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Action Alert: New Commercial Opportunity Enriches a Culture of Entrepreneurship

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Pittsburgh’s Black entrepreneurs looking for space to pursue their business goals have uncovered a gem in Greenwood Smithfield, which hosted a recent ribbon-cutting and tours of its commercial opportunities.


square feet mixed-use space in Greenwood Smithfield Building


unit commercial building


square feet in Emerald City

Khamil Bailey and Samantha Black have been cultivating an autonomous ecosystem for Black businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh for years through their nonprofit The Greenwood Plan. Now, that ecosystem has a physical space downtown to call home.

Pittsburghers came together on the last day of Black History Month to celebrate the duo's accomplishments. Khamil and Samantha were joined by their fellow board members, elected officials, and other partners for a ribbon-cutting ceremony accompanied by a close-up view of the commercial spaces available, including a fully equipped coffee shop, an unfinished retail storefront and a terminal market space.

The crown jewel of Greenwood Smithfield is the second-story Emerald City Pittsburgh co-working space, a sun-filled trove featuring soaring windows, a modern, airy common space and original architectural details like floor-to-ceiling pillars and intricate crown molding. As the only Black-owned co-working space in downtown Pittsburgh, Emerald City centers the Black experience and culture, creating a welcoming environment that fosters collaboration and connectivity.

Even with an excess of office vacancies, downtown Pittsburgh has lacked tangible opportunities and a physical space for Black businesses and entrepreneurs to stake their claim on prosperity and success. A long history of Black entrepreneurship in the city only makes a starker contrast between entrepreneurial legacy and a viable future for the city’s BIPOC communities. The mission of The Greenwood Plan is to advance economic justice for Black communities by bridging people and knowledge networks, redirecting resources and supporting the specific needs of Black businesses.

Bailey and Black recognized the history of displacement and barriers that Pittsburgh’s Black community has faced in the name of progress, from economic and social discrimination to the restrictions of the once-vibrant Hill District to make way for the now-demolished Civic Arena.

“Despite all of those things, we still show up and show out,” Bailey told a large crowd of supporters and well-wishers gathered on the sidewalk between the red brick building and the Smithfield Street bus lane. “We still have talent. We still have treasure. We still have time to give.”

Rather than dwell on the challenges of the past, The Greenwood Plan is committed to reshaping the Black experience in the Pittsburgh region by fostering Black potential and an infrastructure for Black communities to thrive.

Sporting a bright sweatshirt by Black-owned Pittsburgh brand Ike Wear Clothing, Bailey applauded the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for not only providing $1.75 million in funding to acquire the space formerly known as The Pitt Building but for giving The Greenwood Plan the courage and confidence to ask for more.

Pointing to Bailey and Black’s ground-breaking achievement as Black women owning commercial real estate in downtown Pittsburgh, Mayor Ed Gainey rallied the group with a connection between the ability to attract and retain talent and the visibility of Black culture in the city.

“If we want to make downtown the destination that we know it can be, we have to make sure that everybody sees their culture in our city,” said Gainey. “That’s up to all of us.”

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