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In 2000, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh used eminent domain to seize or purchase hundreds of properties covering 34 blocks in the middle Hill District as part development project it called the “Bedford Plan.”

It was supposed to use $17.5 million in public funds to create more than 600 units of rental and for-sale housing, most as a partial replacement for residents of the Bedford Dwellings public housing. But due to a change in federal funding priorities, the 1,500 Bedford Dwellings was not entirely demolished, and only 147 of the new housing units—originally slated for completion by 2009—were ever built.

Now, almost 20 years later, and with the need for affordable housing greater than ever, the city will try again.

Along with its original partners—the URA, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh and the Hill Community Development Corporation—the city has announced it is applying for a $2 million federal Choice Neighborhoods grant to write a “Neighborhood Transformation Plan” that would include plans for 1,200 new housing units, with 804 designated as “affordable.”

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