March is Women's History Month, a month where we acknowledge women's historical contributions and recognize the sacrifices made by women, to help make the world, and our country, a more inclusive and diverse place. Meet Project Engineer, Olivia Grunseich, a bright and shining star at BPGS Construction who's been working on the Lower Hill Redevelopment project for nearly two and a half years. She spent her early days orchestrating community outreach efforts focused on minority and women owned businesses (M/WBEs). This critical work effort opened up a direct communication line to Lower Hill job training and employment opportunities, now funneled through the First Source Center.
"Initially, I put a lot of time into building our M/WBE database of Pittsburgh companies, and spent a lot of time assisting our internal team because I became the person that basically had a hand in everything. As time went on and we started growing our partners and team, I was able to dive deeper into the development / construction realm, and began focusing more on tracking our development budget, schedules, and report metrics," says Oliva.
Acting as Development Coordinator for the Lower Hill Redevelopment, Olivia draws from her educational background in civil engineering and construction management to navigate the development process. She attributes her success to date on past projects and says by educating herself on things like contracts, RFI’s and schedules it has helped her have a better understanding of how everything works allowing her to have a better overall understanding of the project. "I’m excited to see through the different stages of construction and development for each of the projects on the Lower Hill and hope to gain a better understanding with each day," she says.
While acknowledging the wealth of knowledge gained working in collaboration with the development team and many consultants, she notes her time spent working alongside BPGS Construction Manager Matt Corace as some of the most impactful thus far;
"Matt has one of the toughest jobs and still puts aside time to teach me about construction. As the construction manager for the project, and a native Pittsburgher, Matt has taught me so much over the years and I really admire his drive and attention to details."
Similarly, Olivia has taken on a "teacher" role coaching small construction business owners in a two part class on bidding and estimating. For the second year in a row she is working with Riverside Center for Innovation BizFIT Tier II Construction cohort.
For women currently in or considering entering the construction field, Olivia's shares these words of encouragement:
"My advice for other women is to not dismiss your own thoughts and feelings. It can be very intimidating to be the only woman in a room full of men, but in a lot of situations, you bring a whole different perspective to the table. Building confidence is so important when working in a male-dominated field and the first step to succeeding is by trusting your own ideas and contributions."
Firms interested in construction opportunities click here
Individuals interesting in construction opportunities should go to the First Source Center
November 30, 2021 - The groundbreaking for Big Tom’s Barbershop was a joyous, community event, well-supported by the Historic Hill District Community, its residents, stakeholders and supporters! Hamm’s Barbershop, located at 2178 Centre Ave., named after the man and a place heavily revered in the Hill, has been vacant for a decade following his death. Now, Thomas Boyd, Sr., who is affectionately known as “Big Tom,” is ready to fill Mr. Hamm’s space with his own successful barbershop a bit further down Centre Avenue.
The heavy investment into Big Tom’s Barbershop emerged because it is a part of Mayor Peduto’s “Avenues of Hope” program and because of the desire to invest in someone who so heavily invested in his community. Dr. Diamonte Walker of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) served as the mistress of ceremonies, while elected officials from Senator Wayne Fontana, State Representative Jake Wheatley, Mayor Bill Peduto and City Councilman, Daniel Lavelle shared their perspectives.
Mr. Boyd will relocate his business to the first floor, while the second and third floors will be rehabbed into four one-bedroom apartments affordable to households at or below 80% area media income. Adjacent lots will be beautified and used as open space for the community and pop up sales.
To date the project has received over $1.94 million in funding from First National Bank (the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corporation), Lower Hill Group, Neighborhood Allies, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and URA. The project has also received over 450 of intensive technical assistance from Neighborhood Allies through their Centralized Real Estate Accelerator.
November 21, 2021 - Lower Hill Redevelopment partners - Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buccini/Pollin Group were proud to partner with UPMC, ACH Clear Pathways and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania on a series of COVID vaccination clinics for Hill District residents on November 21st and December 12th 2021. The "Have a Heart & Take a Shot of Hope Vaccine Clinic", serviced over 130 people including 30 pediatrics. Thank you to all organizations that helped make this event possible: WAMO, UPMC , Pittsburgh Penguins, Giant-Eagle, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Buccini/Pollin Group
Follow @lowerhillredev for information on upcoming clinics and events.
