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  #2881  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2019, 8:19 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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New Planning Commission presentation up for 8/22. There are really only two new items for next week:

1. A historic restoration of 439 Wood Street - a rather nice four-story historic commercial building which now appears to be vacant on the upper stories. Some of the terra-cotta facade is pretty degraded, so it will be a lot of work - but make a big impact as well.

2. Oxford is proposing a rezoning of the former UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center from EMI to UI (Urban Industrial). Medical uses have ceased on site, with UPMC using the complex solely for about 200 IT employees. The presentation suggests UPMC is looking to consolidate IT services onto the site, and UI zoning would give them a lot more flexibility to develop the blocks as straight-up office space. It does not appear at this time UPMC is looking to sell any of their lots, or to do anything more than renovate the existing buildings, but there would be the potential for substantive office buildings (or apartments) in the future.

In addition, Next Pittsburgh has a short article online now about Walnut Capital's Innovation Research Tower in Oakland, which should get final approval from the Planning Commission next week.
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  #2882  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 1:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pj3000 View Post
Still vacant: Prime Downtown lot attracts lots of parking, no redevelopment

https://www.post-gazette.com/busines...s/201910160188



Sounds like the owner of this property wanted to develop a more formal surface parking lot on this tract with an indefinite timeframe on which to develop some type of building on it.

The lot which I'd like to see put to better use is the lot across from the city-county building on Grant. Should be a park, not a parking lot. City halls should always sit across from a park/square, in my world.
I certainly see where you're coming from. However, I believe that is the parcel of land that the Developers behind One Oxford Centre were looking to build a Two Oxford Centre but never did. At least a few renderings were posted in these discussions some time back. Heck, if another tall building won't go there, why not convert it into a park or plaza then, especially since it's right across Grant St. from the City-County building?
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  #2883  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 7:06 PM
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WeWork is paying $9 million to renovate 105,000 sqft in USX. No more details than that.

Here is the Building Pittsburgh blog entry they cite, but it also doesn't have any more details:

https://buildingpittsburgh.com/2019/...rough-worries/

Just speculating, but to me it sounds like they are likely going for a pretty fun modern techy space, ala Google Pittsburgh and such.
Looks like that deal is dead.
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  #2884  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2019, 12:55 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Not a surprise there.

Fortunately, we were VERY late to the WeWork game. Other cities might experience far larger issues.
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  #2885  
Old Posted Oct 20, 2019, 2:17 PM
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So the URA has approved the new deal for the Lower Hill site, but it still has to get approval from various public authorities, such that we won't see actual development until mid-2020 at the earliest.

The PG has a lot of details, and of course it basically amounts to the Penguins getting even MORE public money to support the project:

https://www.post-gazette.com/local/c...s/201910180166

Oh well.

But, hopefully we do FINALLY see something actually started next year. Hopefully.
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  #2886  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2019, 1:35 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
So the URA has approved the new deal for the Lower Hill site, but it still has to get approval from various public authorities, such that we won't see actual development until mid-2020 at the earliest.

The PG has a lot of details, and of course it basically amounts to the Penguins getting even MORE public money to support the project:

https://www.post-gazette.com/local/c...s/201910180166

Oh well.

But, hopefully we do FINALLY see something actually started next year. Hopefully.
Eh, mid-2020 isn't that far away at this point. I mean, no new major projects are going to start until next spring because we're getting very close to frost season, and casting concrete when it's below freezing is very expensive.

One interesting thing I realized is except for some of the smaller rehabs and single-family homes still under construction, basically all the new housing units which will be done in time for the 2020 census have now been finished. This means we can start putting together semi-accurate predictions of what Pittsburgh neighborhoods are going to experience growth.
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  #2887  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2019, 6:08 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Eh, mid-2020 isn't that far away at this point. I mean, no new major projects are going to start until next spring because we're getting very close to frost season, and casting concrete when it's below freezing is very expensive.
Right, at this point it is expected, but of course the fact it took so long to get to this point is why they are once again so far off their prior stated timeline.

And we'll see if mid-2020 holds up any better as a new target.
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  #2888  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2019, 1:30 AM
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East Edge East Edge is offline
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Right, at this point it is expected, but of course the fact it took so long to get to this point is why they are once again so far off their prior stated timeline.

