From atop the Lando Building at Penn Avenue and Ninth Street, Todd Palacic can see PNC Park, kayaks on the Allegheny River, construction work on The Tower at PNC Plaza and glimpses of the shimmering glass of PPG Place.
Palacic, who is developing the seven-story structure into 27 apartments and building a deck on its roof, foresees tenants throwing parties, watching fireworks and lounging amid Pittsburgh’s skyline.
“People who live Downtown want to show off, and a deck allows them to show off,” Palacic, a developer at Penn Avenue Renaissance, said as he leaned over the deck railing to look out over the river. “A lot of first kisses will happen up here on this deck. I guarantee it.”
As more people move Downtown — the population jumped 10.5 percent in the past three years, reaching more than 7,500, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership — residents are claiming rooftops as social spaces to dine, drink, relax and take in sights. Restaurants have opened rooftop bars and seating areas. Nearly 10 apartment complexes boast roof patios and lounges, and new developments almost all have rooftop plans.
Tiny houses could play a big role in rebuilding Garfield by filling some of the neighborhood’s hundreds of vacant lots and boosting homeownership in a more affordable way, officials say.
Downtown nonprofit cityLAB intends to build a 210-square-foot home on a small parcel between two-story homes on North Atlantic Avenue, a couple of blocks from bustling Penn Avenue. Leaders of the group hope more will follow.
“There’s no such thing as a small building project,” said Chad Chalmers, an architect with Sewickley-based Wildman Chalmers Design LLC who is working on the Garfield project, noting that construction of a tiny house must go through the same steps as a traditional one — in some cases, more requirements.
An added step for Garfield’s tiny house could be to seek a variance to a section of Pittsburgh’s building code that requires any newly constructed home to have an off-street parking space. In this case, the 180-square-foot space would be nearly as large as the home and eat up one-fifth of the property.
It didn’t matter to Kate Hansen that the temperature had dropped below zero on the January day when she went house hunting in Bloomfield. It didn’t matter that so much snow and ice covered the region she couldn’t even tell if the property had grass in the backyard or a decent roof.
Location was everything for Ms. Hansen, 32, a project manager for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Office of Public Art.
She wanted more than anything to own a home in the Bloomfield neighborhood. At the rate house prices in that area were rising, she didn’t feel she had the luxury of waiting until spring. She made an offer that day.
“I was a little nervous not being able to see it,” she said, adding that the house also was the first she looked at. “I knew the street, though. My best friend lives across the street from the place I bought. I knew it was a good location just from him living there.”
The owner of Ady Cakes in West Reading is perhaps best known for having won “Cupcake Wars,” a Food Network baking-competition show in May 2012.
Even though she made a name for her business on television, owner Ady Abreu, 35, West Reading, is now branching out in a first step toward creating an easily-recognizable brand.
“I do a lot of wedding cakes for customers in Lancaster County, and I have always had interest in my cakes from that area,” Abreu said. “So naturally the idea came out to open a store here.”
When CNA Insurance announced Monday that it was donating its downtown Reading office building to I-LEAD Charter School, it was done with quite a bit of fanfare.
The sidewalk outside the five-story building at Fourth and Penn streets was filled with people. Speakers praised CNA’s generosity and the work I-LEAD does.
Applause erupted as a ceremonial key exchanged hands.
But as the celebratory din diminished, some questions were raised.
At least one person was taken to a hospital.
The driver, Marcia Conver, 76, was with her granddaughter and two great granddaughters about 6:50 p.m. when the car went through the side of the restaurant in the 3500 block of Penn Avenue.
“We were just parking, and I hit the gas instead of the brake, and it was that fast that I couldn’t help it. I just feel so bad,” she said.
A major piece of the downtown Reading puzzle has a new owner.
The five-story, 260,000-square-foot CNA Insurance building at Fourth and Penn streets has been donated to the I-LEAD Charter School, company and school officials said.
“It’s a blessing from the sky,” said Angel Figueroa, vice president for resource and development at I-LEAD. “It’s going to change the lives of many young people.”
Officials from CNA and I-LEAD are expected to officially announce the donation at an event this afternoon.
Sinking Spring‘s BOSS 2020 organization is getting ready to ask the state Department of Community and Economic Development for a $300,000 grant for its bold plan to remake the 100-year-old borough.
According to officials, $250,000 would supplement a $346,860 PennDOT grant for sidewalk improvement on the downtown’s west side.
The two-part project would consist of putting a sidewalk on Penn Avenue between Park and Wynnewood avenues, and widening the sidewalk on Penn Avenue from Columbia Avenue to Hull Street to six feet.
Right now, according to Sam Loth, consulting coordinator for BOSS 2020, the sidewalk is only 21/2 to 3 feet wide in some portions, which sometimes forces pedestrians to walk on the road.
