Pittsburgh’s transformation from steel and manufacturing to eds and meds is a well-known story that continues to attract national attention, this time from Time Magazine.
Protected bike lanes along Penn Avenue saw more than 24,000 bike trips in May, according to figures the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership release Thursday.
The bike lanes, installed in September 2014, eliminated a lane for vehicles with bollards along the route. Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership in mid-April installed three mechanical counters across the width of the bike lane on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue to track usage.
Picture this scrolling hundreds of feet above the iconic confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers: “Chipped ham, $1.39 a pound.”
That’s the plot Mayor Bill Peduto says his administration has foiled as it negotiates a new permit with Lamar Advertising for the company’s famous 32-foot-tall, 225-foot-long neon sign on Mount Washington, which has loomed over the Point since around the time of the 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.
Bayer, which for years had pushed for upgrades to the dilapidated sign that was covered with a banner during the G-20 summit in 2009 like an embarrassing piece of furniture, finally dropped its nearly 22-year lease of the sign last summer. Lamar pledged to overhaul it. During its lifespan, the sign has also been graced by the sponsorship of Iron City Beer and Alcoa, and displayed the time and the temperature.
Mr. Peduto said Friday that the company is threatening to cease the improvements over his administration’s insistence that the sign not be used for advertising purposes beyond displaying a company name. Mr. Peduto said he was told his stance “killed” a deal with Giant Eagle to become the new sponsor.
A New York developer unveiled plans today to convert the Allegheny Center mall on the North Side into a technology hub and campus to be known as Nova Place.
The multimillion-dollar project being undertaken by Faros Properties will include an extensive renovation of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex, making it one of the largest redevelopment projects in the country, officials said.
Work will include upgraded offices, collaborative workspaces, new restaurants, a fitness center, a conference center and improved common areas.
In unveiling the changes, Faros announced that Innovation Works has signed a lease to occupy 12,000 square feet in the complex. The company will move from its current space in Pittsburgh to Allegheny Center next month and into permanent space in the fall.
Mayor Bill Peduto’s newly named Affordable Housing Task Force has daunting numbers to chip away at. For starters, a shortage of 21,000 homes in Pittsburgh that are affordable enough for families of four whose income is $24,000, which is 30 percent of the area’s median income for that size household.
Attorney Robert Damewood of Regional Housing Legal Services called the shortage “severe” and said that throughout Allegheny County, more than 30,000 people live in housing they can’t afford, most paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. “This makes them very insecure and at risk of eviction.”
The has just issued a report on a situation it expects to escalate as rents rise in more neighborhoods.
Mr. Damewood researched and prepared the report for the Housing Alliance’s Building Inclusive Communities work group. It recommends the city establish inclusive zoning, assuring a percentage of affordable units in any development, either by mandate or incentives to developers, such as land use approvals, height density bonuses and additional build-outs at no extra cost. In flat markets, a community land trust or land bank can preserve properties for affordable development.
Lori Minetti often feels stranded in her Carrick home.
The closest bus stop used to be across the street. Now it’s almost a mile away, because Port Authority of Allegheny County eliminated the 50 Spencer route four years ago.
She walks one of the farthest distances a city resident must go to catch a bus. It seems even farther to Minetti, who has an arthritic back.
“It’s kind of cloistered me,” said Minetti, 48, a former temp for Downtown companies who no longer works. Her husband uses the couple’s only car for his job as a maintenance worker in Munhall.
The Heinz Endowments is redirecting resources toward smart urban planning to seize upon an “amazing moment” in Pittsburgh’s development, foundation president Grant Oliphant said Thursday.
A citywide building boom, an infusion of young professionals and heightened partnerships between foundation and civic officials are among factors jump-starting conversations about long-term planning strategies.
“Suddenly, in 2015, Pittsburgh is a place to be,” Oliphant said. “There is an energy in Pittsburgh around development that makes possible things that were really not possible to push forward 10 years ago.”
Oliphant’s remarks emerge 18 months after a major personnel shakeup at The Heinz Endowments, Western Pennsylvania’s second largest foundation with more than $1.5 billion in net assets. A string of executive departures in 2013 left the foundation without an executive director for eight months, amid an apparent clash between the Heinz family and departing staffers over the foundation’s ties to an industry-backed environmental group.
PNC Financial Services Group’s $400 million skyscraper in Downtown is nearly 80 percent complete and on track to be finished in the fall, the company said Friday.
Mayor Bill Peduto said he welcomes “the addition of their new tower to our celebrated skyline,” along with the financial giant’s continued investment in Pittsburgh.
PNC’s Downtown presence includes the 30-story One PNC Plaza, 34-story Two PNC Plaza, 23-story Three PNC Plaza and five-story PNC Firstside Center on First Avenue.
Construction of the skyscraper, dubbed The Tower at PNC Plaza, began in spring 2012. A PNC-run website dedicated to the project says The Tower is 78 percent complete, with work to enclose the building about 90 percent done and interior construction about 60 percent finished. The latter work is expected to be completed in the spring.
The Justice Department picked Pittsburgh and five other cities as sites for a pilot program intended to test police-community relations strategies and policies, the agency said Thursday.
The agency chose the sites based on factors that include the applicants’ willingness to try ideas and their ability to collect data that would provide a scientific evaluation of methods.
U.S. Attorney David Hickton and Mayor Bill Peduto scheduled a news conference for Friday to discuss Pittsburgh’s role in the initiative.
