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Mockup unveiled of anticipated Tower at PNC Plaza

Practice makes perfect -- even when it comes to building a skyscraper.
 
Upon completion, The Tower at PNC Plaza will forever alter the landscape of the Pittsburgh skyline. In the meantime, designers have built a mockup in a 1,200-square-foot test space in Green Tree. The tower’s southwest was replicated, with its technology and design elements implemented on a smaller scale. 
 
Because most solar buildings face issues with sun and heat gain in their southwest corners, PNC chose to replicate that corner of the 33-story office building, according to Mike Gilmore, director of design and construction services at PNC.
 
“There’s a lot of things that have to interface with one another,” Gilmore said. “In order to get it all to tie together … that was the reason for the mockup.”
 
According to PNC, no other company in the United States has constructed a commercial office building mockup of this scale.
 
The mockup helps PNC to identify and address construction and operational issues before technology and design elements are rolled out on the tower site. The copy features the tower's double-skin facade, solar chimney, automated blinds and lighting system -- all of which will contribute to the building's energy efficiency.
 
The Tower at PNC Plaza is expected to consume 50 percent less energy than a typical office building. The mockup has helped to resolve energy issues in addition to catching design obstacles that would have affected the development schedule. According to a statement from the company, this approach has yielded savings of more than $5 million. 
 
Gilmore explained that the curtain wall system was overheating and the glitch was caught in the mockup. 
 
“If we had to [make alterations] onsite, it would have cost us millions of dollars,” Gilmore said.
 
The mockup also allowed contractors to see how pieces were connected and give more exact estimations when it came to pricing. Now, as the tower is being constructed, the mockup is still being used by PNC to check the work. If a snag occurs on site, they can consult the mockup to see if the error also occurred there and how to make changes efficiently on a smaller scale.
 
The mockup sits in a green space near the parking lot of the tower’s control system operators, Automated Logic. After the tower opens in fall 2015, the mockup will be dissembled and reused, or will become available for another company to use for research purposes.
 
For more information about the development and mockup, please visit www.thetoweratpncplaza.com.  
 
Source: Mike Gilmore, Emily Krull, PNC

New Downtown hotels breathe life into historic buildings

The architect of record for the recently opened Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh is bringing two more hotels to the city.
 
Combining its expertise in historic preservation and adaptive reuse with creative placemaking, Strada, a cross-disciplinary design firm, is helping to breathe new life into a series of buildings built in the first half of the 20th century. These designs preserve many of the buildings’ original features to create distinctive hotel experiences.
 
Strada is a firm where architects and interior designers collaborate closely with urban designers, landscape architects and graphic designers to create places for people. In addition to Strada, the Hotel Monaco’s project design team included Gensler, Beleco Design, Mark Zeff and Ohm Lighting.
                                                                                                      
The Hotel Monaco occupies the James H. Reed Building, Downtown. Erected in 1903, the property now features 248 guest rooms, 13 suites, a 120-seat restaurant, and a rooftop deck. Guests uncover surprising details throughout the hotel such as bird-foot lamps in the lobby, trompe l’oeil wall coverings in the elevators and bold houndstooth draperies in the guest rooms. The Commoner restaurant’s industrial-chic design gives a nod to the city’s past and is accentuated by an intimate bar, an open kitchen and glowing amber glass walls.
 
And Strada is working to bring the same detail to two more Pittsburgh hotels, the Drury Inn & Suites Pittsburgh and the Distrikt Hotel.
 
The marble banking hall and wood-paneled board room of Pittsburgh’s Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Building will become a focal point of the new 200-room Drury Inn & Suites. A clean palette of contemporary materials will complement the existing Art Deco finishes and detailing of the 1930s-era structure. A rooftop deck and pool are planned for the eighth floor -- tucked under the mansard roof. Strada is the architect for the project and is also providing interior design services along with the Drury Hotels’ in-house design staff. Construction on the hotel is scheduled to begin in May, with an anticipated opening in 2016.
 
