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Pittsburgh To Paris Program Grows Downtown

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Paris to Pittsburgh program has been given life for at least another year with the Colcom Foundation coming on board with a $350,000 grant. 

Downtown business and building owners can apply for 50 percent matching grants of up to $30,000 to renovate the street-level façade of their establishments. Since its inception in 2007, the program has given more than $1.7 million to 73 projects.

“The overwhelming majority of the 73 projects we’ve funded are small mom and pop [stores],” PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup said. “We’re helping these folks grow their businesses and be more successful, and we’d love to see that on streets throughout downtown.”

Waldrup said the program recently helped renovate the outside of Specialty Luggage Company on Liberty Avenue, which has been downtown for more than 50 years. The project included upgrades to the building’s first floor storefront, second floor windows and security gate.

The idea of the program is to mimic the energy seen on Paris streets with its open café’s and street level shopping.

“We love to see people out on the streets,” Waldrup said. “It encourages folks to walk down blocks that maybe they couldn’t otherwise, because they see folks outside enjoying a good dinner.”

Another primary goal of the program is to restore buildings to what they looked like in historic photos, Waldrup said.  

“Through some unfortunate renovations that have happened throughout the decades, some of these buildings look nothing like that,” Waldrup said. “It’s great to be able to take them back to the historical structures they were created to be.”