The First Shopping Center in the Nation, Developed, Continuously Owned and Managed by African Americans
Sullivan Progress Plaza is the first African American owned shopping center in the United States. It was founded in 1968 by the late Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, and funded by Zion Baptist Church charter members, the local Philadelphia black community, and individual investors. The 95,000 square foot commercial property completed a $22 million dollar renovation in 2009. In 2016, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission unveiled a historical marker on North Broad Street, acknowledging the work of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan and the national impact of the Sullivan Progress Plaza commercial venture. Sullivan Progress Plaza celebrated a 50-year milestone during 2018 and remains a beacon of pride in the North Philadelphia community.
PIA is a commercial economic development enterprise dedicated to sustainable community economic development and job opportunities. Progress Investment Associates was originally founded in 1962, as Zion Investment Associates, by the late Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Sullivan, who was the first African American to sit on the board of General Motors Corporation, saw economic development and job training as key components to advancing opportunities for blacks. His primary goal was to encourage the development of black-owned businesses and black self-empowerment.
Progress Trust, Inc.
The Progress Trust Inc. is a non-profit community Development corporation, established in 1999 as an outgrowth of the Progress Investment Associates, Inc. (PIA) at a time when PIA was launching into a major redevelopment and expansion of Progress Plaza Shopping Center.