JLL and Buccini/Pollin Group present update on Lower Hill District redevelopment at Building Owners & Managers Association of Pittsburgh
November 10, 2021 - Members of Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) executive team and JLL presented an update on the Lower Hill District redevelopment to a lunch audience of the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) of Pittsburgh at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
Highlights of the update included the announcement that I-579 Cap Park, a new three-acre span would soon be complete and expected to be open this winter (November 2021). Like the 28-acre former Civic Arena site, the CAP construction is a necessary step in the reconnecting of the Hill District to the central business district.
Lower Hill redevelopment presentation updates also included how the development team plans to better include the Black Hill District community with multiple community reinvestment initiatives in the larger redevelopment plan. Anchoring the site is the new $240 million FNB Financial Center located at the corner of Washington Place and Bedford Avenue. This 26-story office tower will feature ground floor retail and serve as the Corporate headquarters for FNB.
Click here to see the site
Lower Hill Redevelopment Partner Finances $7.4 Million Renovation of Hill District's Historic Centre Ave. YMCA
On Friday October 8, 2021, officials participated in a celebratory ribbon cutting at Pittsburgh's historic Centre Avenue YMCA. Through a partnership between the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and ACTION-Housing, Inc. more than $7 million in funds were raised to make repairs, including adding elevator, new bathrooms, air conditioning and more. Plans include 74 sleeping rooms with new private bathrooms, improvements to the kitchen, common areas and programming space. In addition to building upgrades, residents will receive additional wrap around social services.
The 100 year old building is rich in history and one of the1st YMCA's in the country to offer accommodations to African Americans. Tenants over the years included baseball greats Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, boxing legend Joe Louis and singer Ella Fitzgerald. Speakers at the event recognized the buildings significance. It was where the Pittsburgh brand of the NAACP and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh were founded and it was the social center for generations of black Pittsburghers.
The building will be owned by a nonprofit and governed by a board consisting of members from the YMCA, ACTION-Housing and the community. First National Bank (FNB) invested in the project (including loan, tax credits and grant), partnering with ACTION-Housing for the first five years. After those five years, interests will be relinquished and it will wholly be owned by the nonprofit.
“Not only will this help a historically significant institution in the Hill District, but it’s going to help provide sanctuary and qualify of life opportunity for some of our men who are in need,” said State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District in a 2020 interview.
With a long history of service to the community FNB's total investment in the Hill District is in excess of $200 million in loans, investments and grants. Read more about it here.
Let's get social! In collaboration with Lower Hill development partner, the Pittsburgh Penguins, we are delighted to announce monthly ticket giveaways for select events happening at PPG Paints Arena. For a chance to win, simply follow @lowerhillredev (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) and check daily for contest details. Below are pictures from this month's event Gold Over America Tour starring Simone Biles and an all star team of champion gymnasts. All ticket winners will be notified prior to the event with pick up details and PPG Paints arena venue requirements.
October Ticket Giveaway Winners
Gold Over America Tour Starring Simone Biles - October 29, 2021
Lower Hill District social media channels feature content on Hill District community events, the First Source Job Resource Center, construction and professional service job opportunities, M/WBE and small business information, trainings and FNB Financial Center leasing opportunities.
In early October 2021, Lower Hill partner organization and national brokerage / property management powerhouse JLL funded and hosted a cohort of Facilities Management trainees for a series of hands on training sessions at the Energy Innovation Center.
This is the first training session by a Lower Hill affiliate focused on future phases of building operations and administration. Recognizing that less than 1% of commercial real estate management roles belong to minorities, JLL is exploring additional Facilities Management training opportunities for 2022 and beyond as well as partnership opportunities for graduate job placement.
Five proud graduates made the first graduating class:
For more information contact Ed Manko at email@example.com
Lower Hill Invests in Ammon Recreation Center Renovation to Bring Tech Skills Programming to Hill District Youth
October 26, 2021 - With generous support of Lower Hill partners the Pittsburgh Penguins and F.N.B. Corporation, the City of Pittsburgh has transformed Ammon Recreation Center’s second floor into a new dynamic technology lab that will serve as a hub for Rec2Tech. Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works completed the renovation project that includes brand new interior improvements designed to maximize the learning environment for young people highlighted by new furnishings, computers and brand new wireless technology and expanded networking to support the new tech learning lab and other portions of the recreation center. The Grand Opening was celebrated on October 25, 2021.
