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Name that suite! A new hotel downtown invites 'Burghers to do just that

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is opening its first boutique hotel downtown in October, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. But before the Steel City’s guests arrive, prospective patrons have the opportunity to name the luxurious one-bedroom spa suites. 
 
From Mon., July 21 to Wed., July 30, the virtual community will be able to submit recommendations for the suite name. The hotel will offer 13 suites. One suite will be titled the Majestic suite, the Monaco’s take on a presidential stay. The other 12 suites will be referred to with the online competition’s winning moniker.
 
The Facebook contest is open to Pennsylvania and Ohio residents. To enter, one must “like” the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh Facebook page and then post their locally-inspired name on the page’s wall with the hashtag #SoundsSoSuite.
 
Three finalists will be selected and another round of voting will run from Aug. 4 through Aug. 11.  The grand prize winner — with the most likes for his or her suggestion — will be the first to stay in the suite on the hotel’s opening night in October and be awarded dinner for two at the hotel’s restaurant.
 
Six random contestants or fans of the Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh page will also have the opportunity to win a prize.
 
“Aside from the grand prize, three people who submit names will win an overnight stay with us and three people who vote on the finalists will also win overnight stays,” confirmed Rob Mallinger, Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh general manager.

This 248-room hotel will mark the 11th Monaco site for Kimpton nationally — other cities to boast a Kimpton Hotel Monaco include Philadelphia, Washington DC and San Francisco.                                       

Mallinger says the suites are double the size of a regular hotel bedroom, have flat screen TVs and luxurious bathrooms, including a deep-soaking tub. Kimpton hotels also incorporate local themes in their design. The Pittsburgh hotel’s meeting rooms are named after notable Pittsburghers and the rooms have a black and gold, with hint of turquoise or emerald, color scheme.
 
“One of the great things about Kimpton is the way hotels take on a local identity,” Mallinger says. “As a native of this great city, I could not be more proud to be opening this unique luxury hotel in my hometown.”
 
Mallinger says he is also excited about some of the hotel’s other features debuting this fall. In addition to the warm and courteous staff, Mallinger says the hotel offers complimentary daily wine, there will be a couple of bikes available for guests to cruise through downtown and an “excellent” chef driven restaurant.  The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will also accommodate pets, offer a 24-hour fitness center and the front desk will be equipped with everything from hair straighteners to heating pads to computer chargers, available for little or no charge through Kimpton’s signature “Forgot It? We’ve Got It” program.
 
“Generally speaking, I thinking the Kimpton is bringing something new to the city,” he says. “We want guests to experience everything we offer.”
 
The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh will open downtown in the Reed Building at 620 William Penn Place in October. For more information and updates, please visit the hotel’s website at www.monaco-pittsburgh.com.
 
 
Source: Jacklin Rhoads of Cashman & Associates,  Rob Mallinger

The Neighborhood Flea debuts Sunday in the Strip

A new artisan marketplace is coming to the Strip District. The Neighborhood Flea will feature vintage clothes, repurposed furniture, crafts, food trucks and more at its inaugural market Sun., July 27.
 
Carrie Nardini, organizer of The Neighborhood Flea, started the I Made It Market seven years ago. She and Stephanie Sheldon, who she met through I Made It Market, were inspired by urban flea markets such as the Brooklyn Flea, and started The Cleveland Flea last year with Ohio community development organization St. Clair Superior.
 
Nardini says she and Sheldon worked together in Cleveland to bring farm fresh produce, mid-century collectibles from furniture to housewares, clothing and handmade goods to The Cleveland Flea.  
 
“[It was] a cool experience to be able to bring all of these small businesses together into one space,” she says. Nardini added that this experience helped her branch out of the homemade circuit she usually works with in Pittsburgh.
 
She says she sees a lot of potential in Pittsburgh for this kind of bazaar because of the pride the city has in its neighborhoods.
 
“The act of shopping at the flea encourages dialogue and neighborly exchanges," she says. "Meet the vintage aficionado whose plates remind you of Sunday dinner at your grandmother’s. Learn about the woodworker who forages the fallen trees of your favorite park. Sip the city’s finest coffees and eat the best mobile food [the] community has to offer.
 
