- Gilchrist first Black female EMS district chief - 2013-05-22
- Council passes Domestic Violence Bill - 2013-05-22
- Bill Peduto wins primary for Pittsburgh Mayor - 2013-05-21
- Trailer Parking: Zoe bares all in Allure magazine pictorial - 2013-05-17
- NAACP head says Orie Sisters’ sentence just; Judge orders re-sentencing for ex-Justice Melvin - 2013-05-10
PowerBreakfast focus on development
Created on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:02 Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:02 Published on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:02 Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer Hits: 375
NEW DEVELOPMENTS—Robert Rubenstein of the URA and Deputy Secretary Carolyn Newhouse from the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development, right, pose with President and CEO Doris Carson Williams and Board Chair Sam Stephenson after speaking about new small business opportunities and resources at the African American Chamber’s March PowerBreakfast.
Robert Rubenstein, acting director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh said he would have spoken longer at the African American Chamber of Commerce’s March PowerBreakfast, but ceded half his time to allow state Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carolyn Newhouse to talk about small business benefits in Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed state budget.
Still, Rubenstein covered a lot of territory, from the authority’s mission and history to its investment strategy and, most importantly, the three different methods chamber members and entrepreneurs can do business with it.
“Most commonly, we provide opportunities when we directly contract for services through requests for proposals and requests for quotes,” he said. “We post these on our website, and we also have a monthly newsletter that anyone can have emailed to them.”
The other two methods for working with the authority are through its developers, and through direct employment.
“When we provide the land or loans for a project, they’ll do the hiring. But we refer firms and stipulate minority hiring requirements that typically outperform city goals by 50-60 percent,” he said. “Lastly, people can come to work for us directly. A change in administration usually means there are openings and we’re always looking for people with expertise in public policy, sustainability, grant management, compliance, and accounting and finance.”
Rubenstein added that while they like to keep as much in-house as possible, there are times when the URA will contract out accounting and legal work, and real estate appraising.
He also noted the authority has a number of major projects either just underway or starting shortly that will provide many of those opportunities. Just some of these are the Connelley/Energy Innovation Center, the Homewood Station Senior Apartments, Bakery Square II, and the East Liberty Transportation Center, which includes 330 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and construction of a new street between Centre and Penn Avenues.
Rubenstein also announced the authority’s Center for Entrepreneurship would partner with the chamber’s Business Institute on a number of small business improvement programs.
Chamber President and CEO Doris Carson Williams said Newhouse did not appear on the PowerBreakfast program because it went out before the governor released his budget proposal.
“She was happy to come by and give us an overview of what’s in there for small businesses,” said Williams. “As deputy secretary for innovation and investment, 75 percent of the development funding comes through her area.”
Newhouse also addressed streamlining in the department, and the addition of staff that will replace automated phone operators with human beings who will walk applicants through the process step by step.
Another benefit for businesses of all sizes is the proposed reduction in state business tax rate from 9 percent to 6 percent, she said.
(Send comments to email@example.com.)
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!
- Protecting Black Americans’ right to compete (2)
- Sergio Garcia will pay dearly for Tiger remarks (1)
- Detroit's emergency manager takes on critics in candid interview about city’s future (1)
- High court poised to upend civil rights policies (1)
- Butler: What Obama must say to African-American grads (2)