Ammon Recreation Center was identified by the City and Hill District stakeholders to serve as one of first two hub learning environments in Pittsburgh to host a Rec2Tech program to provide access to technology, learn important job readiness skills like coding, artificial intelligence (AI), computer science and inspire creative exploration. Programming for the space will be managed by Citiparks, who oversees the Rec2Tech program, with partners Ozanam and the Josh Gibson Foundation to activate the space with tech learning opportunities for Hill District youth.
September 28, 2021 - Wilmington-based developer, The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. (BPG), F.N.B. Corporation (FNB), the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Clay Cove Capital are delighted to announce the closing on over $200 million of construction financing for the 26-story FNB Financial Center project, located in the Lower Hill District of Pittsburgh, on Friday, September 10, 2021. Equity for the project has been provided by Clay Cove Capital, one of the largest minority-owned real estate investment firms in the country. This is one of the largest community reinvestment projects in the state of Pennsylvania and has been recognized as a model for inclusive development around the United States. A ceremonial groundbreaking for the project was held earlier this month as well.
“We are proud to achieve such important milestones for this transformational project – one that’s made possible by the strong partnership behind the FNB Financial Center,” BPG Co-President Chris Buccini said. “This partnership is made up of champions, and this project would not happen without our partners’ love of their hometown and our collective commitment to making Pittsburgh a better place for all its residents. We are excited about the future of this City, this community, and this significant investment, and look forward to working together to make great things happen in the Historic Hill District.”
The team’s community reinvestment efforts received a major boost from closing, as the transaction delivered over $7 million of monetized tax abatement benefits to the community-directed Greater Hill District Reinvestment Fund. The funding will be used to invest in development projects and other community needs in the Greater Hill District as outlined in the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan (CCIP) between the neighborhood and the developers. Possible applications for the funding could include local redevelopment projects, youth education programs, rent and mortgage assistance and other wealth-building and capacity-building efforts.
Bomani M. Howze, Vice President of Development for the Buccini/Pollin Group, said, “We are excited to have delivered on our promise of the first installment of $7.2 Million toward the Greater Hill District Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund. The tax abatement monetization from the FNB Financial Center symbolizes a critical delivery on our commitment to ensuring that catalytic Lower Hill projects are developed to have lasting impact in the Middle and Upper Hill District.”
No other development in the city of Pittsburgh has ever generated such a large degree of direct cash impact to help invest in adjacent underserved neighborhood.
“I am grateful that we are not only seeing the development in the Lower Hill move forward to right the wrongs of the past and create opportunities in the historic Hill District, but that our development partners are demonstrating their commitment to the Hill community by providing community investment funding up front,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “I’d like to thank all of the partners in this development and the Hill District community for creating a model where communities and developers can work together to help ensure the community benefits and drives investment in their neighborhood from these developments.”
Based on estimates, the Lower Hill tax abatement district could generate up to $40 million overall for the Greater Hill beginning with the FNB Financial Center. The 26-story mixed-use tower is designed to kick-start the redevelopment of the historic Pittsburgh neighborhood and serve as the corporate headquarters of FNB, the parent company of First National Bank.
“This point is the beginning of a transformational development not only for the Lower Hill, but the region,” said David Morehouse, CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the office tower’s September 1st groundbreaking ceremony.
The tower is expected to generate 1,250 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs and over $40 million in investments in the Middle and Upper Hill District. It will contain more than 475,000 square feet of Class A office space, consolidate FNB’s regional headquarters operations, and include open space and terraces for community events at the adjacent Plaza at FNB Financial Center. Construction of the tower at Bedford Avenue and Washington Place will further restore connections between the Greater Hill District and Downtown Pittsburgh and is the first step in an estimated $1 billion redevelopment of the 28-acre former Civic Arena site led by BPG, the Pittsburgh Penguins and their partners.
To expand participation by minority and women-owned businesses in the project, the development team hired e-Holdings at the start of the year to boost inclusive procurement efforts. In June, the Penguins and BPG opened the First Source Center on Centre Avenue as a one stop shop for those seeking assistance with employment and contracting opportunities at the site, which, following construction of FNB Financial Center, will next include a live music venue, parking garage and housing.
Construction of FNB Financial Center will be led by P.J. Dick. Internationally renowned Gensler is leading the design team for the project. The Pittsburgh office of JLL is responsible for commercial leasing efforts.
Construction of FNB Financial Center and the Plaza is expected to be completed in late 2023.
In this month's episode of Wealth Building Wednesdays, BPG's VP of Development, Bomani Howze sits down with Dr. Diamonte Walker, Deputy Executive Director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) to discuss the importance of public-private partnerships. Dr. Walker is committed to advancing and measuring equitable development by ensuring residents, business owners and institutions face the new realities of Pittsburgh's transforming economy. Hear from her in this month's episode. You won't want to miss it!
