Former enslaved people founded Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood in 1883.
Nearly 140 years later, the community remains a haven for Black Atlanta residents, and the two-year-old Pittsburgh Yards facility is seamlessly intertwining itself with the neighborhood surrounding it.
Pittsburgh Yards officially opened to the public in December of 2020, serving as a creative space for Black artists and entrepreneurs to network and grow their businesses together. The facility offers 101 office spaces that vary in size and layout, which tenants pay a monthly rental fee to reserve throughout the course of their 12-month leases.
The facility’s main hub for operation, the 60,000 square-foot Nia Building, is divided into three service wings, all connected by a community space at the center of the establishment. The wings, dubbed the North, South and West wings, each host a specific category of industry that the businesses within Pittsburgh Yards fall into.
The Nia Building’s North wing houses traditional establishments, like those involving real estate, financial consulting and other business-related pursuits. The building’s South wing is home to Pittsburgh Yards’ creative tenants, where graphic designers, photographers and other artists work on projects for commissions. The West wing, situated perpendicular to the rest of the Nia Building, houses Pittsburgh Yards’ industrially-oriented businesses, like woodworking and embroidering .
While the office spaces that tenants rent out are private, the facility’s common areas and community spaces are available to those who obtain coworking memberships with the Pittsburgh Yards leasing team. Interested entrepreneurs can pay $50 monthly to gain access to the Nia Building’s public spaces 24 hours a day, every day of the week. The general public can also enter the facility and use public spaces from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays at no cost.
The facility also offers a variety of resources for paying tenants and co-workers to take advantage of, including conference rooms, a ground-floor loading dock for easy product shipping, and a 3,500 square-foot rooftop terrace. The second floor of the Nia Building acts as rentable living space, holding five affordable residential suites that are inaccessible without an assigned key.
While much of the complex’s action occurs within the Nia Building, Pittsburgh Yards is working to expand and make use of other land adjacent to its main facility. The multi-use development has five pad sites reserved for future expansion, each averaging about an acre in size. The development is also situated next to the Atlanta Beltline Southside Trail, which makes it a prime piece of real estate for future commercial endeavors.
Although it’s a site of major progress in south Atlanta, property manager Walter Slaton said that the Pittsburgh Yards management team wishes to integrate the complex into the Pittsburgh neighborhood, rather than allow it to stand and prosper as a singular entity. Slaton said a prime example of this integration is the continuation of street names as neighborhood roads cross University Avenue and lead into the complex. McDaniel Street becomes McDaniel Yards; Smith Street becomes Smith Yards, and so on.
Many of the entrepreneurs working within Pittsburgh Yards have lauded the development’s management team for creating an open and friendly commercial space that motivates tenants to go to work every day.
Lakeysha Hallmon, founder and CEO of The Village Market and a tenant of Pittsburgh Yards, said she chose to lease with the facility because its owners care about the community and work to foster a healthy environment for its clientele. “You are not just a tenant here,” Hallmon said. “You are seen, you are valued; this is a place for you to be able to really be nurtured.”
Ty Pleas, a photographer renting an office space in the Nia Building, said the conglomeration of Pittsburgh Yards tenants feels like a family, and recommends the space to small business owners looking to be a part of a community.“If you want to be left alone by yourself, [Pittsburgh Yards] is not the place for you.” Pleas said.
Pittsburgh Yards is also home to nonprofits that organize from offices within the Nia Building. Fathers Incorporated, an organization that teaches Black men in the community to become fathers and father figures, occupies two office spaces in the facility.
Gregory Harris and Larry Ritter, members of Fathers Incorporated’s outreach team, said Pittsburgh Yards is a welcoming community that supports and congratulates one another on entrepreneurial successes. “What I love about this place is we’re all family; everybody loves everybody,” Ritter said. “To be in a healthy [work] environment, what else can you ask for?”