Working with hometown real estate developers to provide safe, affordable housing for their neighbors


Emmett Wilson, real estate developer and owner of Shaw-Wil Properties, doesn’t always think of himself as a role model. But he readily shares decades of wisdom about his career, his youth in Homewood and Larimer, and his lessons in entrepreneurship. 

“A lot of young guys, whatever their situations, I always tell them, there is something better for you. There’s light at the end of the tunnel if you open your eyes. You can’t see anything with your eyes wide shut,” said Wilson.  

One thing that Wilson has a talent for seeing is opportunity: His passion is renovating distressed properties and transforming them into affordable housing for families. The majority of Shaw-Wil’s 12 properties are in the low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods of Homewood, Larimer, Braddock, and Wilkinsburg. He is also the Homewood Business Association president, which helps to bring small businesses to the community. 

So when Wilson reached out to Bridgeway about restoring a distressed quadplex in Braddock, it was a natural fit to work together. Wilson received a real estate loan from Bridgeway to renovate the vacant properties into Section 8-friendly housing, newly remodeled with new kitchens, fresh paint, and hardwood floors. All of the units are now rented. 

As Pittsburgh grows, it’s vital to make sure that development happens without displacement. This is especially critical in the housing market, where development can often come at the expense of affordable housing, displacing residents who have been part of their neighborhood for years, including generations of family. Supporting local developers like Wilson helps ensure the integrity of communities can remain intact through change. It’s part of Bridgeway’s ongoing commitment to advance economic opportunities that help grow businesses and revitalize neighborhoods like Braddock. And when it comes to creating more livable and workable spaces, Wilson isn’t slowing down:

“I don’t want the grass to grow under my feet,” he said. 

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