Business District Revitalization
Reinvigorating a Hilltop Neighborhood
Perched high above Pittsburgh’s skyline, the Hilltop neighborhood of Allentown serves as the community’s anchor business district. In an effort to revitalize Allentown, several organizations and partners – including Dollar Bank, PNC Bank, and UPMC Health Plan – provided annual commitments to help spur economic growth.
At the heart of the growth is the revitalization of East Warrington Avenue, the neighborhood's main business corridor. Home to local eateries such as Alla Famiglia, Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant, Black Forge Coffee House, Breakfast at Shelly’s, Paisano’s Pizzeria and Onion Maiden, East Warrington Avenue also boasts co-working and professional services-oriented businesses such as Work Hard Pittsburgh and Fame15 Creative.
Bringing Revitalization to Life
Through a variety of initiatives – such as rent abatement and signage grants; marketing and promotion of special events; improving public spaces with art and lot cleanups; technical assistance and supporting co-working spaces – the revitalization of the neighborhood is well underway. Helping to fuel the momentum is Hilltop Alliance’s Allentown Business District Manager, who links prospective businesses to property owners with available space, and provides support to new, viable businesses through available grant funding.
Whether yours is a new or existing business, our key business district revitalization programs, detailed below, give you a window into what we offer!
Business Rent Abatement
Eligible new businesses that sign a multi-year lease in a vacant commercial storefront in Allentown (on East Warrington, Arlington, or Beltzhoover Avenue) may apply for the Allentown Rent Abatement Program, which offers to pay 50% of the business's monthly rent, up to $400 per month, for one year. Other grant funding is available to support marketing and outreach for new businesses, such as exterior business signage.
All applications for grant funds available are subject to review by the Allentown Business District Committee. Applicants must present a comprehensive business plan with their grant submission. Priority consideration will be given to businesses that employ six or more daytime employees.
Industry on Industry
Begun in Spring 2016 and concluding in Spring 2018, Industry on Industry welcomed multiple new artist/maker businesses to the neighborhood. For two years, Hilltop Alliance paid for 50% of the rent for new artists/makers to locate their business to a property in Allentown. In return for the rent subsidy, participants were asked to develop a temporary public art project in the neighborhood. A small material budget was offered in addition to the rent subsidy.
The program sought artists and makers with an interest in becoming part of the larger neighborhood. By offering affordable workspace, supporting their business growth and development, and involving them in community activities, Industry on Industry aspired to retain participants long-term. The primary location was a 20,000 square foot building owned by RE360, and previous home to a cabinetmaker, woodworker, fabrication artist, and event space. Sitting at 829 Industry Street, this raw, historic warehouse features several loading docks, shared space, and 24-hour access, making it the perfect location for artists and makers.
Improving Shared Space
In addition to our rent abatement programs, Hilltop Alliance is committed to connecting and working with interested entrepreneurs and other stakeholders within the business district. What does that commitment look like? Check out a few more of our programs in action:
Special Events: We help to host and promote events that encourage the media and public to get to know Allentown’s thriving business district. Signature events include Open in Allentown, Taste of Allentown, Burgs and Bites food tours, and Small Business Saturdays, among others.
Signage Grants: We provide matching grants and assist with Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) façade grants, to promote new business development and commercial property reinvestment.
Public Space Improvements: Walk along our streets and you’ll discover public art and vacant lot beautification efforts in the most unexpected locations, such as the Allentown Lunchtime Lot next to Paisano’s Pizzeria.
Spark: New in 2018, we are launching the concept of the small street park, or “spark.” A raised platform that would typically be used as a parking space, a spark merges landscaping and dining out. The first of Pittsburgh’s two SPARKs will occur outside of a loading zone at local vegan eatery Onion Maiden, and will be open May through November.
Business District Revitalization in the News
Interested in learning more?