- Community Impact
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The University of Pittsburgh has announced its intention to redevelop its long-standing property at 3401 Boulevard of the Allies in Oakland, formerly the site of Quality Inn.
To help shape its plans for the site, Pitt heard from Oakland residents throughout its Institutional Master Plan process and worked closely with city planners and public officials. Resident feedback, consistent over dozens of conversations, led the University to propose bringing a grocery store to Oakland in addition to adding residential housing units.
“In nearly every conversation the University of Pittsburgh has had with Oakland residents about Pitt’s presence in the neighborhood, the same two items—a grocery store and more resident housing—came up as priorities,” said Lina Dostilio, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for community engagement. “It was obvious there was a need, and we are excited to partner with our community to help realize these long-desired amenities."
The plans for residential units—which are intended for nonstudent housing—offer University of Pittsburgh faculty and staff new walk-to-work options while also enabling them to take root in the community.
“The addition of walk-to-work housing and a grocery store at this critical intersection is a win for the entire Oakland community,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “I appreciate the University’s partnership in bringing a needed grocery store back to the community and making an investment in workforce housing.”
The University has enlisted Pittsburgh-based neighborhood developer Walnut Capital—selected after a competitive search process—to redevelop the site. The opportunity materialized after Quality Inn and Suites, which had long leased the grounds from Pitt, vacated the location earlier this year.
“The University of Pittsburgh is really stepping up as a partner in the neighborhood,” said Pittsburgh City Council member Bruce Kraus. “The site is a critical connection between central Oakland, South Oakland and Oakcliffe, and our neighbors have wanted nonstudent housing and a grocery store—along with removing the blighted townhouses on Bates—for a long time, and Pitt is getting it done. This is a huge step for Oakland.”
Mary Beth McGrew, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for planning, design and real estate, said she is equally eager for the plans to take shape. “This project is truly catalytic,” she said. “It creates an exciting new corridor into Oakland and is the product of an authentic and ongoing partnership among the University of Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh and our neighbors.”