Pittsburgh Yards

Atlanta, GA

Role: Fee Developer

This 31-acre site in south Atlanta has become an economic catalyst for an underserved community.

352 University Ave SW,
Atlanta, GA 30310

Project type
Urban infill, adaptive reuse, mixed use
$ 0 Million
Placed in Service
December 2020
Exit Timing
Development Services Agreement concluded December 2021
Length of Engagement
4.5 years
ESG Impact
LEED Silver, >80% pre-dev dollars to MBE/WBE/LBE firms, >65% hard costs contracted to MBE/WBE firms
101 small business spaces, 5 pads stubbed for future development, community greenspace, shipping container courtyard preparation, five apartments, coworking space
Financing Method
New Markets Tax Credits, Economic Development Administration grant
Financial Partners
Columbia Ventures was a fee developer on behalf of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Project financial partners, as facilitated on behalf of the owner, included: Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc. (Invest Atlanta), Brownfield Revitalization, Enterprise Community Partners, US Bank CDC, and the Economic Development Administration. Northern Trust provided senior debt to the owner.

Pittsburgh Yards is creating a living-wage job ecosystem that spans industries and prioritizes people over profits.

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.

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Other Work
Apartments + Retail
Beacon Station