Rose Center for Public Leadership Working with Mayor Peduto on Redevelopment of Almono Site

 In All News, Press Releases

PITTSBURGH, PA – February 23, 2015 – The Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and several local officials to evaluate redevelopment plans for the 178-acre Almono site in the city. The panel of experts from around the nation assembled by the Rose Center will complement planning by the site’s owners by advising the city on how to improve the social, physical and economic connections between development on the former steel mill site and the adjacent Hazelwood neighborhood as well as the knowledge and innovation centers in downtown Pittsburgh and nearby Oakland. The panel will also offer recommendations on how Almono could become a model for environmentally sustainable redevelopment.

The Rose Center’s mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical, and sustainable land use policies. Each year, the center’s Daniel Rose Fellowship program invites the mayors of four large U.S. central cities to select a team with land use decision-making authority to receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge. This year’s fellowship class is from the cities of Pittsburgh, Boston, Omaha and Seattle.

Mayor Peduto’s team includes Karen Abrams, manager of community and diversity affairs for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh; Ray Gastil, director of the department of city planning for the City of Pittsburgh; and Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies in Pittsburgh. In addition to technical assistance on their city’s land use challenge, the fellowship program provides participants with leadership training and professional development opportunities from NLC’s and ULI’s respective programming and networks of private- and public-sector members.

The land use challenge for the city of Pittsburgh, as identified by Mayor Peduto and his team, is to complement and look beyond the scope of current planning by the Almono partners and their consultants, including:

  • Improving physical and programmatic ties to the adjacent neighborhood;
  • Considering how to improve engagement in the redevelopment process with community stakeholders;
  • Measuring the social, equitable and environmental impact of the redevelopment;
  • Establishing better economic and transportation connections to the city’s knowledge and innovation employment hubs in the downtown core, Oakland and emerging districts;
  • Creating a mixed-use plan that serves as a model for environmentally sustainable development

The panel, co-chaired by Pittsburgh’s Rose Fellowship faculty advisers-Chicago-based urban designer Andre Brumfield of Gensler and Nashville developer and civic leader Bert Mathews-will meet with Mayor Peduto and his team to tour the site and meet with community and civic leaders and other stakeholders. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experiences, the panelists will apply the information gathered from the site tour and stakeholder meetings and prepare recommendations for next steps the city can take to move forward with the redevelopment. All of Pittsburgh’s expenses to participate in the program-including the panel’s visit-are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.

According to Rose Center Executive Director Jess Zimbabwe, this work represents an excellent opportunity to transform an existing, underinvested area into a vibrant new development offering housing and employment opportunities, as well as amenities benefiting the entire community. “We are very excited to work with Mayor Peduto and his team to help make the Almono redevelopment proposal a reality,” Zimbabwe said. “The goal is to attract and nurture new businesses and new investment that will provide employment opportunities within a reinvigorated mixed-use urban neighborhood.”

“Local officials play a critical role in land use decision-making, and we are excited to see the opportunities and outcomes in the Almono area that result from the Rose Center’s partnership with the City of Pittsburgh,” said NLC Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “The National League of Cities is proud to support the Rose Center’s mission to work with elected leaders and staff to promote the best land use policies in urban areas, which results in building better communities for our residents.”

“The Rose Center is perfect for our planning for the Almono site, as it brings both world-class expertise and a proven record of making community input integral to its work,” Mayor Peduto said. “Using its guidance we can make this wonderful riverfront site both a global model for sustainable redevelopment and a spark of rebirth for Hazelwood and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Mayor Peduto also serves as vice chair of NLC’s Council on Youth, Education and Families, where he plays a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocating on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with the Administration and at home.

The Daniel Rose Fellowship is the flagship program of the Rose Center, established in 2008 by the ULI Foundation Governor Daniel Rose. The purpose of the fellowship program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning, and analysis needed to successfully improve their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, working retreats at NLC’s and ULI’s national conferences, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities. The cities of Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Hartford, Connecticut; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Minneapolis; Nashville; Oakland, California; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Sacramento, California; Tacoma, Washington and Tampa, Florida have participated in the first five years of the fellowship program.

NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Representatives of the Rose Center will be making a public presentation with preliminary findings from 9-11 a.m. CST on Friday, February 27th, at City Council Chambers located on the Fifth Floor of the City-County Building at 414 Grant Street in Pittsburgh.

About the Rose Center for Public Leadership
Founded in 2008 with a major gift from real estate developer Daniel Rose, the Rose Center provides public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making. The yearlong Daniel Rose Fellowship program provides the mayors of four large U.S. cities with ULI assistance on a local land use development challenge. Beginning in 2014, the Rose Center operates as a partnership between the Urban Land Institute and the National League of Cities.

About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 33,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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