Planning Commission Approval of First Phase FNB Financial Center Development Project Confirms that Lower Hill is Ready to Rise
The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), Clay Cove Capital and the Pittsburgh Penguins are pleased to have received unanimous Planning Commission approval today to advance the first phase of the Lower Hill redevelopment, the 26-story FNB Financial Center.
“Priorities for our Lower Hill redevelopment go far beyond constructing new buildings, but are about investing in people. We have a great opportunity with this project to write a new chapter for the Lower Hill, create jobs and wealth opportunities for residents of the Hill District, and have an ongoing positive economic impact on the neighborhood and the entire city,” said Bomani Howze, Vice President of Development for BPG.
Business owners and people seeking jobs and long-term careers stand to benefit as well as the Lower Hill leads a regional rebuild from the aftermath of the pandemic. The iconic new headquarters of First National Bank is the all-important catalyst to kick off phases of development and waves of community reinvestment.
The first phase FNB tower will generate over $50 million in tangible benefits for the Hill District community, not including the tens of millions of dollars in contracts for construction services with Black- and women-owned businesses are factored in later this year. This first project to build a signature mixed-use building featuring the latest in office space design, welcoming retail space, on-site parking and vibrant public terraces and plazas, and will be a catalyst for continued redevelopment of the Lower Hill.
Priorities for the Lower Hill go far beyond dollars and cents as well. Hill District residents will see job opportunities for friends and families, funding to expand a business or fix a roof, as well as a boost to the long-anticipated Centre Avenue corridor revitalization. Additional highlights in “resident-oriented investments” include support for the UPREP Milliones High School’s CTE program and scholarships for post-secondary education.
“America needs a new model for equitable development, and we are working with Hill District stakeholders to create it,” BPG’s co-President Chris Buccini said. “We are particularly grateful to Councilman Daniel Lavelle for his determined leadership to help elevate our engagement efforts and to guide us to the doorstep of full approvals. This iconic FNB Financial Center project will be the place where Pittsburgh builds back better.”
“We are proud to be partnering with FNB and The Buccini/Pollin Group to rebuild the Lower Hill into the new center of energy” said David Morehouse, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “After years of planning and hard work, we are now advancing to create thousands of jobs, build job and wealth opportunities for local residents, and delivering upon our long-term commitment to invest in the growth of this region and in the revitalization of the historic Hill District.”
Community partnerships, capacity building and providing better access to capital are part of the development team’s commitment to the Hill District.
Clay Cove’s Managing Partner Amachie K. Ackah noted, “Monumental projects like this are not possible without the hard work and dedication of an amazing team. I would like to thank our development partner, The Buccini/Pollin Group, along with our championship caliber local partners, First National Bank, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the dedicated team in Mayor Peduto’s administration for their steadfast support and leadership.”
Watch the full Planning Commission Meeting here:
Penguins And BPG Announce Opening of Lower Hill First Source Employment Opportunity Center in the Historic Hill House
The Pittsburgh Penguins and development partner The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) are pleased to announce the opening of a Lower Hill First Source Employment Opportunity Center in the heart of Hill District, blocks away from the 28-acre Lower Hill redevelopment. The mission of the First Source Center is to provide a central location for residents to obtain better access to job opportunities, career training, and pathways to construction, professional and service-related employment in connection with the Lower Hill redevelopment, as well as more broadly with other employers across the City and region.
The First Source Center will be located on the first floor of the historic Hill House, located at 1835 Centre Avenue, in space leased from E Properties and Development, the owner and manager of the property. The build-out construction for the space is being completed by Massaro in a partnership with TD Construction, a Hill District-based minority contracting firm owned by Derrick Tillman and Darnell Dinkins.
Delivering upon the commitment by the development team under the Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan (CCIP) relating to the Lower Hill redevelopment, the grand opening for the First Source Center is planned for mid-May.
The Penguins and BPG recruited a group of founding partners to launch and operate the First Source Center, including PJ Dick, Massaro, and Mascaro construction companies, Partner4 Work, PA CareerLink, the Builders Guild of Western PA, and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.
Programming at the First Source Center will assist residents seeking job opportunities, career training, career exploration, resume building and other workforce development services. Job readiness support including transportation assistance, record expungement, pardon assistance, and referrals to social and pro bono legal services will also be available at the First Source Center.