Pittsburgh's Distrikt Hotel will breathe life into the quirky old Salvation Army Building. The building’s original chapel will be used as a lobby, lounge and mezzanine bar available to all, and the original gym will become a restaurant. The circa-1924 building brings more than limestone block and stained-glass windows to the project. The 180-room Distrikt Pittsburgh is putting historic elements to work, including ornate vaulted beams and original woodwork. Strada is both the architect and interior designer for the hotel, which plans to open in the summer of 2016.
 
Source: Strada

Fairmont Pittsburgh Canine Ambassador to host charitable birthday bash

On Wednesday, March 25, the Fairmont Pittsburgh is going to the dogs.
 
The Downtown hotel will host a birthday “yappy hour” for Edie, its resident canine ambassador, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 25 in the lobby. Edie is a boxer and Labrador retriever mix who works at the hotel greeting visitors and escorting guests on walks.
 
Edie was originally adopted by Circle Tail, an organization that trains service animals. But, after completing training with the organization, she was too friendly for service. So, Edie was adopted by the Fairmont where her sunny disposition proved better suited to the hospitality industry.
 
“Her main job is really to welcome our guests and make them feel at home,” said Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, noting that Edie’s dog bed and toys are right in the lobby when guests arrive. Abramovic added about Edie’s ambassadorship, “She’s out in the community attending different events … animal adoption is a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.”
 
The party is open to the public, and friendly dogs and humans are welcome to attend. The birthday party will benefit Animal Friends, a nonprofit companion animal resource center in Ohio Township.
 
Adoptable dogs from Animal Friends will be on site. Instead of presents, guests are asked to bring a donation for the organization. Grain-free treats, new toys, individually wrapped bones or treats, and dental hygiene and grooming items for dogs, cats and rabbits are needed. Cash donations are also welcome: A $25 donation will provide basic care for one animal for one day; $50 will fund a spay/neuter; $75 will fund one dog adoption; and $100 will provide one day of pet therapy visits at Animal Friends.
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh pastry chef James Wroblewski will prepare dog-friendly birthday cake for Edie and her canine friends.
 
Refreshments will also be available for human party-goers including a specialty “Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog” cocktail, which --- as a nod to both dogs and the King -- is a peanut butter banana Captain Morgan drink with a candied bacon garnish. 
 
Canine guests can expect favors, party hats and giveaways. Abramovic said The Dog Stop donated a basket and guests can also win a night at the hotel. While she said she knows some aspects of the event are silly, Abramovic said the important thing is that the party puts the spotlight on Animal Friends.
 
Edie’s fifth birthday also marks the fifth anniversary of the Fairmont Pittsburgh. Abramovic noted Downtown development around the hotel in the past five years, like the new PNC headquarters coming to the area and an increase of restaurants and activity in Market Square. 
 
“There’s just more for guests to do,” she said. 
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh is located at 510 Market St., Downtown.
 
 
Source: Julie Abramovic, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Neighborhood Allies to host New Markets Tax Credits 101 workshop

Neighborhood Allies and the Richard King Mellon Foundation are hosting New Markets Tax Credits 101 on Thursday, March 26, at the Citizens Building, Downtown, for the area's business owners, developers, investors, nonprofits or any organization with a real estate project looking for additional capital.
 
The event, which aims to take the mystery out of the development tool, will include panelists from Novogradac & Company LLP, PNC Bank and others to guide attendants through the workshops. The workshops focus on explaining the New Markets Tax Credit Program, what projects can qualify and case studies of local businesses that have utilized the credit.
 
The NMTC Program works to spur revitalization and rebuilding in low-income communities across the United States as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000. The program provides tax incentives for equity investment in abandoned or underdeveloped communities via Community Development Entities.
 
“I really can’t emphasize enough how important a program like this is,” said Neighborhood Allies President Presley Gillespie. “It’s a tool to transform communities.”
 
Gillespie said Neighborhood Allies’ purpose is "to support revitalization of our neighborhoods by connecting people to resources.” This workshop is another way the organization can educate the community about investment.
 
“We want this powerful economic tool to be used much more frequently in Pittsburgh,” Gillespie said.
 
