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Carnegie : Development News

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Eat + Drink: Mead in Carnegie, a new bar in Squirrel Hill and dark brews at East End

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly look at epic local nommz.

Penn brewer will open meadery in Carnegie
Dave Cerminara might brew beer, but it’s mead he loves.

That’s why he’ll leave his job as assistant brewer at the North Side’s Penn Brewery later this year to open Apis Meadery at 212 E. Main Street in Carnegie.

Though its popularity has waxed and waned, humans have been making mead — a wine whose fermentable sugar is derived from honey — for at least 4,000 years.

“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for eight or nine years now,” Cerminara says. “When you get into the world of mead, there are so many varieties. It doesn’t have to be just honey wine. It can be melomels or fruit wine — it can be lots of things. We’re trying to show people what mead really can be.”

Cerminara says that by the time he’s ready to open, he hopes to have between six and ten varieties ready to go. Among them will be standard meads for summer and winter made from clover honey, melomels (fruit wines) flavored with peaches and apricots or blackberries and raspberries, and pyments.

“Pyment is specifically grape and honey blended. For the grapes, we chose a Sangiovese, and I’ve been making that one for about nine years,” he says. “It has that robust richness, but it has the nice honey finish on the back.”

Cerminara says he hopes to open for business by early July.

New Squirrel Hill bar will specialize in local brews
Local attorney Peter Kurzweg new venture, the Independent Brewing Company, is set to take over the space at 1704 Shady Avenue in Squirrel Hill, which until late last year was occupied by Fanattics sports bar. Independent plans to offer a definitive selection of locally brewed beers. An opening date hasn’t yet been confirmed.

East End to host Festival of Darkness
Reeling from not having seen the sun in two months? East End Brewing can’t really help with that, so they’re embracing the darkness.

The brewery will host its Festival of Darkness on Saturday, February 1st. For $5 (which goes right toward East End's collection for Light of Life) you can taste 12 of East End’s darkest ales, stouts and porters. The full lineup includes everything from their year-round and seasonal brews to one-offs, such as Homewood Reserve 2013 — Black Strap Stout aged for nine months in Maker’s Mark barrels.
You can view the full lineup on the festival’s event page.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Dave Cerminara, Peter Kurzweg

Construction to begin on Carnegie's Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark

The rapidly changing landscape of Carnegie will soon get another amenity.

Contractors will break ground on the Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark, located in Carnegie Park, on August 15th. The project is expected to take about four months to complete.

The 15,000-square-foot park is the brainchild of Mary Pitcher, whose sons Stephen and Vincent drowned while on a camping trip in the summer of 2008.

Both brothers were skateboard and BMX bike enthusiasts and ever since their deaths, their mother has been on a mission to build a skatepark in their memory.

She established a non-profit public charity, the Pitcher Park Foundation, in March of 2011 and set about raising money.

“We’ve settled on a plan, and we’re down to discussing fence heights and that type of thing,” Pitcher says. “I’d really like it to be something that doesn’t look like a prison yard.”

“They’ve done a great job with everything, and they’ve been through a lot of hoops and hurdles,” says Carnegie’s Interim Borough Manager Stephen Beuter. “For what they’re going with in the size, it’s going to be one of a kind in the area.”

The entire project is privately funded. So far, Pitcher’s non-profit has raised more than $600,000, including a gift of more than $500,000 from the Ken & Carol Schultz Foundation.

To cover the added cost of lighting the park, the Pitcher Park Foundation has begun selling memorial bricks which will be engraved and installed in the park.

Pitcher says she’s overcome with emotion when she thinks about the number of people who have helped her advance the project.

“So many people have been a part of this,” she says. “If I could give bricks away, I would. There are people who’ve come to every single fundraiser we’ve ever had.”

The Pitcher Park Foundation will seek to make that money go as far as it can by using donated and re-purposed materials wherever possible.

