352 University Ave SW,
Atlanta, GA 30310
Most of the time, when developers consider the highest and best use of land, especially in the urban context, the focus is singularly on profits. At Pittsburgh Yards, the focus has always been on cultivating community-driven economic development by facilitating jobs for local residents.
In 2006, AECF Atlanta Realty, a subsidiary of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, acquired a 31-acre industrial brownfield site from UPS, with a vision to develop an economic catalyst in an area where living-wage jobs and economic opportunities have been scarce over the past several decades.
The property is located in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Atlanta and enjoys convenient access to interstates I-75, I-85, and I-20. It fronts the Atlanta BeltLine and is close to both Downtown and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Once the multiple phases of the project are complete, Pittsburgh Yards is anticipated to be a vibrant, living-wage job ecosystem that clusters a range of businesses together, including industrial, office and administrative, artistic and creative enterprises. In a joint venture partnership with Atlanta-based The Core Venture Studio, Columbia Ventures was brought on board as a fee developer by the Foundation to help bring this vision to life.
Phase I of development includes the adaptive reuse of an existing 61,000 square-foot structure, named “The Nia Building” by community members, into a highly amenitized commercial village of over 100 small businesses, a multi-purpose green space for community and recreational activation, a business- and food-centric container yard along the BeltLine, five adaptable pad-ready sites for future tenants, and the infrastructure to support these components.
This phase was funded by a combination of New Markets Tax Credit equity, owner equity, and a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Nia Building opened to tenants in the winter of 2020, and it is LEED Silver certified. The Nia Building is LEED Silver certified.
The first phase of development at Pittsburgh Yards involved community residents to a degree that is rarely effectuated in real estate development in the U.S. Local residents named the development and its components, they influenced the design of the property, they participated in tours of comps and the selection of the Property Management firm, some landed construction jobs at the site, they determined the logo and brought history, art, and culture into the development.
This led to a really special, unique, and fitting place for local residents to collaborate, share, grow, and thrive.