Editorial: West Oakland renovation breeds community improvement

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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The Allegheny County Health Department, located on Forbes Avenue, will soon be renovated. 

The West Oakland neighborhood is certainly in need of redevelopment, especially because it has taken a back seat to the infrastructural improvements to the portions of Oakland located on Pitt’s campus.

MWK Forbes LLC, a development team working to reinvigorate the neighborhood, is hoping to create a larger building that will house office space and apartments. The Allegheny County Council has approved a full renovation to the site in order to pave the way for innovation and new opportunities.

The move is finalizing after four years of delays, and it could be a great opportunity for both the state of the economy in Oakland and for students searching for housing options that are close the heart of campus.

MWK Forbes intends to expand the existing site to nearly three times its size. The plan calls for the 48,000-square-foot health building to be demolished. In its place, a 120,000-square-foot office building will house open space available for local businesses and organizations.

The development team in control of the project has the capability to create a useful and convenient hub for Pitt students and the greater Oakland community, and this team seems to be no stranger to enhancing the experience of residents and students in Pittsburgh. Namely, the partnership previously transformed a terminal building on Second Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh into a residential building for students attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

The new site, part of the Oakland 2025 initiative to enhance the infrastructure of the city, will assist in creating a better environment for residents and students. The new site has the ability not only to attract businesses and local organizations to the Oakland area, but also to enhance the living experience of many long-term residents and students through the creation of new, quality living spaces.

Dennis Davin, director of development for Allegheny County, realizes the benefits of this rare opportunity.

“In terms of opportunities for new development, and new things that are happening in Oakland, there aren’t many places that have this type of access right directly in all that activity and also spans Forbes and Fifth avenues,” Davin said.

By improving the aesthetics of Oakland with massive renovations and a promise to enhance the quality of living in the area, the coupled effects of MWK Forbes and local organizations such as the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation can help to improve life for Oakland residents and Pitt students. 

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