U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14) praised the Department of Commerce for awarding a $2 million Economic Development Administration grant to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Pittsburgh for additional redevelopment of Bakery Square in the Larimer section of the City.
"This federal grant will help provide the public infrastructure necessary for the second phase of the Bakery Square redevelopment, which has brought new life to the old Nabisco bakery site," Congressman Doyle said today at the press conference announcing the award. "Bakery Square has been a great example of a successful public-private partnership to redevelop and re-purpose an old industrial site and revitalize a distressed community. Bakery Square 2.0 will build on the original project's success and create more office and lab space for Google, UPMC, other current tenants, and new tenants from local universities and medical centers."
Nabisco built a large bakery in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Larimer in 1918 and operated it for the next 80 years. In 1999, after Nabisco closed the facility, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwest Pennsylvania bought the building and leased it for several years to the Atlantic Baking Company, but the company went bankrupt several years later. In 2006, the City declared the vacant facility blighted, and the following year the property was sold to Walnut Capital, which began redeveloping the site. The redevelopment of Bakery Square involved government at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as more than $100 million in private investment. Work on the site was completed in 2010, and Google moved its Pittsburgh headquarters there. The $130 million project is approaching its projection for creating more than 2,000 jobs.
The Bakery Square project has been a huge success, but the facility has reached its limits while demand for space continues to grow. In response, Walnut Capital has purchased a 12-acre site across the street from Bakery Square from the Pittsburgh School District and is working with the URA to redevelop it. This new phase of redevelopment has been tagged "Bakery Square 2.0." It will include offices, labs, retail, and residential components.
"Since I was elected to Congress, my top priority has been creating new jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania," Congressman Doyle said. "Consequently, I have supported federal programs that target economically distressed communities for revitalization -- programs like environmental assessment and remediation, infrastructure investment, job training, and tax incentives like the New Market Tax Credit. I've also worked to promote federal investments that play to Pittsburgh's strengths -- like our world-class research universities and our experience in manufacturing and engineering. In addition, I've worked successfully to secure federal funding for specific projects here in Pittsburgh with a lot of potential for creating new jobs -- like CMU's CyLab, the Monroeville Supercomputing Center, and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Federal assistance like that has been invaluable in helping this region recover from the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s. The grant we're announcing today is just the latest example of how the federal government is helping communities like ours rebuild and retool for the economic opportunities of the 21st Century. Bakery Square 2.0 will transform obsolete public school facilities into a mixed-use development based on high-tech and medicine, two major growth sectors in the coming years."
The EDA grant will be used for construction of public infrastructure like streets and utilities for the office portion of the site, and other government funding will be used for other site preparation activities, but the vast majority of the funding for this $120 million project will come from the private sector.