The flea will start as a monthly event in the Strip, but Nardini says she hopes to see it expand to other Pittsburgh communities. The market will be hosted monthly in the parking lot across from Marty’s Market until winter.
 
Nardini says this is not the sort of dusty, overstock “flea” many associate with the word. Instead, The Neighborhood Flea is a curated arts event.
 
“The Neighborhood Flea is a vibrant, pop up urban marketplace offering an inspired shopping experience in Pittsburgh's historic Strip District,” she says.  “[It] is a celebration of the craft and time of vendors who make and curate fine collections. In bringing together top-quality vendors and discerning customers in an urban setting, a new neighborhood magically emerges.”
 
Nardini explains that visitors to Neighborhood Flea can expect a wide range of vendors specializing in vintage clothing, home goods, locally made bath and body products, handcrafted items, foods and “strong brews.”
 
Some vendors that have already signed on for July 27 kickoff include Red Pop Shop, Natrona Bottling Company, PGH Taco Truck, A-Boss Opticians (specializing in vintage frames) and Royal Establishment. Wigle Whiskey and Marty’s Market are also participating in the event.
 
Nardini describes these businesses as “hidden treasures [from] all around the city” that Neighborhood Flea is bringing together in one place.
 
The Neighborhood Flea is located at 2300 Penn Avenue in the parking lot across from Marty's Market. Pop up dates are currently set for July 27, August 24  and September 28 from 11 AM - 4 PM. For more information, follow The Neighborhood Flea on Facebook at facebook.com/neighborhoodflea.
 
Source: Carrie Nardini

Goats at work in Polish Hill

Tree Pittsburgh got a little help from a special breed of volunteers Tues., July 8 when 30 goats lent their efforts to a hillside restoration project in Polish Hill.
 
Tree Pittsburgh worked with Eco-Goats of Annapolis, Maryland to clear a hillside at West Penn Park of invasive species like knotweed and poison ivy.
 
Goats were provided by a farm in Butler County and began work at 8AM, snacking to prepare the hillside for planting 110 trees grown by Tree Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze nursery. The project was organized by Tree Pittsburgh and funded by the Alcoa Foundation and American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Partnership for Trees.
 
The goats were secured by fence in the tenth of an acre parcel procured by Tree Pittsburgh and worked until 3PM. The event served not only as a restoration project but eco-workshop.
 
Danielle Crumrine, Tree Pittsburgh executive director, called Tuesday’s efforts a teaching opportunity and demonstration, noting that eco-groups across the country use goats for outdoor restoration and that this was an educational experience for local environmental groups. Those who attended the event were able to witness Brian Knox, supervising forester of Eco-Goats, handle the goats.
 
Tree Pittsburgh says goats are attractive in vertical clearing efforts because, “unlike human volunteers, goats can navigate the steep hillside terrain without issue or safety concern. They also eat many invasive species, including some that may be dangerous to humans. Goats are light on their feet, so the trampling from their hooves will prepare the soil for planting later in the year.”
 
The goats in Polish Hill were visible from West Penn Park and Brereton Street.
 
“Cars were pulling over all day, taking pictures,” Crumrine says. She added that children in the adjacent park came over to see the goats, several of them doing their best goat impressions with bleets and bahs.
 
Crumrine says they will be working at the site for about a year and half and noted that in addition to their lot, the entire hillside is fighting invasive species.
 
“You have to shade it out, you have to be diligent,” she says about the uphill battle. The 110 trees will be planted to help reduce sun exposure to the non-pioneer plants.
 
The goats produced a noticeable difference and cleared much of the invasive species Tuesday, but there is work left to be done. Had they been able to stay for 24 hours, Crumrine says, the goats may have been able to clear the small plot.
 
Crumrine says she hopes to see more goats in Tree Pittsburgh’s future.
 
“This is something that Tree Pittsburgh and other local environmental groups would like to continue,“ she says. “[But] goats aren’t free.”

Source: Tree Pittsburgh, Danielle Crumrine

Mayor announces first phases of protected bike lane program

Last week, Mayor William Peduto announced the first phases of the city’s new protected bike lane program to be built in Schenley Park, Greenfield and Downtown. More lanes will follow around the city in partnership with People for Bikes and the Green Lane Project.
 
