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  #4021  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2021, 7:42 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by photoLith View Post
^
Man, wtf. October development usually makes great new infill. Those tin sided monstrosities are horrific. When in the eff are Pittsburgh developers going to get over this horrid fetish of covering everything in oddly colored tin and metal? Just use bricks dammit.
This is the third plan. You should have seen the first. They've actually changed it considerably to look more "matchy" with changes like having three courses of windows along the top of the buildings.

The issue seems to be that for whatever reason they hired an architect which only does modern designs for this project, rather than whoever did their numerous New Traditional homes built earlier.

The funny thing is those earlier homes were built in areas without historic protection, while this project is in the Mexican War Streets annex, meaning "matchy" would have been much easier in terms of code.
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  #4022  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 2:53 PM
themaguffin themaguffin is offline
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Apologies if this was already brought up...


Box Office begins. Southside Works movie theater being converted to office space

The movie theater would become Box Office with 77,000 square feet of Class A, high-tech flexible office space.


Quote:
“We realized the highest and best use of that space is a creative office building,” says Jonathon Reeser of SomeraRoad. “We can use that same footprint that’s there today and lean on that historical cinema and marquee … and make it a beautiful steel and glass adaptive reuse of that space. I think it’ll be one of the more impressive adaptive reuse projects seen in Pittsburgh.”

New features revealed include a large central communal staircase, and a giant video wall, perfect for townhall meetings. Box Office will also feature 4,000 square feet of elevated outdoor terrace space overlooking the redesigned SouthSide Works Town Square. It’s intended as recreational or meeting space.

The design is by architecture, engineering and planning giant HOK
.






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  #4023  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 5:29 PM
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The death knell of movie theaters is nigh.
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  #4024  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 5:44 PM
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So good to see that they're preserving the historic marquee facade!




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Originally Posted by themaguffin View Post

The movie theater would become Box Office with 77,000 square feet of Class A, high-tech flexible office space.



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  #4025  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 5:51 PM
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I actually kind of like this adaptive re-use.
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  #4026  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 7:01 PM
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Could this be considered historic preservation with a facedectomy lol
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  #4027  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 7:21 PM
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I actually kind of like this adaptive re-use.
Yeah, me too. Definitely will give a more open feel. The SSW always had a weird atmosphere to me, for some reason or another. Tons of buildings, but just didn't seem to be much there somehow. This will hopefully give the area a shot in the arm.

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Could this be considered historic preservation with a facedectomy lol
Why not? it's going on 20 years since it was built. I'm sure the real estate types could make up some story about how this was the theater for the mill workers back in the day, so it has historic significance to Pittsburgh... repeat it over an over to get it to stick like they do when they "rebrand" neighborhoods or buildings.
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  #4028  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 9:06 PM
themaguffin themaguffin is offline
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I actually kind of like this adaptive re-use.
I agree. I think that it has a lot more going for it than Allegheny Center which I assume has/will have a similar feel.
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  #4029  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 9:26 PM
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Peduto's office has proposed a further "tweak" to the zoning code to limit the number of front-facing garages in townhouses. Essentially it would mandate rear-facing (or sideyard-facing) parking for any lot which has access other than on the primary street frontage. It also says when alley access is not available, "shared curb cuts" are encouraged. I'm not entirely sure what this means - are they saying to have one gigundo curb cut which covers two towhouses next to one another?

It's a nice thought, but I literally cannot think of a single case where a townhouse has been built with a front-facing driveway if it had alley access. Last year's elimination of parking minimums was more impactful. Though if they really wanted to accomplish something, legal 2-3 units in rowhouse neighborhoods with no off-street parking would be even better.

Edit: I just realized one place it will cause huge issues is in areas with huge grade changes. There are lots of townhouse lots where the "alley frontage" is 1-2 stories higher or lower than the "main frontage." Since the zoning change applies to all residential attached usages, not just areas zoned R1-A, this could cause significant problems developing these properties.
I too am confused about exactly what is being proposed.

