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Landmarks lends $885K for East Liberty project

By Ron DaParma
Thursday, January 24, 2008

An East Liberty project has received an $885,000 boost from a nonprofit corporation formed last year by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to spark community revitalization.

The loan, the first announced by the Landmarks Community Capital Corp. Urban Economic Loan Fund, is helping the East Liberty Development Corp. rehabilitate two historic homes on Rippey Street and revitalize the former YMCA building on Whitfield Street.

It has been combined with a $250,000 investment by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority to help bring a blend of condominiums and retail space to the neighborhood.

“The loan follows our mission of being a first-in, first-out financing organization for holistic community revitalization,” said Howard B. Slaughter Jr., CEO of Landmarks Community Capital, on Wednesday.

The loan is the largest made by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to a community organization, Slaughter said.

The East Liberty Development Corp. is using $135,000 to rehabilitate the two Queen Anne style houses at 5809-15 Rippey St. — described as “historically significant, but dilapidated” — and convert them into eight market-rate condos. The work is under way on the $1.4 million project.

In addition, Landmarks Community Capital is partnering with Meiz Development Co. of Denver to develop 10,000 square feet of street-level retail space and about 30 to 35 market-rate condominiums on the upper floors of the five-story YMCA building. The remaining $750,000 will be used to acquire the property.

“These will be the first market-rate condominiums in our downtown core and will be a key part of the redevelopment of East Liberty’s town square,” said Maelene Myers, executive director of East Liberty Development.

When Landmarks Community Capital started operations late last year, Slaughter said he hoped to raise $10 million to $15 million to invest in community development and revitalization projects in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

In its first year, Slaughter said he hopes to fund at least four or five projects ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. “We’re on track” to make that number of investments, he said.

Ron DaParma can be reached at or 412-320-7907.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633