South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

New Opportunity Zones Marketplace to help Pittsburgh produce more equitable development projects

 

February 25, 2020



The City of Pittsburgh and the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh are now part of Smart Growth America's new National Opportunity Zones Marketplace, intended to equip local governments, real estate developers and investors, and community leaders with the tools needed to work together to make smart, equitable development possible in Opportunity Zones-and beyond.

Pittsburgh is one of 13 cities chosen to participate in Smart Growth America and LOCUS' National Opportunity Zones Academy, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Barr Foundation. This new Marketplace is designed to allow these 13 local governments to post their shovel-ready development projects and share them with developers and investors looking for equitable development opportunities, and communicate their Opportunity Zone questions, comments, opportunities, and needs.

Mayor William Peduto and URA leaders believe it is vital that the new Opportunity Zones tax incentive is used carefully and deliberately to benefit rather than displace people and create walkable, mixed-use communities with a variety of employment and housing options for everyone.

Through the SGA Marketplace the city and the URA are interested in understanding the ways in which leadership can leverage Opportunity Zones alongside the Pittsburgh Housing Opportunity Fund, Micro-Enterprise Loan Fund, Equitable Empowerment Program, and other longstanding small business, storefront, and incubator initiatives to help further the city's equitable development goals and alleviate residential and commercial displacement concerns.

"Our work with SGA will help us create strategies to harness Opportunity Zones to promote social equity," said Tom Link, director of the URA's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

At its core, this new Marketplace is a transparent, national hub where social impact developers and investors from across the country can come to look for potential projects and places to park their patient capital and partner with cities to invest in equitable development in ways that help the cities meet their goals for affordable housing, economic development, and more.

This new Marketplace is just one part of Smart Growth America's National Opportunity Zones Academy, an 18-month technical assistance, deal-making, and peer learning effort to help cities and towns create place based, community-led approaches to developing sustainable growth and development strategies to transform selected Opportunity Zones into economically-thriving and socially-inclusive, walkable places.

Anyone can view the Marketplace and create a profile to follow along at https://oppsites.com/sgamarketplace.

 

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