty from UPS in 2006 and short­ly there­after began envi­ron­men­tal and oth­er cleanup of the site. The Great Reces­sion stalled devel­op­ment across Atlanta, but the plan­ning process in Pitts­burgh has gained new momen­tum over the past sev­er­al years.

Atlanta’s eco­nom­ic land­scape is chang­ing with more major devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives break­ing ground south of Inter­state 20,” said Eloisa Kle­men­tich, pres­i­dent and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment author­i­ty. Pitts­burgh Yards will cre­ate a range of employ­ment and entre­pre­neur­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties that will help bring new, sus­tain­able growth and near­ly $40 mil­lion in eco­nom­ic impact to the area. We are very pleased to sup­port this impor­tant project through our New Mar­kets Tax Cred­it program.”

The site, which was used for agri­cul­tur­al train­ing by Clark Col­lege before it was devel­oped for indus­tri­al use, has always been about jobs,” added James Har­ris of the Core Ven­ture Stu­dio, and it’s time for this prop­er­ty to be about jobs again. We expect Pitts­burgh Yards to dri­ve the cre­ation of a range of employ­ment and entre­pre­neur­ship opportunities.”

Spe­cif­ic eco­nom­ic inclu­sion goals have been estab­lished by the Casey Foun­da­tion and CCP:

  • At least 50% of new hires for phase I con­struc­tion will be local residents.
  • At least 30% of the con­tract­ed con­struc­tion val­ues will go to local, minor­i­ty- and/​or women-owned businesses.
  • At least 30% of con­tract­ed pre­de­vel­op­ment ser­vices will go to local‑, minor­i­ty- and/​or women-owned busi­ness­es. (This goal has already been exceeded.)
  • At least 50% of the new per­ma­nent entry- and mid-lev­el jobs will be focused on local residents.

To dis­cuss invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, con­tact Natal­lie Keis­er (6786860151 or nkeiser@​aecf.​org). To dis­cuss con­tract­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, con­tact Ryan Akin (rakin@​columbiaven.​com). For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it pitts​burgh​yards​.com.

While CCP is lead­ing the devel­op­ment, the Pitts­burgh Yards team also includes Stevens & Wilkin­son (archi­tec­ture, struc­ture, mechan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal and plumb­ing), Long Engi­neer­ing (civ­il engi­neer­ing), Syl­vat­i­ca Stu­dio (land­scape archi­tec­ture), Rejuve (ship­ping con­tain­er design/​build), Grafite (inte­ri­ors), South­face Ener­gy Insti­tute (sus­tain­abil­i­ty con­sult­ing) and C.D. Moody Con­struc­tion (gen­er­al con­tract­ing). The Casey Foun­da­tion has also engaged local work­force and busi­ness-devel­op­ment part­ners includ­ing Atlanta Career­Rise (Unit­ed Way of Greater Atlanta), the Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies, Inc., the Con­struc­tion Edu­ca­tion Foun­da­tion of Geor­gia, Emmaus House, Access to Cap­i­tal for Entre­pre­neurs and the Atlanta Vil­lage Micro Fund.

The first phase of devel­op­ment at Pitts­burgh Yards achieved a finan­cial clos­ing of a New Mar­kets Tax Cred­it deal at the end of 2017 that includ­ed fund­ing part­ners Invest Atlanta, Enter­prise Com­mu­ni­ty Part­ners, Brown­field CDE and US Bank.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion cre­ates a brighter future for the nation’s chil­dren by devel­op­ing solu­tions to strength­en fam­i­lies, build paths to eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty and trans­form strug­gling com­mu­ni­ties into safer and health­i­er places to live, work and grow. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it www​.aecf​.org.

About Colum­bia Ventures

Found­ed in 2013, Colum­bia Ven­tures is an Atlanta-based real estate devel­op­ment and invest­ment com­pa­ny focused on urban mixed-use cam­pus devel­op­ment in the Southeast.

Colum­bia Ven­tures often oper­ates in pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships and is the sis­ter com­pa­ny to Colum­bia Res­i­den­tial, the award-win­ning devel­op­er of afford­able and mixed-income hous­ing that was found­ed in 1991 by Noël F. Khalil. The company’s founders have exten­sive region­al and nation­al expe­ri­ence and have devel­oped more than $2 bil­lion of com­mer­cial real estate.

About the Core Ven­ture Stu­dio (by Core)

Found­ed in 2014, the Core Ven­ture Stu­dio is an Atlanta-based ven­ture cap­i­tal and real estate devel­op­ment firm focused on entre­pre­neuri­al­ly sup­port­ive real estate devel­op­ment. Core Venture’s part­ners are ear­ly investors in King Plow, Glen­wood Park, Serenbe and down­town Atlanta. The firm’s most promi­nent ven­ture has been the rede­vel­op­ment of Atlanta’s first start­up space, Hype­pota­mus, into Col­lid­er in Midtown.

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