Hopefully it can prevent this from becoming common:
https://goo.gl/maps/adRM92oNTm5SdtKw9
That's a street with zero sidewalks and every building entirely fronted with doors and garage doors on the first floor!
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  #4030  
Old Posted Jan 26, 2021, 9:52 PM
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^
I did real estate photos for those apartments for walnut Capitol a few years ago. They look like they belong in cranberry. They said they were having a difficult time selling them because they were/are too suburban looking for the area. If someone wanted to live in a soulless apartment complex they wouldn’t move to Lawrenceville, plus the rent was outrageously high for them.
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  #4031  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2021, 1:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post
I too am confused about exactly what is being proposed.

Hopefully it can prevent this from becoming common:
https://goo.gl/maps/adRM92oNTm5SdtKw9
That's a street with zero sidewalks and every building entirely fronted with doors and garage doors on the first floor!
You raise an interesting question about what happens in cases like this where they build an entirely new "subdivision" within the city. The code seems silent on this, but will the city require rear alleys from now on?

In this particular case though, all of the townhouses are actually on one parcel and set up as rental units, so I'm not sure how zoning would treat a new development laid out like that.
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  #4032  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2021, 2:11 AM
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Those Lawrenceville townhouses look so out of place when viewing them from Allegheny Cemetery. And by out of place, I mean terrrible.
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  #4033  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2021, 3:04 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Those Lawrenceville townhouses look so out of place when viewing them from Allegheny Cemetery. And by out of place, I mean terrrible.
The weird thing about it is that area is zoned RM-M, meaning they could have built an apartment building. And indeed, they effectively manage it as an apartment complex, given they didn't subdivide the parcel and market them as rentals.

It would be a challenging parcel to build apartments on, given it is very shallow. The parking requirements in particular would be difficult to meet without structured parking. But they would have been able to pack in a lot more units, which would be much easier to rent out than those shitty townhomes.
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  #4034  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2021, 3:32 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The weird thing about it is that area is zoned RM-M, meaning they could have built an apartment building. And indeed, they effectively manage it as an apartment complex, given they didn't subdivide the parcel and market them as rentals.

It would be a challenging parcel to build apartments on, given it is very shallow. The parking requirements in particular would be difficult to meet without structured parking. But they would have been able to pack in a lot more units, which would be much easier to rent out than those shitty townhomes.
Interesting. I'm sure an apartment building with integral parking could have been designed for the site... though likely a much bigger investment. However, that's a prime location in Lawrenceville, especially given the quiet and greenery which the adjacent cemetery provides in the middle of the city. If they did it right, I'm sure they could see a positive ROI in relatively short time (based on what people are paying in rent in other, less "hot" parts of town).

Even if they just made the existing townhouses less "Cranberry", as photolith points out, I think they'd rent out more easily. I think it would be a nice place to live in Lawrenceville... having a back deck right on a heavily-wooded cemetery... it's basically a park.
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  #4035  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfiler View Post
I too am confused about exactly what is being proposed.

Hopefully it can prevent this from becoming common:
https://goo.gl/maps/adRM92oNTm5SdtKw9
That's a street with zero sidewalks and every building entirely fronted with doors and garage doors on the first floor!
I wouldn't consider not having sidewalks a death knell for urbanism. The opposite, actually: most minor streets in Japan don't have sidewalks, and I would further suggest the omnipresence of shared space (or woonerven, or whatever your preferred term for it is) has a real effect in Japanese driver psychology: Japanese drivers, I've noticed, are far more aware of pedestrians even when there are sidewalks and crosswalks. I've been living in Japan for a bit so this is something I know firsthand.

The problem here isn't the lack of sidewalks -- or even the parking pad in front of the house IMO. (This is also common in Japan.) It's that little front yard in front of all the townhouses. It completely wrecks everything! It makes the street feel wider than it really is, and because you subconsciously feel as if some random driver's gonna wreck your garden you don't really want to make something useful out of it, either. Japanese properties generally have low walls around their gardens, and yes, surprisingly many lots fronted by carparks or garages (including most of the ones on my block), but the low wall does a lot for communicating the boundaries of space, which space is meant for the movement of people and which space is meant for the enjoyment of residents.

Just your normal, everyday street in Japan. Notice the large carpark left. Also notice the lack of sidewalks, and how walls communicate a strong division between public and private space. https://goo.gl/maps/hJb6X1bKn1NHLZLW6
And just around the corner, here's another one fronted mainly by garages and carparks: https://goo.gl/maps/MzxV72Qs6YEXS1zn6
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  #4036  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 1:09 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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2/18 ZBA is now up. Three items of interest for that week - one of which is fairly substantial:

1. New sign permit for downtown. They're going to slap a giant Federated Hermes sign on top of the Westin building. It will be highly visible from the Allegheny. Bleh.