The city’s first protected two-way lanes will be built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park; along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield; and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue, Downtown.
 
These segments account for just more than one mile out of five that are being partially underwritten through $250,000 in support from the Green Lane Project. The Green Lane project chose Pittsburgh as one of six cities that will receive such support. The budget for this first phase, paid out of city capital funds, is $188,000. Bike PGH advocacy director Eric Boerer added that the Mayor has a goal of five miles of protected trail in two years. 
 
"We’re in the top 30 best cities in the country for cycling but that’s not good enough," Mayor Peduto said at a July 3 press conference in Schenley Park. "We have the ability to be a top 10 city in this country and even do better, and that is going to be the commitment our administration is going to make. We will make sure cycling is not only safe, but a viable part of our economic development strategy and a critical part of our transportation needs."
 
Boerer elaborates that this is the type of infrastructure Bike PGH has been advocating. He explains that these protected lanes physically separate cyclists from cars, which creates a multi-use framework that motivates Pittsburgh to get on their bikes.
 
“[The protected lanes create an] infrastructure that is safe for all types of users from eight to 80 years old,” he says, calling the Green Lane Project’s initiative the “next level bike infrastructure on the street.” 
 
Penn Avenue traffic Downtown will be changed to inbound-only to accommodate the protected lanes, which will be on the southern side of the street. Later phases of the Downtown protected lanes are planned to connect to the city’s existing trail systems and the Strip District. Construction on the Greenfield and Schenley Park lanes will begin first later this month and construction Downtown will follow.
 
“There’s a really big symbolic element,” Boerer says.  “[The protected lane initiative] shows that Pittsburgh is thinking differently than ever before … It’s pretty huge step forward for our city.”
 
Boerer also notes that these bike lanes help Pittsburgh keep up with the rest of the country in a national bike movement.  Other cities with protected bike lanes have seen them strengthen neighborhood and business development.
 
“Protected bike lanes have proven to be economic generators from San Francisco to Chicago, and they will be too in Downtown Pittsburgh and other neighborhoods citywide,” Mayor Peduto said. “These lanes are in keeping with the decades-long revitalization of the Cultural District and will add human-scale improvements to the Downtown streetscape as it turns into a unique residential neighborhood.”
 
Source: Eric Boerer, Office of Mayor William Peduto

NOLA's grand reopening promises to make this summer even hotter

From the summer weather, to hot jazz, to spicy sauce, NOLA on the Square’s grand reopening promises to bring the heat.
 
NOLA, Pittsburgh’s downtown destination for New Orleans, La. — NOLA — cuisine and live jazz music, announced the entertainment line-up for its reopening celebration, kicking off July 15.
 
Opening in 2011, NOLA was a Market Square staple until a fire forced it to close its doors on Feb. 24, 2014. Just less than six months later, NOLA is ready to start serving Cajun and Creole favorites again.
 
“Luckily, we were very organized about it,” says John Ajay, corporate beverage director for The Big Y Restaurant Group, general manager of Perlé and assistant general manager of NOLA, about the renovation. “We were able to move pretty quickly on this.”
 
The reopening will feature several events, including a weeklong JazzFest — a nod to New Orleans’ popular spring music festival. NOLA’s JazzFest will run from July 15 to July 19 and feature a different artist every night. The Fri., July 18 and Sat., July 19 events will host multiple performances.
 
“Friday and Saturday are sort of a jazz marathon,” says Karen Poirier, president of KeboWorks and NOLA media preview.  She explains that the Friday performances will run from 4PM to midnight and Saturday’s acts are all day from noon to midnight.
 
After JazzFest, NOLA will return to its regular live music schedule with performances Wednesday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 8PM.
 
On July 30, NOLA Chefs Andrew Hebson and Leonard Pisano will go head-to-head in a Chef vs. Chef battle of the hot sauces contest to be decided by a panel of Pittsburgh celebrity judges. The panel includes WQED’s Director of Programming and host of QED Cooks Chris Fennimore; popular food and drinks writer Hal B. Klein; and comedian and WDVE morning show personality Bill Crawford.
 
The chefs will use dueling Louisiana hot sauces Crystal and Tabasco creatively in their recipes. Patrons have the option to join in on the fun and order from the hot sauce battle menu or stick to NOLA’s traditional menu.
 
