In a short walk through Wilkinsburg, PA, you’ll see a few different things: beautiful murals; three-story houses with chipped paint and boarded over windows; iconic diners that locals love; class war graffitied in black spray paint on someone’s front door. But in the polarizing mix of vibrant and vacant spaces, Wilkinsburg’s transformation is palpable.
IMPACT REdevelopment, founded by Jerry Gaudi, has been an integral part of the community’s residential and small business revitalization, having added commercial offices, 42 residential spaces and created $1 million in value since 2013. With over 18% vacant property stock in Wilkinsburg, Gaudi’s company continues to identify the homes and buildings needing the most TLC and transforms them into safe, affordable housing for multi- and single-family residents of all income levels.
With experience in property management, Gaudi focuses on vacant triplexes, duplexes, houses, and mixed-use commercial buildings clustered around the busway and central business district. Initiatives include 718 North Ave, once a crumbling apartment building turned dump site; the space now blooms as a pollination garden and post for a Little Free Library where children can access free books and a natural sanctuary within the city. Residential developments also include a property on Wallace Ave, now featuring two apartment units, one of which has become a lodging for members of the Iroquois Council with an adjacent hoop house that will grow food for the community.
Jerry was first introduced to eforever’s parent organization, the Mansmann Foundation, when he started working on conservation and revitalization projects as a program coordinator for the Greater Wilkinsburg Chamber. He joined an eforever group in Wilkinsburg in 2015, and finds value in being in an community with entrepreneurs in different industries.
“It’s OK that business owners are in different industries because we’re all dealing with the same business challenges. Some people might need more one-on-one time, but when groups are well attended, more ideas flow during the meeting and different pieces of those ideas can be implemented into all of our businesses.”Jerry Gaudi, founder of IMPACT REdevelopment.
In 2017, IMPACT REdevelopment undertook its biggest renovation project at the historic Kregar building at 900 Wood St through the non-profit partner Impact Neighborhood Redevelopment Company. Jerry’s company began rehabilitation of the 30-year vacant building that had housed banks, pharmacies, dentist offices, and sandwich shops. Seeing great potential for the building and what it could provide for the community, Impact Neighborhood Redevelopment Company repurposed private offices, renovated bathrooms and conference room, and created a coworking community on the second floor. Now decorated with local art and equipped with all the supplies to keep professionals caffeinated and inspired, the coworking space is available for $99/month. The Kregar Building is also the new home of the Greater Wilkinsburg Chamber of Commerce and four eforever small business owner groups.
Thanks to investors and grants, IMPACT REdevelopment and partner organizations continue to revive vacant buildings so residents and professionals have affordable, vibrant spaces to live and thrive. For inquiries about investing in IMPACT REdevelopment projects or using the 900 Wood St. coworking community, visit IMPACT REdevelopment.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.