2. Infill two-unit in Homewood. The presentation is crude, but it looks like a solid, unobtrusive new traditional design. I can never understand why it's more common in Pittsburgh that affordable housing is built new traditional, while market-rate is godawful postmodernist stuff.

3. Most notably, the plans for a new six-story office building at the corner of Penn and Centre (across from the Target) appear to be back from the dead. The schematics are crude - I wish this was going to the Planning Commission so we would get better renderings. It seems like they've toned back on the glass curtain wall - now it will only be used immediately on the corner of the building, with most of the Centre-facing façade, and some of the Penn-facing façade having a more traditional look. Frankly I wish they'd eliminate it entirely, as it will still stick out pretty dramatically as the end-piece of a traditional urban block.
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  #4037  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 2:16 PM
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Even bigger lettering for Federated, I like! I'm just hoping we can get a big, white P P G and another big, white P N C on the skyline.




Regarding the East Liberty proposal... just rather amazing that cdc nonprofit ELDI sells the parcel for $275K to a Walnut Capital guy in 2015 and Highwoods purchases it for $2.5M in 2019.
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  #4038  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 3:27 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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  #4039  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 4:11 PM
dfiler dfiler is offline
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Originally Posted by hammersklavier View Post
I wouldn't consider not having sidewalks a death knell for urbanism. The opposite, actually: most minor streets in Japan don't have sidewalks, and I would further suggest the omnipresence of shared space (or woonerven, or whatever your preferred term for it is) has a real effect in Japanese driver psychology: Japanese drivers, I've noticed, are far more aware of pedestrians even when there are sidewalks and crosswalks. I've been living in Japan for a bit so this is something I know firsthand.

The problem here isn't the lack of sidewalks -- or even the parking pad in front of the house IMO. (This is also common in Japan.) It's that little front yard in front of all the townhouses. It completely wrecks everything! It makes the street feel wider than it really is, and because you subconsciously feel as if some random driver's gonna wreck your garden you don't really want to make something useful out of it, either. Japanese properties generally have low walls around their gardens, and yes, surprisingly many lots fronted by carparks or garages (including most of the ones on my block), but the low wall does a lot for communicating the boundaries of space, which space is meant for the movement of people and which space is meant for the enjoyment of residents.

Just your normal, everyday street in Japan. Notice the large carpark left. Also notice the lack of sidewalks, and how walls communicate a strong division between public and private space. https://goo.gl/maps/hJb6X1bKn1NHLZLW6
And just around the corner, here's another one fronted mainly by garages and carparks: https://goo.gl/maps/MzxV72Qs6YEXS1zn6
You raise some good points about sidewalks. Without a lot of thought, i was assuming that lack of sidewalks equates to a car-centric urban structure. And that is probably true for the majority of America. Though as you point out, that isn't always the case. In a different context, the street would be seen as pedestrian territory. Lack of sidewalks would then be a hassle for vehicles rather than pedestrians.

There's definitely something off about the development. It seems to have become a poster child for Pittsburgh urban infill gone wrong. It is certainly my favorite example to show people when talking about the significance of zoning and the type of development happening in the city.
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  #4040  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2021, 4:22 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post
You raise some good points about sidewalks. Without a lot of thought, i was assuming that lack of sidewalks equates to a car-centric urban structure. And that is probably true for the majority of America. Though as you point out, that isn't always the case. In a different context, the street would be seen as pedestrian territory. Lack of sidewalks would then be a hassle for vehicles rather than pedestrians.

There's definitely something off about the development. It seems to have become a poster child for Pittsburgh urban infill gone wrong. It is certainly my favorite example to show people when talking about the significance of zoning and the type of development happening in the city.
The U.S. is still stuck in the "complete streets" urban planning model - whereby everyone (pedestrians, cyclists, cars) is supposed to get their own little right of way unimpeded by others. This stands in contrast to urban planning in virtually all other nations, which is moving towards "pedestrians first, cars deal with it."
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