Pittsburgh Gets Real

Greenwood Plan purchases Pitt building, aims to give Black-owned businesses space to prosper

PITTSBURGH — As many businesses are closing shop and moving out of the city center, the Greenwood Plan is growing. Earlier this month, the non-profit purchased the Pitt building on Smithfield Street in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

Executive Director Khamil Bailey gave Channel 11 News an inside tour showing us the massive, empty third floor of the building, a space Bailey said would be perfect for an event space.

“People who live here, get to experience the local arts, local theatre, local performances,” Bailey said.

Her vision is to provide marginalized local artists a space to perform, just like Emerald City, which is located on the second floor of the same building and gives Black professionals a space to work.

“Because we focus on a marginalized community, like Black businesses, we fill a gap that exists and has existed in this region for a long time,” Bailey said.

In 2021, Bailey’s non-profit, Greenwood Plan, launched Emerald City, a co-working space located inside the Pitt Building, they were tenants then. Fast forward to 2024, and the Greenwood Plan now owns the entire building.

“This feels like an anomaly to what’s going on downtown because we are growing, we are thriving and people love to be here,” Bailey said.

Currently, the space offers private offices, conference rooms, printing services, and workforce development for its members; but soon it will offer much more. Under the old ownership, there were several empty storefronts, now those will be filled.

“We want to make sure that we bring people into the building that positively impact the community,” Bailey explained.

Ultimately, Bailey hopes the building will serve as an incubator for Black entrepreneurs, a model she hopes to see replicated across the city.

“We are the first now, but ideally there are a ton of buildings that can become Black-owned spaces, and change the dynamic of the city for Black people who are here,” Bailey said.

If you are a small business interested in leasing space at Emerald City, click here.

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