“We are excited to help bring job opportunities to residents in the heart of the Hill District,” said Dorin Dickerson, Director of Development with the Pittsburgh Penguins and formerly with Mascaro construction. “The opening of the First Source Center is timed with our advancement of redevelopment on the Lower Hill, which will bring thousands of construction jobs and thousands more permanent jobs to the city and the Hill District community,” said Dickerson.
The Penguins and BPG are coordinating a comprehensive outreach effort to fully inform residents from the Hill District and across the city and region of all employment opportunities on the Lower Hill redevelopment.
F.N.B. Corporation Invests in Initiatives Serving the Hill District Community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH, PA – April 27, 2021 – F.N.B. Corporation (NYSE: FNB) announced the expansion of its commitment to drive economic development in the Hill District community of Pittsburgh, PA, with a significant investment in programs aiming to connect local businesses and entrepreneurs with essential funding.
Highlighting FNB’s commitment is a $5 million investment in the launch of its new, proprietary Hill District Gap Lending Program, which is designed to address financing gaps for real estate projects in the community. FNB will provide loans of up to $400,000 and flexible lending parameters for local businesses that require additional funding to complete a capital structure so they can move forward with developing or redeveloping community assets. With an emphasis on serving low- to moderate-income and predominantly minority census tracts in the Hill District, the program intends to support projects that improve the community and promote wealth building through the development and ownership of commercial real estate.
To ensure resources are directed toward opportunities that will best benefit the Hill District, FNB will collaborate with community organizations including the Hill Community Development Corporation and Neighborhood Allies to identify and engage prospective participants.
The Company also has invested $2 million in the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) and Invest PGH, Inc., a newly certified Community Development Financial Institution that spun off of the URA, to support lending programs for businesses that traditionally have experienced financing challenges. As part of FNB’s investment, $1 million will be utilized by the URA’s Small Contractor Line of Credit Program for minority contractors in the Hill District who are taking on projects that require access to working capital. Pending URA Board approval, the line of credit program will be launched on May 13, 2021. In addition, $1 million will be provided directly to Invest PGH, Inc. for its Accelerating Business Expansion Loan (ABEL) Program, which stimulates growth for small- to medium-sized businesses through flexible financing for real estate purchases, development and other expansion needs. Through ABEL, FNB’s funds will primarily benefit businesses in Pittsburgh’s Hill District and Northside communities.
“Our commitment to these initiatives, including our own new gap lending program, both extends FNB’s long history of service to the Hill District and affirms our plans for ongoing investment in this vibrant neighborhood,” said Vincent J. Delie, Jr., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of F.N.B. Corporation and First National Bank. “Our goal is to connect historically underserved members of our community with access to capital and other resources so that we can foster opportunities and, ultimately, drive growth and success for the greater Hill District and the Pittsburgh Region overall.”
These programs build on FNB’s community lending, investments and strong relationships in the Hill District and align to its mission to improve the quality of life in the communities it serves. The Company has announced significant contributions to the Hill District Federal Credit Union and to the development of an innovative education facility in the Ammon Community Recreation Center. Throughout its footprint, FNB has strategically invested millions of dollars in local initiatives and relief funds that stimulate job growth, create affordable housing opportunities and foster overall social and economic development.
Visit FNB’s website to learn more about its legacy of community engagement and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
About F.N.B. Corporation F.N.B. Corporation (NYSE: FNB), headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a diversified financial services company operating in seven states and the District of Columbia. FNB’s market coverage spans several major metropolitan areas including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham and the Piedmont Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point) in North Carolina. The Company has total assets of more than $38 billion and nearly 340 banking offices throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. FNB provides a full range of commercial banking, consumer banking and wealth management solutions through its subsidiary network, which is led by its largest affiliate, First National Bank of Pennsylvania, founded in 1864. Commercial banking solutions include corporate banking, small business banking, investment real estate financing, government banking, business credit, capital markets and lease financing. The consumer banking segment provides a full line of consumer banking products and services, including deposit products, mortgage lending, consumer lending and a complete suite of mobile and online banking services. FNB's wealth management services include asset management, private banking and insurance. The common stock of F.N.B. Corporation trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FNB" and is included in Standard & Poor's MidCap 400 Index with the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) Regional Banks Sub-Industry Index. Customers, shareholders and investors can learn more about this regional financial institution by visiting the F.N.B. Corporation website at www.fnbcorporation.com.