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Groundbreaking set for Block22 project

Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg will join together next week to celebrate the beginning of construction on the historic Block22 project in downtown Pittsburg.
Groundbreaking set for Block22 project

Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg will join together next week to celebrate the beginning of construction on the historic Block22 project in downtown Pittsburg.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for Block22 will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, inside the Colonial Fox Theater. The community is invited to attend.

“It wasn’t too long ago that Block22 was just an idea, a dream,” said Shawn Naccarato, executive director of PSU’s Center for Business and Innovation Development. “Now that work has officially begun, we want to come together celebrate this historic moment. We’re grateful to Vonnie Corsini and the Colonial Fox Theater Foundation for allowing us to have this ceremony inside the Fox. Not only will the Fox be within the Block22 district, it’s also a testament to the value of historic renovation and preservation.”

Block22 is a project to transform four historic properties in downtown Pittsburg into a “living-learning community” for Pittsburg State University students. It’s a joint project between Pittsburg State, the City of Pittsburg and a private developer, the Vecino Group from Springfield, Mo.

The plan calls for the renovation of four mostly empty historic buildings at Fourth and Broadway, the heart of downtown Pittsburg. The design combines 105 beds of PSU student housing with dedicated innovation space and resources for both students and local entrepreneurs. The targeted student population is upperclassmen and graduate students.

In addition to the student housing, the living-learning community will also include offices for the University Center for Business and Innovation Development, a makerspace (a collaborative community workspace designed for creativity and prototyping), business incubator, co-working area, and a multi-function event and educational space. The properties will be operated and managed by the university, which will sub-lease a portion of the commercial space to further support downtown redevelopment and generate additional revenue to support the project.

The total cost of Block22 is estimated at $18 million, of which the city would invest $1.5 million. PSU will conduct fundraising to cover its $1 million investment. The developer is expected to receive federal and state historic and new-market tax credits of about $10 million.

Block22 is projected to open in August 2018.

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