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.