Deep In The Heart of Downtown
Downtown Pittsburgh is booming. The Golden Triangle has grown in ways that previous generations may never have envisioned, and the perception of the neighborhood at the heart of Pittsburgh is changing rapidly –– for the better.
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union trust building / photo by chuck beard
The Grand at Fifth Avenue. The former Kaufmann’s flagship store that even Macy’s couldn’t save is being converted into 300 apartments and a hotel with a restaurant, tennis court and pool on the roof, plus 600 new parking spaces. A mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment is planned for street level and the floor above, with expected opening by early 2018.
Pittsburgh Playhouse. By building a performance venue with a 560-seat main stage on Forbes Avenue, Point Park University will bring its theater and dance students to the Downtown campus from Oakland. Opening in fall 2018, the theater will decorate its outdoor courtyard with facades of three historic buildings that were razed to make way for it.
350 Oliver. In the footprint of the former Saks Fifth Avenue, builders are putting up a Brazilian steakhouse chain topped with a six-story parking garage slated to open early next year. Developers plan another seven or more floors of apartments atop the garage.
Eighth and Penn. The restored historic facades of the McNally and Bonn buildings on Penn Avenue will be incorporated into a 135-unit apartment complex with a rooftop garden terrace and a colorfully lit public passageway to Katz Plaza. Construction is expected to begin next spring, and more developments could be coming soon for the adjacent block between Eighth and Ninth streets, now mostly parking lots on Pittsburgh Cultural Trust-owned land.
Union Trust Building. Henry Clay Frick’s shopping arcade and office complex (above), with its elaborate Flemish Gothic roofline, emerged this summer from major renovations that included putting a parking garage under it. New restaurants opening later this year include Union Standard and Eddie V’s. Downtown’s most dramatic interior may be this building’s atrium, with the stained-glass dome high overhead.
Lower Hill District. City officials continue to push the Pittsburgh Penguins to develop the former Civic Arena site, which they agreed to do in 2008. Last year U.S. Steel scrapped plans to build a new headquarters to anchor a mixed-use development. A proposed park capping I-579 could make the site more attractive and accessible.
350 Fifth Avenue. Oxford Development, which sold its Renaissance II landmark skyscraper this year, has announced plans to erect a glass-walled office tower of possibly 29 stories, but a construction date has not been set. —Mark Houser