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Media Coverage | Ground broken on Big Tom’s Barbershop, affordable housing project in Hill District

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By: Jordyn Hronec | Pittsburgh Business Times | December 1, 2021 | Read the full article

On Tuesday, city officials, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Neighborhood Allies and Thomas Boyd Sr. of TomTom24 Development LLC met to break ground on a new community revitalization project in the Hill District.

The project, located at 2178 Centre Ave., will transform the former historic Hamm’s Barbershop into a barbershop owned and operated by Boyd, Big Tom’s Barbershop, which will relocate from its current site at 2042 Centre Ave.

The project will also create affordable housing units along the Centre Avenue business district.

“Today is truly a celebration as we recognize the work of my friend and community champion Thomas Boyd,” Mayor Bill Peduto said about the project. “Big Tom’s is a staple in the Hill District community and it’s momentous that he will be redeveloping the historic Hamm’s to be the new home of his barbershop and using the opportunity to meet the community’s need for housing and shared space for community entrepreneurs. I’d like to thank him, as well as the funding partners who have joined us in supporting this redevelopment. This significant investment in the historic Hill District business district will be one of many we will see as part of the Hill community plans and the Avenues of Hope initiative.”

The rehabilitated facility will house Big Tom’s Barbershop on the first floor with the second and third floors being dedicated to four single bedroom apartments, available at or below 80% Area Median Income. A second commercial space will also be developed along Kirkpatrick Street. The lots adjacent to the building will be beautified and reserved as community spaces as well as spaces for pop-up sales and product demonstrations from local home-owned businesses.

The project has received over $1.94 million in funding from several sources, including First National Bank, Lower Hill Group, Neighborhood Allies, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the URA.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Big Tom and this project which will break new ground in the Hill District,” URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker said. “The success of this project will not only signal catalytic change along the Centre Avenue corridor, but also paves the way for future commercial revitalization projects which simultaneously creates opportunities for community-centered ownership while closing the City of Pittsburgh’s affordable housing gap.”

Boyd’s proposal for the project was presented at a community meeting in September 2020 and received a community approval score of 100%.

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