ELEVATE JOHNSTOWN

Johnstown, PA

how can johnstown STIMULATE MARKET-RATE DOWNTOWN HOUSING IN ONE OF AMERICA’S WEAKEST REAL ESTATE MARKETS?


SUMMARY


Decades of disinvestment in Greater Johnstown’s housing stock were putting the community further and further behind other regions. The prevalence of blight was a very visible consequence. Less visible was the fact that even the region’s better housing stock was outdated as owners withheld spending on routine upgrades, or that there was little to no incentive for developers to create the types of new housing necessary to attract and retain skilled workers.


czb was asked by the Cambria County Planning Commission and the City of Johnstown to develop a strategy to kick-start the production of new, market-rate housing units, with a special focus on adaptive reuse of downtown Johnstown’s charming and remarkably intact building stock.


Leveraging Downtown's Charm and Assets

Johnstown is a classic example of a city with "good bones." Its historic buildings and urban fabric are ready for a new lease on life.

"czb wasted no time articulating the data and analytics to the right stakeholders in a clear and meaningful way--in a way that was going to boost investor confidence and drive development in exactly the right locations. We can always rely on czb to produce an authentic and focused plan with the necessary and sophisticated tools for solving our community's unique challenges."

- Katie Kinka | Senior Planner, Cambria County Planning Commission


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Strategies Designed to Work Within Clear Market Constraints

The resulting strategy created a very realistic target for unit production, guidance on where to prioritize new housing and supportive investments, and a model for attracting and packaging equity investments to fill critical gaps.


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