Gillespie said the event is a great opportunity to educate local partners, create excitement about the NMTC program and ensure that neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment and abandonment benefit with the proper development incentives.
 
New Markets Tax Credits 101 will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 26 at the Citizens Building, 525 William Penn Place, 16th floor. The rate for the Pittsburgh event is $50 per person, which includes lunch.
 
Source: Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies

Eat'n Park opens Delicious Raw Juice Bar Downtown

Eat'n Park Hospitality Group has stepped into a new arena after partnering with all-natural juice and smoothie bar, Delicious Raw. The company opens Pittsburgh’s first Delicious Raw location, adjacent to the Downtown Hello Bistro, today.
 
“Over the years, [at] Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, we’ve served pretty much everyone,” said Mark Broadhurst, Eat'n Park retail development vice president.
 
He explained that with several businesses across the region serving families, students and professionals, Delicious Raw is a new way the company can feed the community as the local health and wellness market grows. Broadhurst noted a juice craze in recent years with other juice concepts coming to the market.
 
Pittsburgh has seen development in this trend with The Pittsburgh Juice Company in Lawrenceville, South Side’s Amazing Café, Salud Juicery in Shadyside, GOODLife Juices, Savasana Juice, Lawrenceville’s Embody Natural Health, Fresh from the Farm Juices, Shadyside’s Living Juicy Raw Café and Root System Juice Company, which can be found at the Pittsburgh Public Market.
 
“It’s a good time for juice,” Broadhurst said.

He noted that novice Pittsburgh juicers should not feel intimidated to try Delicious Raw. Broadhurst explained that the menu has several options with fresh raw juice made right before your eyes and cold-pressed juices for the shopper on the go. There are also smoothies and add-ins for energy, immunity and digestive health.
 
Broadhurst said the menu is divided into different categories: Revitalizers, Roots and Green Goodness. He said the fruits and roots are approachable for beginners, and the greens with spinach and kale pack a daily dose of vegetables. Broadhurst called it a great visual to see the juices prepared. He said one and a half pounds to two pounds of produce goes into each 16-ounce drink.
 
Eat’n Park’s first Delicious Raw location is at 280 Forbes Avenue. While there are no firm plans yet, Broadhurst said juice could appear on the menu in the future at the company’s other businesses.
 
 
Source: Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Mark Broadhurst
 

PGH4ART campaigns for revised public art ordinance

Earlier this month, dozens attended a City Council meeting to push for an updated “percent for art” program in Pittsburgh.  According to PGH4ART, a group campaigning to update the city’s public art ordinance, “percent for art” programs usually require one percent of the total cost of a large-scale construction project to be allocated for public works of art.
 
“We came together fully with the purpose of having this 1977 'percent for art' [law] enforced,” said Carolyn Speranza, artist and team leader of PGH4ART, about the group’s attendance at a City Council post-agenda meeting convened by Councilman Corey O’Connor. She said the organization is working for the law to be rewritten and updated to modern standards.
 
Speranza explained that the 1977 “one percent for art” program is limited. A written copy of Speranza’s agenda from the meeting states that as the ordinance is currently written, it appears that the “‘one percent for art’ requirement applies only to construction or renovation of a public building, and even then only when it is a municipal project with a city department in charge of the project.”
 
However, financing vehicles for private development have altered how municipal construction and investment in buildings are funded in Pittsburgh. Speranza’s agenda explains that the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act and Tax Increment Financing Act account for a sizable amount of development and may not trigger the “percent for art” requirements. And, she said, the Urban Redevelopment Authority is much more likely today to be in charge of a construction or renovation project -- rather than a city department like in the 1970s.
 
At the meeting, Speranza urged the Council to create a new standard for Pittsburgh public art. She asked that all development, public or private, above the $50,000 threshold of our ordinance be subject to the "percent for public art ordinance," that all of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods benefit, for transparency when allocating funds and explained that there would be economic benefits.
 
“A new ‘percent for art’ law would become an economic stimulant,” Speranza said. She explained that local artists and builders would benefit from public art programs.
 
