Conturo Prototyping
Rendering of the Conturo Prototyping headquarters proposal showing the northwestern corner of the Coliseum with the vocational school, community space and lobby.

If you care about what happens to the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood, now’s the time to speak up.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has narrowed finalists for the site’s redevelopment to three very different concepts and now wants additional community feedback.

Homewood residents can share their ideas via a brief survey that can be found here, or can call 412-676-7550 to leave their name and desired end use for the site. The survey will be live until Aug. 19, to give the review team time to pull together a recommendation for the URA board in September.

“Listening to the community before we take action is critical in making sure more voices are heard in decisions that impact their lives,” Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement. The URA needs “valuable feedback before making their final determination on the future of the Homewood Coliseum,” he said.

Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum
Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum. Photo courtesy of the URA.

Located at 7310 Frankstown Ave., the coliseum has sat empty since the URA took possession of the property in 2018. In April, four developer finalists presented their concepts during a Homewood Community Development Collaborative meeting to elicit feedback on their ideas.

Three of the four will move forward, having submitted the required documentation to determine the financial feasibility of their proposals: Homewood resident Rico Rucker’s #buybacktheblockmovement plan to return roller skating and bowling to the building; John Conturo’s proposal to relocate his machine shop, Conturo Prototyping, there and double its staff; and a plan by Tamiya Clements, a Homewood native who lives in Florida, to create a marketplace called Royal Heritage, with restaurants, a grocer, demonstration kitchen, rooftop garden and event space.

Royal Heritage
Rendering of the Royal Heritage food hall and social gathering space courtesy of Tamiya Clements.

A fourth plan — Mall of the Mighty, a cultural center with accelerator space for up to 25 retail startups proposed by Homewood resident Jackie Hill — is out of the running.

Once a trolley barn that housed more than 100 streetcars, the coliseum became a thriving center of African American culture over the years, accumulating a rich history that many residents want to preserve.

The committee reviewing ideas for its reuse is composed of URA staff, representatives of elected officials, the Department of City Planning, and the Homewood Community Development Collaborative.

“We know that not everyone was able to attend [the April meeting] and provide feedback about the future of the Homewood Coliseum,” URA Executive Director Greg Flisram says on the agency’s website. “This survey is a tool to help us gather more information from the community and to help guide us as we make the final determination on the Homewood Coliseum. While the survey will inform us, it will not be the sole basis of our decision.”

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.