Business District and Housing Strategy
Hazelwood Initiative and their partners, through the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative (GHCC), serve the Pittsburgh-based neighborhood of Hazelwood. Though small, Hazelwood is strategically located relative to downtown Pittsburgh, and is also the home of the former Jones & Laughlin steel factory, which is in the process of being redeveloped. Hazelwood is a mixed-race, predominantly low-income community, with a historic downtown area that has suffered from disinvestment. Hazelwood Initiative and the GHCC have been supporting revitalization in the neighborhood through community organizing, housing and real estate development, and other impactful programs.
Hazelwood recently completed a comprehensive plan, through which there was a clear vision and mandate for the organizations to help the neighborhood manage imminent growth in a way that preserved affordability and created opportunity for existing residents and businesses. They engaged the Fourth Economy team to create a strategy for both revitalizing their business district and addressing the affordable housing gap. As a complement to the comprehensive plan, they were looking for tactical ways that their organizations could work together over the next ten years to ensure equitable growth in their neighborhood.
Our approach blended quantitative data on the housing, retail, and office markets, with input from residents and partners about existing activities and opportunities. For the business district strategy, we utilized our signature Market Cards to help residents determine which potential businesses represented the intersection of their dreams and market realities. We then engaged local business owners, small business technical support organizations, and the redevelopment authority to develop strategies for how and where those businesses could be developed in Hazelwood. Similarly, on the affordable housing strategy, we brought potential partners to the table to explore how they could support Hazelwood in addressing its affordable housing gap. This process allowed us to create realistic strategies and to build relationships with organizations who could immediately begin to help on implementation.
The resulting strategy is an actionable document that will be used by the Hazelwood Initiative and the GHCC to guide their work in the coming years. It includes six detailed housing strategies (incl. number/type of units, locations, funding sources, etc.), as well as six strategies for how to revitalize the business district, including both site/business-specific strategies and broader placemaking strategies.
Economic Development Strategy
"Fourth Economy was most responsive to our community's concerns and worked hard with us to create a plan that will guide our efforts in affordable housing and business district revitalization for years to come."
- Dave Brewton