URA receives award for SouthSide Works development


The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) received two Silver Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC): Financing our Future: 2015 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Report won in the Special Purpose Print Brochure category and South Side Works won in the Neighborhood Development category.

The honors were presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 27, during the IEDC Annual Conference, held in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I commend the staff of the URA for their commitment to equitable development, and for working to ensure that everyone benefits for our city’s growth,” said Kevin Acklin, URA board chair and Mayor Peduto’s chief of staff.

Financing our Future: 2015 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Report is the first in an annual publication series that promotes TIF as a key economic development tool in the City of Pittsburgh. The purpose of the publication series is to enhance TIF comprehension for local taxing body leadership, taxpayers, and public and philanthropic funders through a simple and concise explanation of the impact of the 29 active and completed TIF districts in the City of Pittsburgh. In an era of growing scrutiny over how local public resources are invested, the report emphasizes the economic returns that the public receives as investors in public infrastructure in their communities.

The SouthSide Works project highlighted the efforts the URA took to transform the former LTV Steel Mill which, after 132 years of continuous operation, shuttered due to the precipitous decline of an industry that once defined the regional economy. The URA acquired the 123-acre riverfront brownfield in 1993, channeling $128 million toward environmental remediation, site preparation and public infrastructure that queued up the site for the next wave of the Pittsburgh economy.

Through 2016, the URA has leveraged more than $500 million in private capital by investing in a new street grid, public parks, recreational riverfront trails, structured parking, and a vital multimodal bridge connection. The development and execution of a community-driven master plan transformed SouthSide Works into a regional center for private investment, job creation and tax generation that reclaimed the riverfront and blended the site with the existing urban fabric.

“Both awards reinforce the impact we can make locally toward creating jobs and growing our tax base by investing in infrastructure,” said Robert Rubinstein, URA acting executive director.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to URA. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark,” said Barry Matherly, CEcD, FM, IEDC 2016 board chair, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.

The IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Mr. Matherly said.


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