While many support PGH4ART’s efforts, change will need to come from the city. O’Connor explained at the meeting that changes should come from the city’s planning and zoning departments. Morton Brown, public art manager in the city’s Planning Department, said the city is developing a master plan that includes a revised “percent for art” ordinance. 
 
Source: PGH4ART, Carolyn Speranza

AMPD Group plans Social House Seven, an Izakaya-style Asian restaurant

Izakaya is a style of restaurant in Japan that serves shareable plates and a variety of drinks and sake, according the AMPD Group, which is launching an Izakaya-style Asian restaurant in Downtown Pittsburgh.
 
The AMPD Group, a Pittsburgh entertainment and hospitality development and management company, recently announced its newest venture, Social House Seven, located in the Downtown Aria Lofts, the home of Bossa Nova Lounge for 12 years.
 
“The Group has been searching for a location for our new Izakaya-style Asian concept for some time. We have had this concept on the drawing board for the past four years and are excited to finally bring it to fruition. Social House will be our best project to date,” said Michael DeSimone, AMPD Group Partner.
 
Opening summer 2015, Social House will feature a custom-built robata grill and sushi bar along with an expansive lunch and dinner menu of shareable pan-Asian dishes ranging from Japanese to Thai, Korean to Chinese. In addition to sushi and grilled meats, including Kobe beef, the menu will feature shareable vegetarian and gluten-free items.
 
Adam DeSimone, AMPD Group Partner, described robata as a Japanese grill and said Social House’s robata will be a solid fuel grill with charcoal. “The great thing about a robata grill is it sears the meat … and captures all the juices within the meat,” he said, adding that the six-foot grill will run at about 800 degrees and capture juices to keep the meat tender.
 
The 7,300-square-foot restaurant will seat 175 guests with space for another 60 at the main bar and robata and sushi bar. The restaurant will also feature a 2,300-square-foot late-night lounge and event space, reminiscent of Bossa Nova, to host receptions, fundraisers and corporate events for up to 150 guests.
 
The lounge space can also serve as overflow to the restaurant and will turn into a late-night environment at the conclusion of dinner service on weekend evenings with Pittsburgh’s best DJ’s.
 
“We’re predominantly a restaurant, but have a strong nightlife component to it,” Adam DeSimone explained.
 
Social House will feature Asian-style décor with framed glass, wood trussing ceiling features and 16-foot hand-carved Buddhas peering over the restaurant.
 
“There’s nothing like it in Pittsburgh,” Adam DeSimone said, calling the location at 123 Seventh St. in the Cultural District “second to none.” He added that the AMPD Group, which developed Ten Penny, Steel Cactus, Local Bar & Kitchen, Diesel Club Lounge, Skybar Pittsburgh, Dominic’s Deli at PNC Park and Delanie’s Coffee, is excited to introduce this latest venture to the city. 
 
Social House Seven will serve lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner seven days a week. The lounge will be open Thursday through Saturday. Valet service will be available during dinner and late-night hours.
 

Hotel Monaco's The Commoner to open Downtown with a grab-and-go café

For a quick bite or a full-on dining experience, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants offers pub fare with a Pittsburgh twist for hungry downtown diners.
 
Kimpton will open its first Pittsburgh restaurant, The Commoner, adjacent to the new Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Jan. 20. The 120-seat restaurant will feature American classics with a modern flair, a wood-burning oven and an extensive craft beer list.
 
In a rush? Try The Commoner’s grab-and-go café The Commoner Corner. This sidewalk café and smoked meat carvery will serve breakfast and lunch and features a large service window on Strawberry Way for customers on the go.
 
"We've been working hard to perfect our menu and develop relationships with local farmers to highlight the best of the Allegheny region," said Executive Chef Dennis Marron. "The Pittsburgh dining scene is really making a name for itself, and I'm excited to bring my take on European pub fare and American classics to the table. The menu and vibe we've created here is going to be a hit with everyone -- from downtown professionals to sports fans and theater-goers to hotel guests."
 
