The Punch List – 8/10/18

Inspired home renovation for new artists. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund granted $50,000 to The August Wilson House, one of the 16 projects they award this summer. The funds will aid in the opening of the late playwright’s home in the Hill District and be dedicated to supporting the community—especially rising artists—rather than acting as a museum, as per his wishes. Pfaffmann + Associates will design the century-old home in the project that will begin this fall. The trust’s $25 million plan to aid sites that preserve African American history and are under-supported is inspired by the 2017 hate crimes in Charlottesville.  

Intergen coming in for the assist. Intergen Reality State Group will take over the first phase of redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site from McCormack Baron Salazar. Why the switch-up? In May, the Penguins and St. Louis-based MBS hit a financial setback that complicated the plan for mixed-income housing. The Pens are under pressure to develop 6.5 acres of the 28-acre site in the next two years and hope to maintain the affordable housing component of the plan. Bonus points for Intergen being a minority-led development team.  

PIT’s flight traffic growth is taking off. Last weekend marked the arrival of the first nonstop flight from Shanghai to Pittsburgh. The 316-passenger China Eastern Airlines charter plane was the first of two arrivals this summer. Local groups have been working for several years to establish a three-year marketing plan they hope will drive demand for a regular nonstop flight. PIT also just secured nonstop flights to London with British Airways, a move that is expected to bring $57 million of economic impact to the region. Another possibility: Dublin. 

Local neighborhoods targeted for investment. Homewood, Wilkinsburg, and the Hill District are three of the 86 areas in southwest Pennsylvania to make the cut for the Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) list. Part of new legislation from the Department of Treasury, the QOZ program incentivizes investment in low-income communities. However, there are few known details of how the program will play out. Definite challenges will include ensuring good investors and strong community involvement in decision-making. 

Mercer County’s superfund is super bad, but about to get better. The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are making strides to remedy the Sharon Steel Superfund Site by contracting Cape Environmental Management, Inc. Cape, a Georgia-based company, will receive $9.2 million from USACE to conduct environmental remediation in a project estimated to span 2.5 years. The 300 acre site along the Shenango River is ridden with pesticides, metals, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, and PCBs left for several decades.  Project managed by Army Corps of Engineers. This is the first superfund cleanup effort in the Pittsburgh area. 

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