WCDC Program Highlights

We launched Art All Over in 2020 following the completion of the Lohr Building, which included a 1,300 square foot, street-level gallery space. The Lohr Gallery opened up the opportunity to create a dedicated space to feature artworks from local artists and makers and provide an arts-focused public space in the heart of Wilkinsburg – a longtime goal of the WCDC and our community. Today, we partner with Casey Droege Cultural Productions to manage this initiative.

Our $7 million Wilkinsburg Train Station restoration was completed in September 2021. The completed project offers a mixed-use commercial building with over 8,400 square feet of leasable space between two floors and an additional courtyard space of 3,500 square feet. Part of the lower-level has been leased to Bridgeway Capital for their Creative Business Accelerator office, which opened in April 2023.

Awards & Recognitions

  • 2022 PA Historic Preservation Awards – Construction Award – Presented by Preservation Pennsylvania
  • 2021 Community Initiative Award – Presented by PA State Historic Preservation Office
  • 2022 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy – “Wilkinsburg Train Station: Back on Track”- Presented to WQED Multimedia/
    Nathalie Berry, Producer

We completed the restoration of the historic Lohr Building in July 2020. Our office and Lohr Gallery spaces occupy the street-level storefronts facing Wood Street. The second and third floors are leased by Agot.AI. The storefront facing South Avenue is currently being built out for a tenant. Nancy’s Revival continues to operate out of their location on South Avenue.

In 2015, we introduced Core Four, an eight-week cohort-based business planning program for current and aspiring small business owners. The series provides an extensive overview of the core components of business planning, including research, marketing, accounting, and cash flow. We augment our current program by working with participants to identify potential funding sources and technical assistance needs specific to each business. For new entrepreneurs in the program, we provide help in determining commercial space needs as well.

The Vacant Home Tour was founded in 2014 through a partnership with students at Carnegie Mellon University. Wilkinsburg has the highest vacancy rate in Allegheny County and the Vacant Home Tour aimed to address this problem in a way no one — in our region or anywhere else in the world — had before. In May 2015, we hosted the first Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour. Due to the success of the first tour, a second one was held in May 2016. Five homes were featured each year, and in 2016, a commercial property was added to the tour. During the tours, attendees could also learn the tools and resources needed to acquire and renovate a vacant property. This early work paved the way for our current programming around vacancy and blight in Wilkinsburg.

Following the May 20, 2015 primary election, Wilkinsburg is no longer a dry borough! Thanks to the efforts of over 40 community volunteers and several supportive businesses, restaurants in our community are now able to apply for and receive liquor licenses. Up to five licenses may be issued in Wilkinsburg without municipal approval. However, licensees must fulfill PA Liquor Control Board requirements, have a physical location, and meet borough zoning requirements. We also ask that, upon application, potential licensees meet with us and participate in our community process, which aims to eliminate the possibility of nuisance establishments in our borough. To learn more about acquiring a liquor license in Wilkinsburg, email marlee@wilkinsburgcdc.org.

Our longest running program, through the Youth & Education Program, we support local children and youth programs with mini-grants that provide funding for summer and after school programming. This initiative has benefited thousands of Wilkinsburg youth and dozens of local nonprofits, community groups, churches, and other partners for more than a decade.