Pittsburgh applied to become a pilot site, and police Chief Cameron McLay is excited about the opportunity, said Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sonya Toler.
The ultra-chic Residences at Mandarin Oriental in Boston’s Back Bay — a development with its own concierge and marble foyers, as well as rents that range from $4,700 to $17,000 a month — has been the province of the rich and powerful since opening in 2008.
But not exclusively.
Thanks to a 15-year-old city policy, teachers, police officers and other modest wage earners live next door to the wealthy at the Mandarin and other luxurious residential developments in Boston.
Because of the city’s inclusionary development policy, the Mandarin houses 10 affordable apartments — comparable in size and quality to the others — with rents ranging from $1,365 to $2,340 a month. The lucky recipients were chosen by lottery.
The Buncher Co. and a Cleveland-based developer said Thursday they are moving ahead with plans to build 400 residential units along the edge of the Allegheny River in the Strip District.
Buncher, which is based in the Strip, ultimately plans to pump more than $400 million into residential and office development on the riverfront, including $100 million on the 400 units.
Pittsburgh City Council today approved acting police Chief Cameron McLay to head the city’s police bureau. Chief McLay has been serving as acting chief since September.
The unanimous vote with virtually no discussion came a day after a 2½-hour confirmation hearing for the 56-year-old former Madison, Wis., police captain, who is the first outsider ever hired to lead the department, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s staff.
Chief McLay will be formally sworn in at 4 p.m. this afternoon in the mayor’s office.
Also today, council passed the mayor’s controversial plan to reorganize the Bureau of Building Inspection into a new Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has his own prime time reality TV show.
Peduto donned a wig with shoulder-length gray hair and a scraggly, long gray beard to star on an upcoming hourlong episode of the CBS Emmy-winning show “Undercover Boss.” The episode is scheduled to air 8 p.m. Dec. 21.
“It will be the only chance that I ever have in my life to hear what people say about me directly to my face, but not knowing who I am,” he said Thursday.
U.S. Steel will move to a new, five-story corporate headquarters on the former site of the Civic Arena in a deal that will provide a corporate anchor tenant for the 28-acre property where $440 million in development is planned, officials said Monday.
The company plans to lease the 268,000-square-foot building for 18 years, the company said at a news conference at Consol Energy Center.
U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi, Gov. Tom Corbett, Pitsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse attended the announcement against a backdrop of artist renderings that showed people strolling a plaza of concrete, grass and trees in front of a conceptualized version of the building.
Gunmen targeted three victims in two apparently unrelated incidents Monday after a “pretty violent” week around the city that left some residents fearing for their lives.
A Pittsburgh sanitation worker was shot to death in his car Monday morning as he prepared to begin his route. Less than five hours later, two masked gunmen chased two victims on the streets of Glen Hazel in full view of neighbors, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition. A Chicago man was shot in the face and killed Saturday night in Beltzhoover. Arlington Heights was the scene of two daylight shootings Saturday and Sunday that wounded four.
Police are treating the incidents as unrelated, said Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler.
“Right now, there’s no reason to believe they’re connected,” Toler said. She described the past week as “pretty violent” and said the people involved in most of the shootings participated in “undesirable activities.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has a long list from which to choose a police chief.
Sixty-seven people from across the country applied for the job, according to Talent City, a recruitment program that a group of foundations established to help Peduto find top administrators.
The application period ended on July 31.
“My goal is that somebody will be offered that position and hopefully accept it during the first week of September,” Peduto said.
Pittsburgh police will step up patrols in the city’s eastern neighborhoods to combat an uptick in homicides, many of which appear to be drug-related, officials said on Monday.
Homicide detectives were closing in on a suspect in one of several recent shootings in a North Side public housing complex, officials said.
Police Lt. Daniel Herrmann said police know “key actors” in a shooting on Wednesday that killed one man and injured another in the Northview Heights housing complex.
“We need more information to pull people off the street,” Herrmann said. “We know some of the key actors, but we don’t have enough to get a warrant yet.”
While it’s no European-style piazza, some believe the area around the newly restored park could be primed to become one of Downtown’s next hot spots for restaurants and retail.
“I see it becoming the next great Downtown destination,” said Herky Pollock, executive vice president of the CBRE real estate firm.
Only a few years ago, the Smithfield Street corridor between Fifth and Liberty avenues that includes Mellon Square appeared to be ready for last rites.
An Allegheny County judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the debt-ridden August Wilson Center for African American Culture to a New York-based company.
Common Pleas Judge Lawrence J. O’Toole agreed that 980 Liberty Partners will have 60 days to perform an engineering study to determine the feasibility of building a hotel atop the center and 10 days to show proof that it has the money to close on the sale.
The judge scheduled a status conference for June 9 and did not rule on pending objections.
When it comes to economic and residential growth, the Golden Triangle has had the golden touch in recent years, with almost $800 million in development under construction and about twice that much planned.
A study released on Thursday predicts that trend will continue with explosive development of apartments, hotels and retail and high-end office space in Pittsburgh’s Greater Downtown, including the Triangle, North Shore, South Shore, Uptown, the Bluff and near Strip District as far northeast as 31st Street.
“We’re only experiencing the beginning of Downtown’s transformation,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership.
The partnership produced the study, which looked at economic indicators in several key areas to evaluate Downtown’s vitality. It gave the results in a presentation at Union Trust Building — itself a symbol of Downtown’s revitalization.