NOLA will also debut Speakeasy as part of its reopening. Dedicated to craft whiskeys and beers, Speakeasy is a companion bar to Perlé, NOLA’s upstairs neighbor, also reopening July 15.
 
Poirier calls Speakeasy “a new destination” and private event venue for NOLA. She added that “Speakeasy is the mancave complement to Perlé,” which Poirier describes as a romantic, late-night tapas lounge. Decorated in a dark, masculine style with club chairs, Speakeasy will operate Friday and Saturday nights from 8PM to 2AM.
 
In addition to the launch of Speakeasy and Perlé’s comeback, the bars will also introduce a Vintage Champagne Room — located between Speakeasy and Perlé. The Champagne Room will host upwards of 500 bottles from Dom Pérignon to Moët & Chandon to Ace of Spades.
 
While the paint is fresh and the art is new, NOLA is still the Market Square restaurant Pittsburgh knows and loves — complete with its popular open-air kitchen.
 
“We’re just really looking forward to opening back up," Ajay says, noting that both customers and neighboring businesses have shown encouragement during the renovation process. "We’ve had a lot of support over the past few months. It’s a nice little neighborhood we have in the Square.”
 
 
Source:  Karen Poirier, KeboWorks, John Ajay

PNC Financial tops off its new global headquarters Downtown

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. celebrated the topping off of its new global headquarters, The Tower at PNC Plaza, Tuesday. Officials, labor dignitaries, construction workers, PNC’s employees and project partners gathered to sign the final steel beam before it was placed atop the building structure.  

The 33-story, 800,000-square foot tower—located on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street—will house approximately 2,200 employees upon its opening in fall 2015. The building will help accommodate PNC’s growth and support further business development in Downtown Pittsburgh. PNC says they expect 2,500 people to be hired during construction of The Tower at PNC Plaza.   

“The tower’s construction is a reflection of PNC’s commitment to Pittsburgh and a testament to our tremendous growth over the past decade,” says PNC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Demchak. “The new headquarters will serve as a statement about the importance that we place on sustainability and innovation and on providing the best-possible environment for our employees.” 
 
With a double-skin facade and a solar chimney, the tower is anticipated to ventilate naturally at least 42 percent of the year and consume 50 percent less energy than a typical office building. The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and narrow floor plates will allow daylight to illuminate 90 percent of all open workspaces, and a water recycling system is expected to decrease the tower’s annual water consumption by 77 percent.  PNC says they believe that the building will exceed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification and set the new standard for green building. 

“In 2000, the 650,000-square-foot PNC Firstside Center opened as the first U.S. LEED-certified financial services building and the largest LEED-certified building in the country,” a statement from PNC explains. “Since then, PNC has certified 225 projects to LEED standards, including more newly constructed LEED-certified buildings than any other company."
 
Source: PNC

Summer dining goes to the dogs

It’s patio season in Pittsburgh and many residents want to enjoy the weather with the entire family—including Fido.
 
Many Pittsburgh eateries allow four-legged patrons in their outdoor seating areas. Some even provide services for your dog from drinks to dessert. In fact, Double Wide Grill is hosting the second annual Lucky’s South Side Dog Festival on Sun., June 29 from 12PM to 5PM.
 
The free South Side event (open to pups and the public) will feature a dog talent show, contests (from howling to owner/pet look alike), games and pet adoption. The Double Wide Mars location will host the first annual Lucky’s Mars Area Dog Festival on Sun., July 20.
 
Here is a list of Pittsburgh’s dog-friendly dining options.
 
Big Dog Coffee
South Side
Just as the name would suggest, dogs are invited to join their humans on the patio.
 
Bistro 19
Mt. Lebanon
Dogs are permitted on sidewalk seating.
 
Bites and Brews
Shadyside
Dogs are permitted on sidewalk seating.
 
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Bruster’s provides free doggy sundaes to canine patrons!
 
Cappy's Café
Shadyside
Dogs are welcome to join their humans for an al fresco meal.
 
Coca Café  
Lawrenceville
Dogs are permitted on sidewalk seating.
 
Cupka’s II
South Side
Cupka’s II provides an outdoor, pet-friendly patio.
 
