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Thanks To Deal, Most Penn Plaza Residents Vacate On Time

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At a press conference in the mayor’s office, local residents praised the mayor, his staff, and the owner, Pennley Park South, for working out an agreement to assist residents relocate.

“Legally, they could evict us,” said Lillian Grate, a member of the Penn Plaza Tenants Council.

“This was a private landlord we were dealing with, so what we did is we appealed to their heart in which they did respond.”

They sure did.

The owner signed this Memorandum of Understanding that allowed residents plenty of time to move — and gave each of them $1,600 in relocation expenses.

“This has been a very transformational experience for my client, for myself, and for the city of Pittsburgh,” said Jon Kamin, attorney for Pennley Park South.

So much so the mayor wants all private developers to follow this approach.

“You’ve set an example now because every private developer is going to look at Penn Plaza, and before they say, ‘90 days and you’re out,’ they’re going to know that there’s a different process that we’re going to take in the city of Pittsburgh,” said Peduto.

Lack of affordable housing is becoming a city crisis.

In many ways, East Liberty has been the victim of its own tremendous success.

As this neighborhood has experienced a tremendous resurgence, property values have gone up, and that means rents have gone up, making this area almost unaffordable to the very people who have lived here.

“It has been yuppified because everyone moving in is not East Liberty people,” said Gail Williams, a member of the Tenant Council. “They come from out of state, from surrounding areas, suburbanites.”

And the newcomers will pay three times the rent that Penn Plaza used to charge which was as low as $450 a month.

Neighborhood advocates like Presley Gillespie of Neighborhood Allies say there’s room for both development and all kinds of housing.

“As long as we have a keen eye on lifting people up at the same time, we can achieve that goal,” Gillespie told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

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