Business District Revitalization
Perched high above Pittsburgh’s skyline, the Hilltop neighborhood of Allentown serves as the community’s anchor business district. In an effort to reverse decades of disinvestment in Allentown, several organizations and partners – including Dollar Bank, PNC Bank, and UPMC Health Plan – have provided annual commitments to help spur economic growth.
At the heart of the growth is the revitalization of East Warrington Avenue, the neighborhood's business district. From 2014-2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development's Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) allowed for tremendous growth in the East Warrington Avenue Business District. Beginning in July 2021, a new six year NAP allows for continued investment in Allentown.
East Warrington Avenue is home to local eateries such as Alla Famiglia, Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant, Black Forge Coffee House, Breakfast at Shelly’s, and Paisano’s Pizzeria.
Additionally, the street boasts unique retail shops such as Dr. Tumblety's Time-Inspired Specialty Shop, The Weeping Glass, and Puvithel. There are also numerous hair salons and barbershops, and so much more!
By the numbers...
$10 million in investments to commercial property renovations
61+ renovation projects
65+ loans or grants provided
47 new businesses since 2014
95% occupancy in the Allentown Business District (60% in 2014)
Mt. Oliver Borough/Knoxville
In July 2021, the Hilltop Alliance expanded our Business District Program to include the Brownsville Road Business District in Mt. Oliver Borough and the City’s Knoxville neighborhood. Hilltop Alliance works alongside Mt. Oliver’s all-volunteer Hilltop Economic Development Corporation, the Mt. Oliver Borough government, Knoxville Community Council, and Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, to attract new businesses, support commercial property renovations, provide grant programs and technical assistance for small businesses, and ultimately to reinvest, grow and sustain the business district.
Our community partner, the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC), is a 501(c)(3) community development corporation dedicated to serving Mt. Oliver Borough and City of Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood. The mission of the organization is to serve as the community resource in strengthening and developing the Brownsville Road Business District and neighborhoods. Through a separate NAP program supported by Giant Eagle, United Concordia Dental, Northwest Bank and Fragasso Financial Advisors, HEDC contracts with the Hilltop Alliance to deliver business district support, home repairs for low-income homeowners, cleaning up dumping and overgrowth throughout the neighborhoods, and advancing redevelopment of vacant property.
Our work is guided by the following reports. The Mt. Oliver Strategic Action Plan 2020 (summary) was developed as part of the Allegheny Together Program, in partnership with Fourth Economy and Evolve. Here is the full action plan report; Mt. Oliver Strategic Action Plan (Full Text) The plan outlines goals and strategies for the revitalization of the Brownsville Road Business District.
Previously in 2015, a steering committee was formed and Mt. Oliver Borough began embarking on the comprehensive planning process with the Mt. Oliver Comprehensive Plan. The outcome is a plan that guides public policy for housing, land use, commerce, recreation, and transportation.
By the numbers...
67% occupancy in the Mt. Oliver Business District since 2021
How We Do It:
Small Business Grants, Marketing, and Special Events
Guiding our Business District Programs is the Hilltop Alliance’s Director of Economic Development Meg O'Brien, who links prospective businesses to property owners with available space, organizes business district meet-ups, provides support to new businesses through available grant funding, and helps existing businesses with other concerns such as public safety, renovations and permitting, and much more.
Grants that may be available for small business and commercial property owners include:
Signage and Storefront Light Fixtures
Marketing and Technical Assistance
For more detailed information, visit our Small Business Resources page.
All applications for grant funds available are subject to review and by the Allentown Business District Committee or HEDC Main Street Committee.
In addition to economic support, Hilltop Alliance seeks to provide ongoing marketing support for small businesses in Allentown, Mt. Oliver and Knoxville.
Our Communications Coordinator Rain McCoy works alongside Meg O'Brien to support our local businesses through social media, promotional campaigns, and special events.
Throughout the year, we employ a variety of marketing campaigns, in addition to our regular social media posts, to get the word out about our local businesses to people across Pittsburgh and beyond. With these communications initiatives, new and existing businesses in our districts get free access to small business spotlights, photography and videography for social media, ribbon cuttings, promotional posts, and graphic design assistance as needed.
The Passports to Allentown and Mt. Oliver are an annual holiday shopping rewards program and campaign, encouraging patrons both from near and far to explore the many businesses in these districts.
We help to host and promote events that encourage the media and public to get to know the Hilltop’s thriving business districts. Signature events include: The Allentown Night Market, a twice-annual evening of all things weird and witchy; The Allentown Summer Market Series, a monthly summer vendor and artisan goods series in the 831 E Warrington Ave parking lot and the Inner Groove Brewing Allentown Taphouse beer garden. ,
Public Space Improvements: Walk along our streets and you’ll discover public art and vacant lot beautification efforts in the most unexpected locations, such as the Allentown Lunchtime Lot next to Paisano’s Pizzeria.