Things to do in Larimer

row homes, West Elm in Bakery Square, mural, Larimer Community Garden and Urban Farm and GTECH Strategies on Hamilton Ave (all photos by Erika Gidley)

Larimer is a small neighborhood in a prime location facing big, hopeful changes.

Stats (via Niche)

  • Size: 0.445 sq. miles
  • Population: 1,452
  • Median Rent: $713
  • Median Home Value: $88,304

There’s a quiet hum rising in Larimer and it’s beginning to sound like an overture for urban redevelopment.

This small community, known as the Little Italy of Pittsburgh in the 1960s, has been on a downward spiral for the last 30 years, a victim of blight and decay that has led to a loss of residents and businesses. Nearly a quarter of the housing in Larimer now stands vacant.

But change is underway thanks in large part to the work of local neighborhood organizations that have worked tirelessly with city leaders, businesses and nonprofits to turn the neighborhood around. Tax-abatements in progress are helping families remodel their homes. Other funding is assisting with the development and construction of affordable housing and improving vacant lots.

Built on the site of the historic Nabisco Factory, Bakery Square has 216,080 square feet of office space along Penn Avenue, more than half of which is rented by Google. Local professionals and visitors also flock to the square on their lunch break, to eat at Social, Coffee Tree Roasters, Asiatique and other restaurants. Plus, retailers Free People, West Elm, Anthropologie, and Ragged Row have set up shop in the square.

Just across the street, south of Penn Avenue in neighboring Shadyside, is Bakery Living, an upscale complex of rental apartments.

In 2014, Larimer was awarded a $30 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant from HUD that will put the wheels of change into further motion. The grant will be used to construct housing to advance the Larimer Vision Plan, a neighborhood design for a greener, more sustainable future for all residents.

The Larimer Consensus Group‘s stated mission is to “empower the Larimer neighborhood to move into sustainable community and economic development.” Home to Grounded Strategies (formerly GTECH) and the Kingsley Association, and with a great location east of downtown and close to the Pittsburgh Zoo and playgrounds, Larimer could finally be on its way.

 

 

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