A $500,000 loan from Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority could help bring music back to the city’s East Allegheny neighborhood.
The loan to 422 Foreland LLC, which owns the former James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy at Foreland and James streets, is part of an effort to revitalize the site.
The company bought the property in 2018. It is investing more than $5 million to revitalize the site, with the loan from the URA helping to fill funding gaps created by the covid-19 pandemic.
The 123-year-old building spans 18,700 square feet and formerly served as a neighborhood meeting place, particularly known for drawing music lovers to listen to live jazz and other music.
Through the current renovation project, the building will be revitalized as a mixed-use commercial development, with a restaurant, office space, apartments and the return of jazz music.
“This is a historic property that transformed into a place where music lovers can come to hear good live music and build community,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said. “When James Street closed its doors, the community was clear that they wanted music to come back and we promised we’d make that happen.”
Renovations are expected to be completed by February, according to owner Jonathan Iams. The project intends to restore the historic building, while also creating professional and hospitality jobs.
“The James Street Tavern has been the home of jazz in Pittsburgh for more than half a century,” Iams said. “I am excited to see the building thrive again as a place for the community to enjoy great food, music and art in an architecturally significant building.”
The URA also helped the building owners apply for Enterprise Zone Tax Credits through the state, a program that provides tax credits to businesses investing in property improvements such as rehabilitation, expansion or physical improvements to buildings resulting in jobs created in certain areas.