Seattle-based firm Grindline is designing the park, which will include facilities for skateboarding, biking and rollerblading. A spectator area and colored concrete are possibilities, depending on further available funding.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Mary Pitcher, Stephen Beuter

Eat + Drink: Carnegie Coffee, Casa Reyna, the return of Vincent's Pizza and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly look at epic local nom noms.

-  The Carnegie Coffee Company, a new coffee shop combined with an existing pharmacy in an old post office in Carnegie, will open to the public on June 15, and hold its grand opening on June 22.

Husband-and-wife-team Ashley Comer and Greg Romeo, who own The Medicine Shoppe in Carnegie, will move that business into the old Carnegie post office at 132 East Main Street.

“We really wanted to model our business after a European–style coffeehouse,” Comer says. “We want it to be a destination, and we wanted to give the people in Carnegie their own place.”

The 2,500-square-foot shop, which will be the first in western Pennsylvania to offer Illy Italian coffee, will also serve pastries from local bakeries and food from Sausalido in Bloomfield.

-  Casa Reyna, the product of three years’ effort from Reyna Foods owner Nicola DiCio, held its soft opening last Friday. The 72-seat Strip District restaurant next door to Reyna Foods on Penn Avenue offers authentic Mexican cuisine, focusing on dishes specifically paired with a variety of house-made tortillas. Casa Reyna also offers a vast selection of tequilas and Mexican beers.

-  Vincent’s Pizza Park in North Braddock, which closed in May of 2012 after more than 50 years in business, will reopen on June 16. Toni Zollner, the daughter of restaurant founder Vincent Chianese, has spent the last year updating and renovating the building, which includes the installation of a new neon sign that closely resembles the original.

-  Franktuary’s Lawrenceville location is now serving brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu, which will change weekly, includes locally farmed breakfast sausages served in buns made from waffle batter, a breakfast take on poutine and pancakes made with a gluten-free brownie batter, as well as a selection of breakfast cocktails.

On several Sundays throughout the summer, 15 percent of the restaurant’s sales will go to one of several local community organizations.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Ashley Comer

Moop's handmade bag business grows, moves to larger facility in Carnegie

In just over five years the Pittsburgh-based handmade bag company, Moop, has grown from a living room operation to a new 7,000-square-foot facility in Carnegie, adding employees and growing customer base.

Moop is owned by Wendy Downs and Jeremy Boyle.  The couple moved to Crafton, where Boyle grew up, from New York City in 2009.  They returned to the region to be near family, but also because Pittsburgh was affordable, and would allow them to grow their business at a faster pace, Downs says.

Once established in Crafton, the business began hiring employees, expanded its product offerings, and increased its ability to meeting customer demand.

Last year though it became clear that their business had outgrown its 700-square-foot facility in the West End, and they would need a new shop.

While exploring various neighborhoods for a new suitable space--by road and by Google Maps--Boyle remembered an old industrial facility where he had gone to skateboard as a kid.  They tracked down the warehouse, and learned it was for rent.

Boyle, a former contractor, used his construction experience to renovate their space, which Downs says was an empty rectangle when they moved in.  They subdivided and added a fully-enclosed woodworking shop, production areas, a lounge and kitchen for the staff, as well as offices and art studios.

The facility, located at 100 Rosslynn Road, is also close to their daughter’s high school.  Downs says that as a small family business it was important for the entire family to be comfortable with the space, and to have an ease of mobility.

Downs says if Moop continues to grow at its current pace they’ll be looking to hire more employees in the coming months.

“Our growth is slow and steady, which means its manageable and its controllable and its predictable,” Downs says.  “Which are all very healthy ways of running a business.”


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Wendy Downs

$290,000 Carnegie Park improvement plan to add new facilities and beautification

The Borough of Carnegie has been working toward a huge improvement project for the 34-acre Carnegie Park since 2007. Thanks to a $145,000 grant from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Borough has voted in favor of the plan and hopes to begin the first phase of construction by next fall.