Chef Marron's menus will offer American tavern classics with Old World influences and regional produce. The onion soup burger, steak and ale pie (braised with local East End Brown Ale) and brick chicken are just a few examples where pub style meets Pittsburgh flavor. Pennsylvania-grown and seasonal products, like PA Noble cave-aged cheddar, Castle Valley Mills cornmeal, Starr Valley Farms beef and Elysian Fields lamb, will be highlights in many dishes, like the cheddar board, PA burger and braised lamb shank.
 
“We’re a modern American tavern located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh,” said The Commoner General Manager Matthew Rafferty. He added that the restaurant will focus on drafts and “slow-roasted and braised meats.”
 
The dinner menu will prominently feature an array of dishes from the kitchen's central wood-burning oven. With wood-fired dishes ranging from appetizers to main courses, diners will be able to choose from broccoli-cheddar flatbread to herb-rubbed bone marrow to charred cauliflower with sage-walnut pesto, among other smoky, rustic favorites.
 
Breakfast at The Commoner will have something for everyone, including lighter options like baked egg whites with kale, oven-dried tomatoes and zucchini, and heartier offerings like Irish soda bread, French toast with Chantilly cream and whiskey barrel-aged maple syrup.
 
At the bar, lead bartender Joshua Holliday will oversee a robust cocktail and spirits menu and a locally driven craft beer list anchored by 12 draft lines and 50 bottles and cans, including local selections like Church Brew Works' Thunderhop Extreme Double IPA and Voodoo Brewing Company's KillaPilz.
 
The wine list will feature six wines on tap, guided by Kimpton’s Master Sommelier Emily Wines. Holliday has worked closely with Chef Marron and Rafferty to create inventive cocktails, including a barrel-aged negroni and an old-fashioned, with house-made syrup and BBQ bitters.
 
The Commoner Corner’s menu will feature items that are unfussy and ideal for diners on the go. Breakfast will include a range of freshly baked pastries, croissant sandwiches, fresh-pressed juices and smoothies and artisanal coffee beverages. Lunch will feature hot sandwiches with house-smoked, hand-carved beef, turkey and portabella mushrooms and a variety of fixings. Save time and room for milkshakes and floats.
 
The Commoner, at 458 Strawberry Way, will be open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner starting January 20. The restaurant begins lunch service Feb. 3 and kicks off its Saturday and Sunday brunch on Feb. 21. The Commoner Corner will serve weekday breakfast and lunch beginning Jan. 20.
 
Full menus and information will be available at www.thecommonerpgh.com.
 
 
Source: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Justin Rude, Matthew Rafferty
 

Market Square arts program wins prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant

The newfound vibrancy of Market Square will continue to thrive through Pittsburgh's bleakest winter months, thanks to a recently awarded -- and very competitive -- federal arts grant.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership recently received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that will fund the City of Pittsburgh’s Market Square Public Art Program.

With support from the $35,000 NEA grant, the Market Square program will exhibit public art during the winter months for three consecutive years. The Market Square Public Art Program was designed to showcase contemporary public art and establish the recently redesigned Market Square as a local, regional and national arts destination.
 
Two new installations will be displayed in Market Square in 2015 and 2016. Next month, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will announce details about the artwork for winter of 2015, though PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup did shed a little light on what Pittsburgh can expect. While last year’s “Congregation” highlighted internationally renowned artists and works, this year’s Market Square Public Art Program will feature art specifically created for Market Square, premiering at the event.
 
“The intention of the program is to make Market Square a vibrant space during the winter,” Waldrup said, noting that the square is busy with events during the spring and summer.
 
The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications from nonprofit organizations nationwide under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 receive for grants.
 
“It’s a highly competitive grant process and we feel privileged to be one of the organization’s selected,” said Waldrup.
 
The Market Square Public Art Program is a program of the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning Public Art Division, and is managed by the PDP.
 
The project launched in February 2014 with “Congregation,” a dynamic, large-scale, interactive video and sound installation by the UK’s pioneering new media artists KMA.
 
"I'm pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works including the award to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives,” said Jane Chu, NEA Chairman.
 
