Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority
In 2018 LOA was selected to conduct a Commercial Site Analysis for the Larimer/East Liberty Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a $30M award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development aimed at revitalizing the Larimer/East Liberty neighborhood. The effort included new open space and over 300 units of mixed-income housing.
The plan also included new retail development, something that the community lobbied very hard for as part of Phase III of the project; however the developer expressed significant concerns about the market viability of retail within the neighborhood and indicated to the URA that they would require subsidies if retail were required. As a result, the URA engaged LOA to conduct a site assessment and retail market analysis of the last phase of the project. We calculated both existing and newly generated discretionary demand and determined what kind of and how much square footage could be reasonably supported under both current and projected conditions. Finally, we assessed the physical conditions of the site and surrounding neighborhood and made recommendations for infrastructure improvements and site design considerations that would be necessary to ensure retail viability.
One such finding determined that new housing units resulted in $20M of additional discretionary income, but that the location and distance of new housing from the Phase III site – over sidewalks in dire need of repair – made is unlikely that any of that spending would be captured by new businesses at the desired location. Following the assessment, LOA also investigated city and state funding sources for a number of investments, including sidewalk improvements, which in turn provided the URA and the local steering committee with a clear roadmap for how to advance a viable retail vision for the community.