Brookline future looking bright, prosperous


The new Brookline Boulevard made way for the neighborhood to prosper. Photo by Rebekah Devorak.

The new Brookline Boulevard made way for the neighborhood to prosper. Photo by Rebekah Devorak.

By: Asia Buckley and Grant Stoner

The future of Brookline is promising.

The results of the 2014 revitalization of Brookline Boulevard are twofold – there’s a beautiful new main street, and the rejuvenation of the business district creates opportunities for community growth.

This is exciting news for resident Tim Reitmeyer. The 64-yearold Howard Hanna realtor is a specialist in the South Hills and City of Pittsburgh markets. As an advocate for the developing area, Reitmeyer is personally invested in promoting the benefits of purchasing a home in Brookline.

According to the November 2015 listings of, roughly 79 homes are currently for sale in Brookline. With affordable pricing ranging from $33,000 to $199,000, Reitmeyer views his hometown as a potential market for younger couples.

“I’ve had couples who could have afforded places in the wealthier suburbs of Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair, yet they wanted to specifically live in Brookline,” Reitmeyer notes.

He also mentions that the community’s close proximity to Downtown Pittsburgh is a huge draw for buyers, especially when commuters can readily access major highways that connect to the city.

Ultimately though, it is the strong sense of community in Brookline that Reitmeyer is quick to mention to prospective buyers. After all, he has resided in the city his entire life. So, it is understandable for him to hold some biases regarding life in Brookline.

But, he is not alone.

Brookline residents joined forces in 1992 to form The South Pittsburgh Development Corporation. The non-profit SPDC tirelessly promotes Brookline’s attributes. According to its Facebook page, its mission is to assist in the neighborhood’s growth and expansion efforts.

SPDC hold monthly board meetings which cater toward discussing possible projects to promote the neighborhood. It also publishes a monthly magazine to profile businesses on the Boulevard and report on upcoming community events. Additionally, the group arranges numerous functions which center on Brookline’s betterment.

During a visionary study completed during 2014, the SPDC recognized a large presence of ethnic businesses located on the boulevard. According to the report, the SPDC will be focusing on ways to encourage even more ethnic groups to establish roots within the neighborhood.

According to the president of the SPDC, Ryan Askey, the South Hills of Pittsburgh has seen an increase in ethnic populations within recent years.

“Diversity drives both culture and economic growth, and Brookline’s own Pitaland and Las Palmas are a testament to how ideas by immigrant families can become neighborhood icons,” he explains.

The group also discussed how to “brand” Brookline and how the implementation of neighborhood events might accomplish that goal. The Bash on the Boulevard, a summer concert series, premiered in 2015. Businesses have also increased their sidewalk presence by providing outdoor areas.

Also included in the SPDC’s vision is the potential for residents to purchase athletic equipment for their active lifestyles.

“Brookline already has one of the highest youth populations of any City neighborhoods,” Askey states. “And the parks already established in the neighborhood provide for a lot of varied athletic activities.”

The good news is that several businesses have emerged in Brookline.

One such store, West Liberty Cycles, opened in February 2015. A fixture on West Liberty Avenue for over 50 years, it is now under new ownership and has moved. Rob Riddell decided that relocating to Brookline Boulevard connected more with his vision of the bike shop.

“Heck,” says Rob. “We were a neighborhood-focused bike shop down on West Liberty Avenue, and it’s much nicer to actually be in a neighborhood,” he explained to reporter Dan Kaczmarski in the April 2015 edition of The Brookline.

Just as the Boulevard went through a renovation process, so too did some of the businesses. The Cafe de Noir, formally Cannon Coffee, quickly became a meeting place for the community. Neither a bar nor restaurant, the laid back atmosphere provides Brookline residents with a unique place to socialize.

Looking For Group, also known as LFG, opened its doors on the Boulevard in November 2015. Catering toward the Brookline gaming community, LFG is a video arcade that offers a place for gamers to interact in a homey setting. Looking For Group is also partnered with Stage AE and organizes gaming tournaments, offering concert tickets to the winners.

There are hopes for a bookstore to open on the Boulevard at some point in the near future. City Books is committed to securing a location after their original selection for the storefront became unavailable. This store would be an addition to the international marketplace, since City Books plans to offer books written in English and Spanish. The owners also plan to sell books that are locally written and published.

Brookline has a lot to offer: strong community foundation, reasonable real estate and local businesses that benefit residents. The community is expected to grow and prosper for many years to come.

Reitmeyer sums it up best.

“While surprising to many, I have known Brookline’s value all along,” he writes in The Brookline. “Brookline has benefits over most all other city neighborhoods. Brookline is the city’s gem of the South Hills!”