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.
Check out Wealth Building Wednesdays for candid conversations with industry professionals about wealth building, development and capital investing with host Bomani Howze, VP of Development at The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG).
New episodes drop the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM.
Upcoming Episodes and Guests:
July 14, 2021 - Chris Buccini Co-President of Buccini/Pollin Group
August 11, 2021 - Amachie Ackah CEO & Founder of Clay Cove Capital
September 8, 2021
October 13, 2021
November 10, 2021
December 8, 2021
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Wealth Building Wednesdays - Episode 1
The Grand Opening of the First Source Center went beyond expectation on Tuesday evening June 8th and was attended by a substantial cross section of community members, local elected officials from the county and city, Rich Fitzgerald, Mayor Bill Peduto, Leonard Hammond (representative from Jake Wheatley's office) and City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, as well as Development Team members, Kevin Acklin, Boris Kaplan, Bomani M. Howze and Dr. Ellis. were all in attendance to mark this special occasion.
Tracey McCants-Lewis welcomed everyone and introduced emcee, Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis, who was also the last speaker from the development team. Her enthusiasm for the workforce center shown was apparent as she directed the crowd to take out their phones and save the phone number to the First Source Center. Every speaker shared this enthusiasm with inspiring and hopeful words about the historic moment, ways we will all work to rectify the past, and look forward to the many opportunities we have to “honor and repair” to “get it right, this time.”
The stage was flanked with a nice podium that had a “First Source Center” logo on the front with artwork from Charlotte and Mobutu from Moka Gallery framing the stage with two acrylic pieces that captured the essence of the A-Train and the Jazz Artists accompanying it. We also had a beautiful textile piece from Dawn Sturgess on display. After the speakers commenced festivities moved inside the walls of the historic Hill House and into the doors of the First Source Center. There we had two prints from artist, Norman Brown, on display in the front intake office and in the interview room. We have more room for art.
Tapping local talent, the event was catered by Chef Claudy’s Eminent Hospitality and he served salmon and chicken kabobs with vegetables. There were also Perrier sparkling waters and still waters, along with fruit and small bags of assorted chips. Delicious!
After the speakers spoke onstage, it started raining and we all went inside for the ribbon cutting! Lined up were the elected officials and members of the development team, with oversized and regular sized ones. Dr. Ellis did the countdown and the First Source Center was officially opened. Visitors were directed to the intake and interview office and conference rooms. They enjoyed seeing what we had to offer. PA CareerLink was very well represented at their table in the hallway and they were there to engage the public and answer questions.
Residents posted pictures on Facebook and other social media and celebrated the occasion. Some praised the event and appreciated having nice “to go” containers from the caterer.
As the rain stopped and the crowd thinned out, we began to clean up. Tracey, two members of her crew and Paul Ellis helped put the furniture back upstairs via the elevator and Tracey and Dr. Ellis were the last to leave.
On the first day following the Grand Opening, the phone calls came pouring in (there were 9 voicemails) and we had some visitors, from job seekers to potential partners—-a company needing forklift operators and Catalyst Connections, providing free training for welders, machinists and much more! An individual interested in being hired came in the morning and by the afternoon, they had a job offer!
When PJ Dick arrived on site via Theresa Giancarlo, there was a line of persons waiting to see her. The First Source Center concierge was managing the process and their schedule was packed! The First Source Center is clearly filling a need for both employers and future employees in the city of Pittsburgh!
Stay tuned for more great news!
See all the event pictures here
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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.