Greensburg resident Steve Gifford leased parking areas for his house tenants in 2016 above the previous LaRose ladies’s vogue store at
124 S. Predominant St. within the metropolis.
Now, due to a zoning ordinance change accredited final week by metropolis council, off-street parking necessities now not will apply for these pursuing growth of property within the downtown Greensburg district.
Residential growth is a key part many are enthusiastic about within the quest to revitalize town’s downtown district, in response to remarks by Gifford and different presenters and panelists at Tuesday’s Greensburg Improvement Convention.
“There’s an actual want for residential growth downtown,” stated Brian Lawrence, govt director of Westmoreland County’s Redevelopment Authority and Land Financial institution and member of town planning fee.
Keynote speaker Invoice Arrowooden, subject companies specialist for the nonprofit Pennsylvania Downtown Heart, stated having folks residing downtown is necessary for growing a metropolis middle that’s vibrant at night time and through the day, when Greensburg attracts folks to work and to do enterprise within the county seat.
Develop residential life
“You must develop the residential life downtown,” Arrowooden stated. “You must get folks residing downtown. That’s how you’ve gotten a 24-hour economic system, not a 9-5 economic system.”
“Folks wish to reside on the town if the housing inventory is sweet, if it’s inexpensive.”
“That tends to be the trail ahead in revitalizing a few of the previous retail districts,” stated Alec Italiano, govt director of the nonprofit Greensburg Neighborhood Improvement Corp. that organized the convention. “It’s retaining issues going after 5 o’clock.”
Greater than 130 folks gathered on the Seton Hill College Performing Arts Heart for the second such occasion within the metropolis, a follow-up to an inaugural convention held in 2019.
The convention sparked discussions about growing scholar housing in Greensburg.
Seton Hill College administrator Annie City stated there’s a want for extra housing in Greensburg to assist accommodate graduate college students attending the college’s city-based campus — together with about 200
who’re enrolled within the Lake Erie Faculty of Osteopathic Drugs program there.
City stated the college additionally enrolls about 1,500 undergraduate college students and homes 900 of them in dormitories.
Gifford stated he’s had success together with his AB Mac Properties firm, growing 4 Predominant Avenue lofts above the previous LaRose Store, now occupied by the Wicks & Wax candle studio. Initially renting to all medical college students, he stated his tenants now are a mixture of college students, an auto dealership employee and a pair.
He famous the elimination of a parking requirement for downtown properties could assist different builders now. Regardless of the necessity for off-street parking on the time, he stated he discovered success with higher-end lofts that includes excessive ceilings which are extra interesting to many college college students than smaller “old-fashioned” residences
“A few of our tenants didn’t have automobiles,” Gifford stated “That’s why they wished to reside downtown.”
When town’s downtown parking mandate was in place, Lawrence stated, “It created a variety of challenges for builders in our group. We wish to have locations, not parking areas.”
Based mostly on a latest native research, metropolis officers have stated there’s ample parking in downtown Greensburg, though it is probably not as conveniently situated as some drivers would really like.
Gifford operates one other scholar housing property that falls underneath a metropolis rule prohibiting growth of such properties inside 500 ft of one another in residential neighborhoods.
After a go to to Greensburg in the summertime, a staff of consultants from The Counselors of Actual Property Consulting Corps “urged stress-free these boundaries to encourage extra scholar housing,” stated Jeff Raykes, metropolis planning director. “College students are a giant a part of our group.”
As it’s now, the 500-foot restriction doesn’t apply in Greensburg’s downtown district. “You need college students to be downtown, to be near the whole lot they want,” Raykes stated.
Jeremy Springer, an area developer with Comity Land LLC, stated he needed to pull again from plans for high-end residences in Greensburg as a result of there was no marketplace for them. As an alternative, he settled on smaller-scale models.
“Three-bedroom residences don’t must be in downtown Greensburg,” he stated.
Whereas the Counselors of Actual Property introduced doable growth concepts for a number of main vacant downtown Greensburg buildings, a gaggle of Seton Hill college students supplied their recommendations at Tuesday’s convention.
The CRE staff indicated the previous PNC Financial institution Constructing at 125 S. Predominant St. may very well be suited to new life as a co-working area. There, potential customers together with guests to the county courthouse and native college college students may share workplace area and companies, as wanted.
The Seton Hill college students cited the identical constructing amongst a number of downtown websites they proposed for co-working area or different makes use of. Additionally they mentioned, relying on the actual constructing, such extra facilities as baby care, health and kitchen services.
One of many Seton Hill college students, sophomore Trifol Headman, pointed to the reciprocal advantages of getting college students making use of services in downtown Greensburg. “I feel that may assist companies, assist the group and construct relations between the scholars and the group,” he stated.
Arrowood harassed the significance of creating a singular id for Greensburg, “discovering that factor that makes your city sing. Saying you’re a fantastic place to reside, work and store will not be sufficient anymore.”
He stated metropolis leaders ought to hearken to a number of voices regarding group points, however all events must be pulling in the identical route as they give the impression of being to rework the city for the higher. “Your city can turn out to be the city you need it to be,” he stated. “Be taught to develop your story and inform it collectively.”
Dan DeBone, president of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, stated the Greensburg space has many property that may appeal to builders. However, he stated, “we must be extra aggressive” in selling growth and pursuing associated planning, whereas working to stem the inhabitants loss that’s anticipated to proceed within the county.
The event convention comes as an area committee of stakeholders, led by Seton Hill, is working with a advisor to think about choices for a health-and-education hall in Greensburg. In the meantime, one other group, led by the Greensburg Neighborhood Improvement Corp., is in search of proposals for a advisor to craft a website plan for redeveloping a vacant lot on South Predominant Avenue the place the dilapidated Advance Furnishings constructing was razed.
“It’s actually a clean canvas for a developer to come back alongside and make the very best and finest use of this property proper within the coronary heart of city,” Italiano stated.
On the finish of the convention, attendees have been inspired to take a self-guided tour of a number of dozen downtown properties which are on the market or that showcase latest or in-progress growth tasks.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Assessment employees author. You may contact Jeff by electronic mail at email@example.com or through Twitter .