And we'll see if mid-2020 holds up any better as a new target.
Honestly I am underwhelmed with anything recent I've seen in terms of development plans for that site. I know i'm dreaming but with all the trouble to build the deck park I wish we could be seeing a whole new dynamic expansion of our Downtown and skyline there. I think development just for the sake of development doesnt make sense. I wish we could be see something like Pittsburgh's version (much smaller) of Hudson Yards there with iconic new towers. I would hate it if we just end up with some mid rise office park and some mixed income apartments. BIG had the most innovative vision but it doesnt look like we will get anywhere close...Heck, i would even settle for one iconic new tower there!
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  #2889  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2019, 12:17 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Honestly I am underwhelmed with anything recent I've seen in terms of development plans for that site. I know i'm dreaming but with all the trouble to build the deck park I wish we could be seeing a whole new dynamic expansion of our Downtown and skyline there. I think development just for the sake of development doesnt make sense. I wish we could be see something like Pittsburgh's version (much smaller) of Hudson Yards there with iconic new towers. I would hate it if we just end up with some mid rise office park and some mixed income apartments. BIG had the most innovative vision but it doesnt look like we will get anywhere close...Heck, i would even settle for one iconic new tower there!
Unfortunately, I think that a big commercial tower is pretty much impossible right now in Pittsburgh. Our commercial real estate prices aren't high enough to build on spec, and there aren't the sort of anchor tenants which would be needed in order to justify the financing.

Unless PNC decided to build yet another one, I struggle to think about who would occupy it. UPMC seems like an obvious answer, but their top-level corporate (beyond the individual hospitals) is pretty thin on the ground. Dick's Sporting Goods is really the only remaining suburban corporate HQ in our metro (and as a retailer - and a money loser - I don't think they'd want to take on the cost of moving downtown).
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  #2890  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2019, 1:18 PM
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It should probably be noted too it has in part been community groups pushing for relatively unambitious plans--they have argued against blocking views, too many units, and so on. I think that is a mistake but I don't see that dynamic changing. And even the BIG design fell within those constraints--in a cool way, but still within those limits.

On the plus side, I personally think mid-rise densities are fine for the eastern/southern portions of the site. That won't make it an extension of Downtown, but it will make it an extension of Uptown, and generally support the cohesive development of Oakland, the Hill, and Uptown.

And the plan is to put towers into the remaining northwest part, across from the federal courthouse more or less. For the economic/financial reasons another poster mentioned, I am not sure when that will become viable. But that would be at least a little bit of Downtown crossing over.

Anyway, that's the plan for a lot of reasons, and I have personally made my peace with it. I just want to get it moving already.
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  #2891  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2019, 7:15 PM
PITairport PITairport is offline
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Unfortunately, I think that a big commercial tower is pretty much impossible right now in Pittsburgh. Our commercial real estate prices aren't high enough to build on spec, and there aren't the sort of anchor tenants which would be needed in order to justify the financing.

Unless PNC decided to build yet another one, I struggle to think about who would occupy it. UPMC seems like an obvious answer, but their top-level corporate (beyond the individual hospitals) is pretty thin on the ground. Dick's Sporting Goods is really the only remaining suburban corporate HQ in our metro (and as a retailer - and a money loser - I don't think they'd want to take on the cost of moving downtown).
There are plenty of large corporations headquartered in the suburbs beyond Dick's. Consol Energy, FedEx Ground, Westinghouse, Mylan (who will be inverting their inversion and returning their "HQ" to the US). I'm not suggesting any of those would move downtown, and EQT is rumored to join the other energy companies at Southpointe when their downtown lease runs out. As far as DicK's, it's not a matter of their ability to move downtown but their willingness to do so. Their campus is purpose built for them, contains baseball diamonds, basketball courts, trails, etc etc... the things that go with a sporting goods theme. The CEO can walk from the office to the company jet. They aren't going anywhere even if the company's finances improve. In fact they had a major expansion planned where they are a couple years ago.


FNC is probably the best bet to anchor a downtown tower. They anchored a couple nice mixed use developments in North Carolina as regional headquarters and I wouldn't expect anything less for their future HQ here. Here's the one in Charlotte:

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  #2892  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2019, 1:14 AM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Behind a paywall, but the Shadyside NIMBYs were defeated, with the Planning Commission voting to upzone the Shady Hill shopping center to UNC. As with all zoning changes, it needs to go to city council for approval, but Erika Strassburger is in favor, and she's the city council rep for the area, which makes it seem like a done deal.