The plan to install temporary public art in Market Square stemmed from the desire to activate the public space throughout the winter months. For three quarters of the year, Market Square is an “urban oasis” with outdoor seating, retail and array of public projects.
 
“In the first year of the Market Square Public Art Program, ‘Congregation’ was so well received. It brought people together to experience high-quality, engaging public art,” Waldrup said. “Additionally, it created a vitality in Market Square that was previously missing during this time of year. We look forward to bringing two more exciting installations to Downtown Pittsburgh in the next two years and appreciate the support of the NEA, which will enable us to do so.”
  
Source: Jeremy Waldrup, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Grow Pittsburgh unveils Braddock Farms improvements with help from the Fairmont

Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture non-profit that teaches people how to grow food and promotes the benefits of gardens in local communities, has updated its Braddock Farms site thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from Fairmont Pittsburgh.
 
Fairmont Pittsburgh secured the grant via the Community Assistance and Responsibility to the Environment program, a charitable initiative of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, which allows hotels to support social, community and environmental projects in their local communities.
 
Grow Pittsburgh is the official green charity partner of Fairmont Pittsburgh. Since launching the partnership in 2011, Fairmont Pittsburgh has donated over $27,000 to Grow Pittsburgh for various initiatives including its Edible Schoolyard program.
 
“We are thrilled to count Fairmont Pittsburgh as a key partner as we make much needed improvements to Braddock Farms,” said Grow Pittsburgh Executive Director Julie Butcher Pezzino.
  
The improvements include a custom-built shipping container to be used as a storage facility and office space at the urban farm in Braddock. Grow Pittsburgh also operates an apprentice program at Braddock Farms for aspiring farmers, as well as a summer youth intern program that provides hands-on training to local high school students in sustainable agricultural production. Growing food in an urban environment is an important part of Grow Pittsburgh’s overall mission as it serves as a platform for educational programming and provides much needed access to fresh, local produce in communities that are often lacking access.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, called Braddock Farms an “educational resource center” that teaches school groups and volunteers about sustainability and farming. The grant was able to provide shaded areas and seating for groups assisting at the farm as well as storage and coolers for produce.
 
To unveil the updated farm and conclude the year-long project, Fairmont Pittsburgh hosted a check presentation ceremony and employee workday, where employees assisted with putting the farm to bed for winter at Braddock Farms.
 
Abramovic said hotel management was excited to see the project come to fruition but noted that the partnership is an ongoing relationship and that the Fairmont is looking forward to participating in future Grow Pittsburgh projects. 
 
Source: Julie Abramovic, Fairmont Pittsburgh

Colcom Foundation continues support for Paris to Pittsburgh program with $350,000 award

Paris-style sidewalk cafes and facelifts for Downtown buildings have just gotten more affordable, thanks to a recent gift from the Colcom Foundation. 

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announced a $350,000 award last week from the Colcom Foundation designated to continue the success of the façade renovations and outdoor dining activations through the Paris to Pittsburgh program. The program provides a 50 percent matching grant, of up to $30,000, to Downtown building and business owners interested in completing exterior façade renovations.
 
"Through their investment in the Paris to Pittsburgh program, Colcom Foundation has demonstrated a commitment to restoring and revitalizing properties throughout Downtown, ensuring that Downtown Pittsburgh remains vibrant and beautiful," said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP President and CEO. "Many buildings and businesses have had the opportunity to benefit from this program and we look forward to working with many more as a result of this gift."
 
Colcom Foundation has supported the Paris to Pittsburgh program since its inception in 2007. Initially, the program was designed to encourage the activation of outdoor sidewalk dining at local restaurants, evoking a Parisian atmosphere.
 
In 2011, the program was expanded to allow for full building façade renovations. To date, the program has funded 73 projects in Downtown Pittsburgh, resulting in $4.7 million in private investment, of which $1.7 million has been funded through the grant program.
 
