PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Locals will tell you the city’s North Side has seen better days, but they’re also optimistic that a return to those glory days isn’t too far away thanks to the latest renovation.

You don’t have to look very hard on the North Side to find reminders about just how old many of the grand buildings are. The question though is what lies beneath the gigantic blue tarp in the middle of the East Ohio Street business district.

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“It’s a key building, because if it were lost, it would create a missing tooth in the streetscape,” said Mark Flata, of the Northside Leadership Conference. “It was in pretty rough shape. We bought it at an IRS tax sale and it was a difficult building to do, but we have renovated it.”

The new space is home to the Allegheny City Historical Society, and a brand new floral shop that used to be based in the owner’s home.

“I love being able to create longer lasting relationships. I always kind of got sad when a wedding was over because it was kind of just over. Now it’s kind of wonderful because clients get to come back for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, hopefully, Christmas this year,” said Lauren Work Phillips, of The Farmer’s Daughter Floral Shop. “So it’s nice to create longer lasting relationships.”

Barbara Burns has owned a business on East Ohio Street for a decade and a half.

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She is delighted to have some new neighbors thanks to the volunteers with the historic Deutschtown Development Corporation.

“Life is one big journey of learning, and if you care about a specific place you call home, then you are raised to give back,” said Burns.

There also are two apartments in the upper levels of the buildings.

“People in Pittsburgh from the suburbs and from surrounding counties are moving back into the city of Pittsburgh, and the reason they are doing so is because of things like this, having the floral shop and the coffee shop and the necessities all within walking distance from where you live,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “It’s the type of lifestyle people are looking for, and fortunately, for the North Side we are seeing it come back.”

And that slowly helps the North Side remember and re-create its historic roots.

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