"The improvements will include a park community message board, a fenced off-leash dog area including amenities, renovation to the existing stone shelter, an ADA accessible playground, roadway modification, and a beautification of the park entrance," says Steve Beuter, project assistant for Carnegie Borough.

Since voting to go ahead with the project in February, the Borough has been working with Gateway Engineers on initial design plans and the project is scheduled to go up for bid sometime in the spring. The total project cost is $290,000, and the Borough agreed to match the state grant.

"One major opportunity that the Borough has created with the park rehabilitation is that it will allow Carnegie to create a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and non-residents alike to utilize for recreational purposes," says Beuter. The second phase of the park, which is still being conceptualized, will likely entail significant lighting enhancement, field maintenance, and new parking areas.

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Writer: John Farley
Source: Steve Beuter, Carnegie Borough

Rivas Nicaraguan restaurant relocates to South Side

After opening and shuttering two restaurants under the same name and concept in Etna and Carnegie, Rivas is back. This time it's on the South Side, at 601 E. Carson St, in the space previously occupied by Mantini's Wood Fired, which is now at 1209 E. Carson St., in the heart of the business district.

The family-owned Nicaraguan restaurant was flooded out of Etna in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, and the owners realized during their three years in Carnegie that most of customers were driving in from the east. So why not relocate closer to the customers?

"Everything we do, we do for our customers," says Izayana Rivas, who--with her husband and brothers--helps her parents Antonio and Angela Rivas run the restaurant. "It didn't make sense for the customers to travel through two tunnels to get to us, so we came to the South Side. It's such a melting pot here of people and food."

The 10,000-square-foot space, which opened at the end of July, can seat up to 100 people, and includes a bar (Rivas is BYOB for now, though), as well as a small stage for musical performances. The walls are a warm, orangey red, and the decorations simple and tropical in theme.

Rivas serves traditional Nicaraguan food, which Izayana explains as being "tangy" rather than "spicy," with lots of lemon and garlic and plantains. The menu at the South Side spot includes some Mexican staples, but fewer than at the previous locations. Highlights include homemade tortillas, Nicaraguan enchiladas, which are nothing like their Mexican counterpart, and a lunch special where patrons can pick from an assortment of buffet-style dishes.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Izayana and Angela Rivas

Photo copyright Caralyn Green

Accessible, environmentally friendly E Lane condos in bloom in Carnegie

E Lane @ Carnegie condos, which broke ground last summer, are in bloom this summer. Of the nine planned units, one is completely constructed and ready for occupancy, and a second is ready for custom finishes.

Husband-wife developer team Ben and Amy Bonham, of Moon Township-based Bonham Asset Management LLC, say the open houses have been highly attended, with much interest from older couples and those in wheelchairs.

The two-bedroom, two-bathroom condos, which can be finished for about $189,000, are located four blocks from Carnegie’s main business corridor and five miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. The for-sale homes are designed to be wallet-friendly, environmentally friendly and also ADA-friendly. For the disabled, accessibility comes as single-level open floor plans, wide hallways, lowered light switches, durable flooring, integrated bathroom grab bars and more. For the eco-minded, E Lane offers low VOC paint, Energy Star appliances and common green spaces, among other features.

Bonham Asset Management LLC collaborated with Botanic LLC to develop a low-impact, low maintenance, natural approach to landscaping. The community features a stormwater retention pond, as well as perennial herbs and flowers and an edible orchard.

"The landscaping has grown in nicely," says Amy Bonham. "We currently have mountain laurel and lavender and strawberries, and will have blueberries soon, tea berries in the fall and witch-hazel in the winter."

E Lane's developers will be hosting this month's Pittsburgh Green Drinks event, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Cefalo's night club. Green Drinks, which is active in 533 cities worldwide, is a monthly informal gathering of anyone interested in sustainable living.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Amy Bonham, Bonham Asset Management LLC

Image courtesy E Lane @ Carnegie

Three area libraries turn a new page

Two city libraries and one borough library are undergoing major transformations.