SAVE THE DATE: SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2013 11:00 AM-6:00 PM (RAIN OR SHINE)
The West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation is proud to present the nineteenth annual Art on the Avenue. The community’s premier family festival features fine arts and crafts made by local juried artists. Each year thousands of people are drawn to Penn Avenue, West Reading as the event continues to grow. Located in the Greater Reading hub for arts, culture, shopping, and dining, this event appeals to both novice buyers and experienced art patrons. Additionally the venue features live music, street performers, local businesses, and specialty foods.
For more information visit www.ArtOnTheAvenue.wrcrf.org
Just off Penn Avenue on West Reading’s South Seventh Avenue, the home of the late James M.K. Waldron sits inconspicuously atop a hill, the onset of rows of residences moving away from the main corridor.
The facade is freshly painted, and a new flight of concrete steps leads to a newly finished porch.
There’s nary a sign of the mysterious past of the home once occupied by Reading Public Museum‘s curator of fine arts.
No indication that until last summer it seemed to be frozen in time: back to 1974, when Waldron, a watercolor artist in his own right, died at age 64.
When a group set out to revitalize Sinking Spring’s downtown in 2008, it planned to start with the west side of town.
Then a developer shifted the focus to what’s now known as the Spring Market shopping center in the eastern section.
Now the group is trying to advance a plan for the central district, calling for a new mix of residential and commercial space south of Penn Avenue.
The revitalization group, known as BOSS 2020, for Borough of Sinking Spring 2020, met with an architectural firm and came up with the downtown plan.
Alcon of Sinking Spring contributed $8,000 to the effort.
On the sidewalk along Penn Avenue in West Reading, Pam Roule glued down glass tiles under the late morning sun.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” the borough resident said as she placed the small pieces. “These are the clouds.”
Nearby, Mayor Shane J. Keller cut additional pieces of glass as the occasional West Reading Farmers Market patron stopped, groceries in hand, to view the progress on what eventually will be one of five mosaics on Chestnut Street near West Reading Elementary Center.
“The more you work with it, the more you learn,” said Roule, an artist with a studio on Playground Drive. “And it gets kind of addicting.”
Finding attractions along Penn Avenue and Penn Street will soon be a bit easier.
Representatives from the Penn Corridor Initiative on Tuesday shared with City Council plans to install way-finding signs along the corridor, pointing people in the direction of spots like the Reading Public Museum, Reading Hospital and the Sovereign Center.
“A lot of people coming into the city see the Miller Center right there and say ‘How do I get there?’ ” said John Weidenhammer, chairman of the initiative.
Here’s a little information about Ady Cakes from their website:
“We are a locally owned Custom Cake & Cupcake Shop situated in the heart of West Reading in business since 2007. We offer many elegant designs from which to choose, and we also specialize in working with you to create a completely new design with your own personality, ideas and flair.
We will guide you in selecting a cake that suits your personal style and budget and above all, we promise to deliver a fresh, delicious, cake that tastes as good as it looks.
Our business is fully licensed by the State of Pennsylvania and a proud member of the International Cakes Exploration Societe (ICES). ”
Ady Cakes, LLC is located at 631 Penn Avenue, West Reading, PA. You can contact them the following ways:
Voice: (610) 898-4064
There are many pictures on the website and Facebook for your enjoyment! The bakery hours and other information about ordering and payment are found on their website for your convenience!
Here is an article from today’s Reading Eagle:
Ady Abreu was hard at work in her West Reading bakery Monday morning, just hours after celebrating her “Cupcake Wars” victory at a party held in her honor at Viva Bistro & Tapas Lounge in Wyomissing.
Normally closed on Mondays, Ady’s Cakes opened during the afternoon with a special offering – a four-pack containing one cupcake of each flavor that she created for “Cupcake Wars,” a Food Network baking-competition show.
From a pizzeria in Rehrersburg to a corner tavern in Spring Township, Michelle Giorgio has made a big leap toward her dream.
Giorgio, who always wanted to own a restaurant along busy Route 422, is the proud owner of The Tavern on Penn, along with her husband, Joseph.
Housed in the former Penn Cecil Hotel in the West Lawn area, The Tavern on Penn opened for business Feb. 17.
The process started, however, in Rehrersburg in March 2011, when the Giorgios decided to sell their pizzeria.
When West Reading’s state and community-funded Main Street Program on Penn Avenue reached maturity in 2005, a total of 66 businesses had been created in six years, along with more than 125 jobs.
Grant funding of $6 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development revitalized the streetscape with new facades, sidewalk and traffic-lane design, and pedestrian and street lighting.
What’s going on in West Reading to maintain and expand the cycle of growth on the hippest street in the county? Some businesses still flounder, while others take root and grow.