The Hilltop Housing Market Restoration Strategy
Hilltop Alliance is comprised of community-based organizations from eleven South Pittsburgh neighborhoods that collaborate to preserve and create assets in the Hilltop community through the coordination of resources. By connecting neighborhood-based organizations and leveraging their individual efforts, the Alliance is a united voice for the Hilltop.
The Hilltop Alliance contracted with Fourth Economy Consulting and Maynes Associates Architects, LLC (which merged with Moshier Studio in 2017) to analyze the housing market and develop a market-based housing strategy for the neighborhoods of Allentown and Beltzhoover. Recent planning efforts identified the need to address vacant property and stabilize residential areas. With the housing market in these neighborhoods suffering from neglect, disinvestment, and vacancy, this study aimed to stop the decline and restore the housing market by helping existing homeowners improve their properties, and promoting increased homeownership and family occupancy in restored properties."
Our team combined qualitative data (via a windshield survey, community tour, and community meetings examining issues and assets) with an analysis of market conditions (e.g. vacant property, home values, sales data, population trends, housing characteristics, etc.). We identified specific blocks and parcels for Emerging Market Demonstration Areas where the community could focus and scale reinvestment, and discerned the precise tipping point for stabilizing the housing market. Furthermore, we developed a Housing Repair Toolkit to help property owners, community leaders, and potential residents weigh various options when improving their property.
The Hilltop Alliance used the market strategy and rehabilitation estimates to raise funds for its property stabilization program. Since 2014, Hilltop Alliance identified 199 properties, renovated and sold 2 properties, renovated 40 properties for existing owners, with an additional 51 properties in progress and 100 properties receiving property maintenance. Most of the initial strategic efforts focused on park adjacent properties in Beltzhoover and key corridors connecting Allentown and Beltzhoover. In 2019, Fourth Economy updated the strategy to guide restoration of the housing market in Allentown.