How the city plans to get more business owners involved in Hill District development

How the city plans to get more business owners involved in Hill District development

PITTSBURGH — In it's hey dey the hill was the place to be, now, Centre Avenue is now lined with vacant lots and abandoned buildings.

People in the area fear development in the Lower Hill District will eventually creep up and push them out.

PHOTOS: A look at the neighborhood before the Civic Arena was built

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They want the chance to submit proposals to the city but don't have the resources to do so -- so the Urban Redevelopment Authority removed the barrier.

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It's accepting what's called a request for qualifications for 170 parcels of land up for grabs.

The agency will then connect those awarded with the resources to succeed. The goal is to turn the business owners renting space in the buildings into property owners.

The model is the Moka Art Gallery at the corner of Centre Avenue and Soho Street. Four years ago, the building was set to be demolished. Two Hill District residents used their life savings to purchase and transform it.

Artists Charlotte Ka and Errol Reynolds, who everyone knows as Mobutu, turned the old building into their home, artist quarters and, of course, the gallery.

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