Pittsburgh, PA, Pittsburgh, Pitt Building

Downtown Pittsburgh’s Pitt Building, Now Black-Owned, Aiming to Ignite Black Businesses

The Greenwood Plan has successfully acquired the historic Pitt Building in downtown Pittsburgh for $4 million, aiming to ignite black businesses.

In a significant stride toward revitalizing economic opportunities for Black entrepreneurs, The Greenwood Plan, a nonprofit organization inspired by the legacy of Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street,” has successfully acquired the historic Pitt Building in downtown Pittsburgh for $4 million, according to AfroTech. The acquisition, finalized on Dec. 21, 2023, marks a pivotal moment for Black creatives and professionals in the city.

Khamil Bailey, the executive director of The Greenwood Plan, envisions the Pitt Building as a thriving hub for Black businesses, creatives, and gig workers. Speaking to The New Pittsburgh Courier, Bailey outlined the organization’s ambitious plans, stating, “We want this to be a Black business incubator…give Black businesses the opportunity to operate in downtown storefronts where they may not have otherwise been able to do so because the terms are not normally favorable.”

Central to The Greenwood Plan’s strategy is programming and rent subsidies, providing a supportive environment for Black entrepreneurs to establish themselves in downtown Pittsburgh. According to the outlet, Bailey emphasized the importance of creating favorable conditions for businesses, enabling them to benefit from the downtown traffic.

A significant focus of the initiative is to attract Black chefs and restaurateurs who are passionate about delivering high-quality dining experiences. Bailey highlighted a major goal: “We want a Black, four-star dining experience to be a part of this building.” This commitment aligns with the broader mission of creating a vibrant and diverse ecosystem within the Pitt Building.

The Greenwood Plan had previously launched Emerald City, a 12,000-square-foot coworking and social space on the second floor of the building in 2021. With the recent acquisition, the organization is expanding its mission to connect partners, resources, and initiatives to Black entrepreneurs, professionals, gig workers, and creatives.

Greenwood Week, an annual business conference hosted by The Greenwood Plan, will continue to play a pivotal role in building social capital and democratizing knowledge in Pittsburgh’s Black business community. The organization’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan emphasizes the importance of this conference as a cornerstone of future initiatives.

In articulating the vision for the Pitt Building, Bailey expressed the desire to revive the legacy of Black businesses in downtown Pittsburgh. He stated, “We want to bring that back, remind people that we (African Americans) are a part of a thriving economy just as anybody else, not just as consumers but as wealth-builders.”

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