The City of Pittsburgh’s redevelopment agency is accepting applications for funding from developers on projects to convert office buildings into affordable housing.
The city’s goals are to improve downtown vitality, make better use of underutilized and vacant commercial office space, and alleviate a housing shortage. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh’s Downtown Conversion Program will use its own funds along with state money and $2.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for the initiative.
Pittsburgh’s program will provide loans for downtown projects that dedicate at least 20% of housing units for residents earning at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI). It will also prioritize projects that lease to and hire downtown workers earning 60% of AMI or lower, use the city’s Housing Choice residential assistance voucher program, and maximize other public and private financing sources.
Other cities have launched similar strategies as they experience reduced utilization of downtown office space resulting from more remote and hybrid work arrangements by enterprises. With fewer workers commuting to downtowns each day, there is less commercial activity. Increasing the number of people who live in these areas will counteract that trend.