It seems like the only people who were a hard no was the NIMBY group led by Village of Shadyside residents. The Village of Shadyside - as in the condo association - actually hired a lawyer to represent them at the hearing. Affordable housing and public transit advocates had issues with the redevelopment plan which has been unveiled, but as the Planning Commission reminded people, the vote was not on the plan, but the rezone.

Also, the new Walnut Capital tower and Bakery Square Refresh 2020 sailed through unanimously as well.
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  #2893  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2019, 1:24 PM
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Good to see the Shady Hill development take a big step forward. Given how the surrounding area really took off over the last 10-15 years, that piece of land is very ripe for development. I'm glad that we'll see this up-zoned to allow for higher density uses. You have the recent development just across Shady Ave and the busway in East Liberty. Then you have the Bakery Square development. Each of these containing buildings at least 6 floors tall. This development really should be done so that it conforms with these developments. I guess it's only a matter of time before the strip mall next to Bakery Square is redeveloped.
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  #2894  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2019, 8:43 PM
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I guess it's only a matter of time before the strip mall next to Bakery Square is redeveloped.
That could be a big one. it adds up to a LOT of land, and I am thinking they could parking along the Busway ala the East Liberty Transit Center.
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  #2895  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2019, 10:25 PM
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I gotta believe that Walnut Capital must have its eyes on that plaza.

I envision Pittsburgh’s largest mixed-use development on that site.
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  #2896  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2019, 1:55 AM
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I'm pretty sure the next phase for Bakery Square is going to be crossing the Busway and beginning to buy buildings and parcels along Hamilton. In all of the most recent renderings and site plans they've shown a pedestrian bridge around Putnam Street, and I know they are still pulling hard for a new Busway station explicitly for Bakery Square - which would be located exactly where the pedestrian bridge is going to be.
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  #2897  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2019, 12:06 PM
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Jonboy1983 Jonboy1983 is offline
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I gotta believe that Walnut Capital must have its eyes on that plaza.

I envision Pittsburgh’s largest mixed-use development on that site.
How big of a development do you envision exactly? I see street level retail/office with up to 8 or 9 floors of residential use above it. It might be the biggest mixed-use development for East Liberty perhaps...

Per BrianTH's response, yes, I too envision parking along the busway.
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  #2898  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2019, 2:24 PM
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It might be the biggest mixed-use development for East Liberty perhaps.
It is interesting to note how little of East Liberty's new market-rate development is actually in East Liberty. Much of it is - as the city defines it, either in Shadyside (Eastside Bond, much of Bakery Square) or Larimer (rest of Bakery Square). Really the only substantial market-rate apartments which have opened up in East Liberty proper are the Highland Building rehab, The Penn Walnut on Highland building (man, they need to rebrand) and Coda on Centre (which most people probably think of as Friendship).

The Shady Hill redevelopment is also clearly in Shadyside. The Club One redevelopment is in East Liberty however, as is the site of The Village of Eastside.

I do wonder in another decade or so - when there might be a near continuous band of new development running from the Baum-Centre corridor all the way to Fifth Avenue - if the area will start having its own distinct neighborhood identity.
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  #2899  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2019, 3:52 PM
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  #2900  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2019, 4:25 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'm pretty sure the next phase for Bakery Square is going to be crossing the Busway and beginning to buy buildings and parcels along Hamilton. In all of the most recent renderings and site plans they've shown a pedestrian bridge around Putnam Street, and I know they are still pulling hard for a new Busway station explicitly for Bakery Square - which would be located exactly where the pedestrian bridge is going to be.
Yeah, that's a good call. I forgot about that proposed bus station/transit center plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
How big of a development do you envision exactly? I see street level retail/office with up to 8 or 9 floors of residential use above it. It might be the biggest mixed-use development for East Liberty perhaps...

Per BrianTH's response, yes, I too envision parking along the busway.
I think it would be suited for multiple buildings, and I could definitely envision 8-9 story residential buildings at the back (along the busway/tracks) of the site. And maybe a larger office building along Penn, if an anchor tenant showed interest (like Philips in Bk Sq). I wouldn't rule out a "more urban" shopping plaza either, with large retailers like Staples and Tuesday Morning which are already there, but in a better-designed, more contemporary format.

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The Penn Walnut on Highland building (man, they need to rebrand)...
Get it right, man. It's "The Penn at Walnut on Highland"
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