Both the East Liberty and Allegheny branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) are revitalizing their facilities, and the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie, Pa. has been awarded a $500,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project grant toward its $6.7 million historic renovation project.

CLP East Liberty, at 130 S. Whitfield St., has announced June 13 as its last day of public service before its 39,000-square foot renovation and expansion. The $5.6 million project, designed by EDGE Studio, is expected to re-open in fall of 2010.

“East Liberty has one of the highest numbers of visitors of all locations,” says Suzanne Thinnes with CLP. “The current building was constructed in the 1960s, but the library has been in the community for over 100 years. It’s a vital part of the neighborhood, especially with all the new homes and businesses.”

Patrons displaced by construction may be interested in visiting CLP Allegheny, at 1230 Federal St. on the North Side, which is slated to open in June. The $6 million, 15,500 square-foot building was designed by Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects. The North Side has been without direct library service since April 2006 when the previous location was struck by lightning.

Another library bouncing back from damage is Carnegie, Pa.’s Library & Music Hall. Opened in 1901, it experienced years of flooding, and now—with the help of Design Alliance Architects—is structurally sound, weatherproof and accessible. The recently awarded grant will help convert a water-damaged, 4,000 square-foot gymnasium into a multi-purpose space, and restore the facility’s historic Civil War Room.

“We’ve done the essential things, now we’re doing the exciting things,” says Executive Director Maggie Forbes.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Suzanne Thinnes, communications manager, CLP; Maggie Forbes, executive director, Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall

Image courtesy Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

E Lane @ Carnegie offers affordable green housing option

Ben and Ann Bonham are the husband and wife team behind E Lane @ Carnegie, a unique energy efficient condo community five  miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. Starting at $199,900, the single-floor units are stylishly designed with sustainable bamboo flooring, low VOC paints and Energy Star appliances. Future Building of America Company built the partially solar powered, all electric homes with structural insulated panels (SIPs) chosen for their high energy efficiency, mold resistance and low labor cost.

“SIPs construction is amazing. Despite temperatures in the teens, these units require little more than a space heater to keep warm,” says Ben Bonham. “It should only cost about $480 per year to heat and cool each unit.”

Just four blocks from Carnegie’s main business district, the community will consist of four paired two-bedroom dwellings and a single unit with a centralized edible garden/orchard sited on the natural grade of a re-claimed in-fill urban lot. “We just love Carnegie,” says Bonham. “It has a great downtown area with nice restaurants, shopping and plenty of culture. Plus it’s close to mass transit so you can easily do without a car. It is really a cool bohemian neighborhood.”

One model is completed and as of Jan. 1 the property will be listed with certified Howard Hanna EcoBroker Coral Stengel. “When I first learned of E Lane, I knew it was a perfect match for me,” says Stengel who has been trained in energy and environmental issues and strategies for capitalizing on the growing green market. “I really respect and admire what the Bonham’s are doing. They’ve gone all the way with this property.”

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Writer: Lauren Urbschat
Source: Ben Bonham, Bonham Asset Management, LLC
Coral Stengel, Howard Hanna Real Estate

Image courtesy Bonham Asset management, LLC

East End Food Co-op considers expansion into other Pittsburgh markets

The East End Food Co-op (EEFC) is currently involved in a major market research study of Allegheny County. The EEFC’s current location at 7516 Meade St. in Point Breeze has been in business since 1986 and does about $7.5M in annual sales. “Our store is successful, but its size and lack of adequate parking have prompted discussions about where to go from here,” says Rob Baran, general manager. “I initially considered moving the current store to a larger location but a cost analysis showed it would be just as expensive to open a second location and the potential for profit was much greater with two stores.”

Funded by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the market study will specifically focus on Lawrenceville and Carnegie but will also analyze potential locations throughout the city. “We’re at a point now where we are committed to expansion, but we want to be sure about the markets we enter into,” says Baran. “Carnegie has a lot of potential with its proximity to 79 and 279, because not only do with have members in Green Tree and Mt. Lebanon, but West Virginia and Ohio too.”