Waldrup said about 90 percent of outdoor dining in Downtown was supported by Paris to Pittsburgh, with Market Square’s outdoor dining being an especially visible example of the program coming to life. Waldrup said all of Market Square’s al fresco dining options have participated in Paris to Pittsburgh.
 
"By restoring historic facades and opening restaurants to outdoor dining, Paris to Pittsburgh draws on the charm of European cities," said Colcom Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy John Rohe. "It builds community. With eyes on the street, it promotes security."
 
The Specialty Luggage Company building, located Downtown at 915 Liberty Ave., recently finished a complete exterior façade renovation. With design work undertaken by Peter Margittai Architects, LLC, upgrades included the removal of aluminum panels and the security gate and the replacement of the entire first floor storefront system and the second floor window system. Additionally, the stone façade was cleaned, windows were restored and painted, and new signage and lighting were installed.
 
Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Trade Union hosts trunk show at Mon Wharf

Trade Union Trunk Show is back for its Autumn/Winter fashion and style event. On Saturday, Oct. 4, the biannual trunk show will bring locally minted goods from clothing to furniture to the Mon Wharf, Downtown— showcasing an urban, uniquely Pittsburgh setting.  
 
Launched this past spring, the Trade Union Trunk Show seeks to bring together the city's established and emerging brands and depict the Made in Pittsburgh moniker as one rooted in creativity and quality.  
 
With each event, Trade Union presents a one-of-a-kind space and local partners to host the day’s activities. For their A/W 2014 Trunk Show, Trade Union worked with lead sponsor, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, to bring the free event to the Mon Wharf. Vendors, food and local DJ sets handpicked by VIA as part of their 2014 festival will enliven the event.
 
“We are always eager to partner on creative re-inventions of space in Downtown,” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “The Trade Union Trunk Show again extends our mission to support creative uses of unique urban spaces in our Downtown neighborhood.”
 
Michael McAllister, Trade Union co-producer, said the event is more than the average craft fair. While vendors and goods are local, Trade Union strives to ensure a cohesive, stylized event. From flyers to displays, Harvest & Gather is styling the trunk show.  McAllister explained that he and event co-producer Emily Slagel of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile see design and creativity as “an integral part of Pittsburgh’s future growth and development.”
 
He said they were inspired by stylized trunk shows in other cities and wanted to bring the model to Pittsburgh for products minted and made in the city. About 15 vendors will sell products including stationery, letterpress, furniture and vintage clothing.
 
Vendors include: Mid-Atlantic Mercantile Found Home Collection (handpicked and found homewares); Royal Establishment; Merissa Lombardo/Pete Johnson Studios; Homestead Supply Co. (leather goods); Perry & Co.; Kicky Feet Vintage; Tugboat Printshop; Bones & All; Studebaker Metals (a local designer whose jewelry is available at Urban Outfitters); Sapling Press; Red Pop Shop; Modesto Studios; UpTo; and Spaces Corners (photography books).
 
McAllister said two restaurants are also premiering: TAKÖ, globally inspired tacos from the newest Downtown venture from the Meat & Potatoes team; and 4121 Main, a mixed-use space featuring handmade goods, art and an espresso bar coming soon to Lawrenceville.
 
Trade Union will be held at the Mon Wharf, 1 Ft Pitt Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

VIA Festival to use Union Trust Building for pop-up event

This year’s VIA Festival, a Pittsburgh-based music and new media celebration, will be held from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5 with 18 events at various locations across the city, including a pop-up event on Oct. 4 at the Union Trust Building at 501 Grant Street, Downtown. 
 
“It’s a music festival, combined with digital culture,” said VIA co-director Quinn Leonowicz. “[It’s] Pittsburgh’s largest celebration of music and digital culture.”
 
Now in its fifth year, VIA utilizes an underused or vacant venue every year. This year, with the help of the Mayor’s Office, VIA has acquired the Union Trust.
 
“We just try to pick non-traditional spaces, something that has been underutilized,” he said, adding that the city approved the venue only about a month ago. In the meantime, Leonowicz, co-director Lauren Goshinski and a team of volunteers have been working quickly to prepare for the festival.
 
