The Brashear Center on Sarah Street in South Side has been a fixture in the community since it opened in 1955.

The center was a hub for youth and adult activities, including English language classes for immigrants, sewing classes, and telescope-making activities. At various times in its history, you could learn to dance, how to box, have your teeth repaired, participate in senior activities, visit the food pantry when needed, and so much more.

Those who loved and cared about the Association were concerned when the new Brashear CARES Center opened on Brownsville Road in Knoxville in May of this year. Community members were worried the Brashear Center could be sold to someone interested in putting in a club or a bar.

On November 1, the new owners of 2005 Sarah Street closed on the sale of the building, paying almost $900,000 for the property. Proceeds from the sale of the building will be used for Phase II, the expansion of the Brashear CARES Center.

Andrea Matthews, executive director of The Brashear Association, said the new owners are “totally in line” with what Brashear wanted in the reuse of the building. Future use of the building was a factor in considering options for the sale of the facility.

The new owner is local to Pittsburgh and plans on using the building for a daycare center.

Ms. Matthews said the owner is interested in keeping some of the existing signage on the side of the building. He has also asked if it would be possible to have one of the telescopes displayed in the building.

Although The Brashear Association’s headquarters is now on the Hilltop, in a location that was identified in a strategic planning process as the geographic center of its service area, they are not leaving South Side.

Ms. Matthews said the Association will continue to offer case management services through an office in the South Side Presbyterian Church, catty-corner from the former center. In addition to case management, Brashear also operates a diaper bank at the site.

“It’s a win-win situation,” she said. “The church benefits from having a paying tenant in the space, and Brashear is able to keep a presence on South Side.”

Additionally, The Brashear Association will continue to partner with the South Side Chamber of Commerce on the South Side Soup Contest. Preliminary planning has this year’s contest returning from a COVID-enforced hiatus in February.

Those concerned about what will happen to the contents of the museum needn’t worry, Ms. Matthews says. The items in the museum have been carefully packed away by Brashear board members and staff and are being stored in a climate-controlled location.

Pieces from the collection will be put up for auction where those with a connection to Brashear may bid on them. Ms. Matthews said she hopes some of the items will also end up at the Buhl Science Center or the Heinz History Center.

Proceeds from the auction will go towards the Phase II building fund. Phase II of the Brashear CARE Center will be a 20,000 sq. ft. addition to the current building. Demolition should happen soon to two existing buildings in the 300 block of Brownsville Road, allowing construction to begin.

The new addition, being designed by DRS Architects, will incorporate a client choice market, café, and wellness center. There will be parking beneath the new structure.

Ms. Matthews said there will be a connection point joining the two buildings. The existing Brashear CARES Center will continue to house the youth and senior programs.

Brashear will also continue to operate the Neighborhood Employment Center on Warrington Avenue in Allentown. The Grab and Go food pantry at the Henry Kaufmann Center in the South Side Slopes/Arlington area will also continue to operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until the client choice market opens.

For more information about The Brashear Association, visit

Tom Smith is the former Managing Editor of the South Pittsburgh Reporter from 2000 until 2023. Following in his mother's footsteps, he delivered news that changed our world.