URA closes on $500,000 loan to help bring jazz back to James Street in East Allegheny neighborhood

PITTSBURGH, PA (October 11, 2021) The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has closed on a $500,000 loan to 422 Foreland LLC, the owner of the former James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy at the corner of Foreland and James Streets in the East Allegheny neighborhood. They purchased the property in 2018 and are investing over $5 million total to revitalize the property and the loan from the URA’s Pittsburgh Business Fund will assist in funding gaps stemming from the pandemic.  

The 123 year-old, 18,700 square foot building formerly served as a neighborhood meeting place as well as drew music lovers from all over to enjoy the historic prohibition-era structure and live jazz and other music. The renovation will create a mixed-used commercial building including a restaurant, office space, apartment and the return of jazz.

“This is a historic property that transformed into a place where music lovers can come to hear good live music and build community,” said Mayor William Peduto. “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. I’d like to thank Jonathan Iams and his team and the URA for helping to fulfill that promise and bring jazz back to James and Foreland.” 

The renovations are currently underway and the owner, Jonathan Iams, anticipates occupancy in February 2022. They have worked closely with the Northside Leadership Conference and East Allegheny Community Council and the project intends to bring professional and hospitality jobs, restore the historic building to a vibrant community asset and bring community life back to the building.  

”The James Street Tavern has been the home of jazz in Pittsburgh for more than half a century,” said owner Jonathan Iams. “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 assisted the new owners in applying for Enterprise Zone (EZ) Tax Credits through the state, an incentive program that provides tax credits to businesses investing in real property improvements such as rehab, expansion or physical improvements to buildings or land resulting in jobs created in designated areas. 

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