VIA will take over a variety of spaces on the first floor and lower level of the building, including installation of a 30-foot bubble in the building’s central rotunda, which is capped by a stained glass dome. The bubble is described as an “immersive audio-visual environment” with ASMR immersive therapy and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
 
A former department store will be turned into a digital sculpture gallery and will simulate real life and virtual experiences with custom iPad apps, video games and virtual figure drawing classes, using the online platform Second Life.

The lower level of the Union Trust Building will turn into a multi-stage nightclub for audio-visual performances featuring local, national and international artists such as Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, L-Vis 1990, Traxman, Cakes da Killa, Cities Aviv, Diode Milliampere and Troxum.
 
While entertainment and experiences will vary from audio showcases to film, VIA also has an educational element. On Oct. 3, a conference at Carnegie Mellon University will feature artists discussing Ableton Music software, workshops and musical performances.
 
Leonowicz said he sees VIA as an umbrella for future events, including upcoming VIA performances in Chicago. Although Leonowicz said VIA will always be based in Pittsburgh, he hopes this collaboration between Pittsburgh and Chicago will form an artist exchange. He compared it to other arts events that start in cities like New York and spread across the country.
 
For more information about VIA, please visit, via2014.com.
 
Source: Quinn Leonowicz, VIA 

Snap up some style with Project Pop Up: Fashion in Market Square

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is bringing a day of pop-up retail to Market Square tomorrow with Project Pop Up: Fashion.
 
Men's and women's clothing, jewelry and accessories from 13 local designers, fashion trucks, screen-printing vendors and Downtown retailers will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the PDP’s third Project Pop Up: Fashion event. DJ Pandemic will play dancehall music during the downtown lunchtime event.
 
Fashions range from vintage to handmade to high-end, with a price point for every budget, said PDP Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White.

“What I really like best about [Project Pop Up: Fashion] is there’s something for everyone,” White said.
 
As a special incentive, Larrimor’s will have a cash booth in the square, giving away cash and gift cards to shoppers who pre-register at the Downtown boutique by picking up shop President Tom Michael’s business card. 
 
Project Pop Up retailers include Boutique 208, Boutique la Passerelle, Larrimor's, Macy's and Serendipity. Other participants include Identity Crisis Legwear, Cassidy Girl Collection, DeadBuryDead, Mallet Hill and New York New York. And mobile boutiques Broke Little Rich Girl, Style Truck and The Vintage Valet will be on hand, too. 
 
White called the PDP’s midday pop-up events unexpected fun for Downtown workers. 

Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Pittsburgh PARK(ing) Day is back Friday with installations throughout the city

For one day only, parking spaces will transform across the city into small parks, green spaces and even a beach in an effort to get citizens talking about sustainability and transportation.

Tomorrow, Sept. 19, is PARK(ing) Day, an annual, international one-day event where artists, designers and citizens can transform parking spots into small parks and art installations.
 
This is PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh’s seventh year. The event began in San Francisco in 2005 and its message has travelled around the world. PARK(ing) Day is an opportunity to get communities talking about improvements, green space and transportation while thinking creatively.
 
This year, Pittsburgh’s pop-up parks stem from neighborhood improvement initiatives and fun. PARK(ing) Day Committee Member Thor Erickson said the Polish Hill Civic Association will use traffic cones to create a discussion about street traffic.  Erickson said the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Penn Future, Design Center and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership are collaborating in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue, downtown, to showcase urban improvement efforts.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council members will transform their parking spaces into a beach, according to Erickson.
 
The Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee organized a mini golf course along Butler Street, between Doughboy Square and 39th Street, as part of the neighborhood’s PARK(ing) Day initiatives. Breakfast, lunch and dinner golfing sessions will be offered, with a party and music by DJ Duke to follow in the Iron City Bikes and Franktuary parking lot from 6 PM to 8 PM.
 
To find PARK(ing) Day events in your neighborhood, Parking Day Pittsburgh has provided a map with events and times listed throughout the city. 
 
 
Source: PARK(ing) Day, PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Pittsburgh, Thor Erickson, Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee 
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