Derrick Tillman is a real estate developer in Pittsburgh. In addition to being a PHN member, he’s on the PHN board. His Fifth & Dinwoodie project will be featured in our PHN DEI event on Feb 9 at noon ET.
Tell us about your company, Bridging the Gap Development. It’s not your ordinary developer, is it?
Bridging the Gap Development is certainly not your ordinary developer. Fundamentally, we are a developer whose mission is intertwined with creating economic opportunities for minorities and the people in the neighborhoods in which our projects are based. We are also keenly focused on using development to create social equity and to help smaller M/WBEs build generational wealth while building wealth for ourselves at the same time. Our mission is to bridge gaps of opportunity and to bridge gaps in Development and that includes, but is not limited to, sustainable development.
One of your developments, Miller Street Apartments, has “raised the bar” on affordable housing. How so?
It was a project that raised the bar on affordable housing from a design perspective, energy efficiency perspective using Passive House components, landscape design, high-end finishes and from a supportive services perspective. We didn’t just want to build a beautiful building, but we also remained focused on building the people who live there.
How did you get involved in the Passive House Network?
It was first through speaking at the NAPHN national conference held in Pittsburgh about our project, Miller Street Apartments and all the innovative components we did with that project. This led to speaking at the conference the next few years and getting connected with the current PHN board president Craig Stevenson and his business partner Beth Eckenrode of the Auros Group. As time went on, we continued to buy-in to Passive House more and more, which morphed into taking things to the next level on our current project, Fifth & Dinwiddie. A few years ago, we were asked to join the board as well.
You have an upcoming PHN event on Feb 9 – can you give us a teaser about it?
Yes, this event is all about Fifth & Dinwiddie so far. We will take a deep dive into how we have embedded economic opportunity, diversity, equity, and inclusion into this project in an intentional way from the onset. This project will provide inspiration as well as some practical ways that other firms can be intentional in their actions and decisions when putting together teams, completing community engagement or sourcing opportunities both in construction, 3rd party consulting and long-term post construction opportunities. This project is a model for how to do development right when you have the community in mind and from a holistic perspective.
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