The EEFC is also engaged in conversations with city and state officials about a new model of smaller convenience based stores for under-served neighborhoods in need of local, healthy groceries.

“Our growth is part of a national trend.  The National Cooperative Grocers Association, which has 110 members with 140 locations, actually outgrew Whole Foods this year. Co-ops have a solid business model and our success benefits the whole community.”

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Writer: Lauren Urbschat
Source: Rob Baran, General Manager, East End Food Co-op

Photograph copyright Brian Cohen

$1.5M e lane condo project receives "green" light from Carnegie, breaks ground

A new sustainable condo project underway at a one-acre site in Carnegie has received the “green” light from borough officials and has named a general contractor.

Located at 826 Washington Ave., "e Lane @Carnegie" will feature nine, 1,100-square-foot units. The for-sale two-bedroom units will include two bathrooms, a two-car integral garages and patios.

A signature feature of the $1.5 million project is the use of Thermapan Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), a design structure commonly found in Europe and Canada that results in highly efficient buildings. The sustainable development will also feature low/no mow fescue ground cover, native Pennsylvania landscaping and a bio-retention area to hold and filter water run off.

“We plan to build one duplex first and then build out as sales dictate,”
says developer Ben Bonham with Moon Township-based Bonham Asset Management LLC, who has signed a contract with South Park-based S & R Contracting for site work. SIPs contractor Future Building of America of Farrel, Pa. has been selected to build the units.

A common green space will feature an edible perennials orchard, while rolling mounds of topsoil will provide natural privacy screening. The units’ metal roofs will come with a 45-year warranty. Units will also feature energy efficient Andersen awning windows, seven-foot patio doors and fiber cement board and architectural metal siding.  

Amenities at the site’s Evergreen model—which will sell for under $200,000—will include tiled bathrooms, bamboo floors and stainless steel appliances. Buyers may qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage and up to $2,000 in tax credits.

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Ben Bonham, Bonham Asset Management LLC

Image Courtesy Bonham Asset Management LLC

Applelicious expands operations, occupies renovated main street property in Carnegie

When Liza Minnelli needed 200 caramel apples for a recent benefit, she turned to local entrepreneur Paul Godleski of Carnegie’s own Applelicious.

The former UPS driver has launched a homegrown business with national appeal and an ethical bent. Located at 415 West Main St. in Carnegie, Applelicious features a 750-square-foot production facility, commercial kitchen, and150-square-foot storefront. The property also includes a second-story apartment.

After outgrowing his home-based operation, Godleski purchased the 100-year-old property and oversaw a complete renovation of its flood-damaged interiors. Godleski painted the building's interior and exterior, and installed new windows, drywall, a walk-in cooler, and chocolate machines. He’s already eyeing expansion. “I’m looking to add six hundred square feet in the back,” says Godleski, who is passionate about Carnegie. “It’s definitely in a revitalization. We’re close to the Parkway and I-79, and near the heart of anywhere—from Ohio to Monroeville.”

Applelicious concocts signature Granny Smith apples dipped in tasty toppings such as caramel, chocolate and cashews, white chocolate, and even Reese’s pieces. Its products are sold at regional markets, florists and craft fairs, to national, wholesale and corporate clients, and are a popular choice for wedding favors. “Seventy-percent of our business is for fundraisers—no matter how small or large the cause,” says Godleski, who also sells chocolate-dipped pretzels.

Why apples? “Years ago, my wife and I decided to do this after getting an apple as a gift from one of my customers. It was a cottage industry. We had a County-approved kitchen in our basement,” recalls Godleski. “Two years ago, we were turning business away. It grows one hundred percent per year, honestly. It’s a unique gift.”

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Paul Godleski, Applelicious


Photograph copyright Brian Cohen
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