Del’s Restaurant
Bloomfield              
Del’s provides an outdoor, pet-friendly patio.
 
Diamond Market Bar and Grill
Downtown
Dogs are welcome to join their humans for an al fresco meal.
 
Double Wide Grill
South Side
Double Wide’s South Side location was the first business in Allegheny County to legally provide a designated dog section. Dogs are welcome to join the family for an al fresco meal on the patio at the South Side location. The dog patio is not available at Double Wide’s Mars location.

Il Pizzaiolo
Downtown and Mt. Lebanon
Dogs are welcome to join their humans for an al fresco meal.
 
Marty’s Market
The Strip
Dogs are allowed at outdoor seating and the restaurant will provide a bowl of water for your dog.
 
Mercurio's
Shadyside
Dogs are welcome to join their humans for an al fresco meal.
 
Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle Irish Pub
The Strip
Harp & Fiddle provides an outdoor, pet-friendly patio.
 
Nine on Nine
Downtown
Dogs are allowed at outdoor seating and the restaurant will provide a bowl of water for your dog.
 
Osteria
The Strip
Not only are dogs allowed to join their humans on the patio, but dog treats are available for 50 cents!
 
Redfin Blues
Washington’s Landing
Dogs are permitted on the restaurant’s side patio.
                     
S. Aiken Bar & Grille
Shadyside
S. Aiken provides an outdoor, pet-friendly patio.
 
Shady Grove
Shadyside                      
Dogs are permitted on the restaurant’s patio.
 
Silky’s Pub
Bloomfield
Dogs are permitted at outdoor seating.
 
Social
Bakery Square
Dogs are allowed at outdoor seating and the restaurant will provide a bowl of water for your dog.
 
Square Café
Regent Square
Dogs are allowed at outdoor seating and the restaurant will provide a bowl of water for your dog.  
 

Please share your favorite dog-friendly spots in the comments!
 
Source: Double Wide Grill, BringFido.com, petfriendlyrestaurants.com, dogfriendly.com

Allegheny County granted tax credits for three affordable housing projects

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority recently approved nearly $2.7 million in federal tax credits for the construction of three affordable housing projects within Allegheny County. 
 
“The need for affordable housing has grown throughout our region, even as units have disappeared,” says County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Working cooperatively with partners throughout the County, we have been able to provide additional housing in areas that need it. These developments, though, also are thoughtful in that services and needs residents may have are taken into consideration in the planning.”
 
The three projects include the Heidelberg Apartments, Falconhurst Neighborhood Restoration and the Serenity Ridge development in Plum.
 
ACTION Housing, Inc. and the Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh are producing The Heidelberg Apartments development as a unique rental community of 42 units in the Borough of Heidelberg. Half of the units will be reserved for people with autism spectrum.
 
The project is also won an “Innovation in Design” award for its creative approach to affordable housing solutions. Residents will receive  transportation, employment and social services opportunities. The needs of residents with autism spectrum will be met with specialized design features.
 
The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is restoring Falconhurst in Wilkinsburg and 33 new units restricted to low-to-moderate-income tenants will result from the project. The development will include 10 one-bedroom apartments, 16 two-bedroom apartments and seven three-bedroom apartments along with a community room, computer facility, laundry room, storage areas and supportive services
 
The development of Serenity Ridge by S & A Homes will provide 62 townhouse units for seniors on a 15-acre site. Serenity Ridge will include 38 one-bedroom apartments and 24 two-bedroom apartments as well as a community room, computer facility, laundry room and tenant storage areas.
 
PHFA awarded $20.4 million in federal tax credits and $8.5 million in federal PennHOMES funding for 24 different developments in the Commonwealth. Those credits will be used to attract more than $185 million of private investments, will create 1,248 rental-housing units for low-to-moderate-income families and will result in 1,002 construction jobs and 745 non-construction jobs.
 
“We were happy to support and partner with the developers on these three projects and are thrilled that each was successful in receiving tax credits,” says Dennis Davin, Allegheny County Economic Development Director. “These projects not only advance the community’s plans, but also provide much needed affordable housing within our county.”

Source: County of Allegheny 

Local architect's home featured in Dwell magazine

The Lawrenceville home of Andrew Moss, president of mossArchitects, and Michelle Yanefski, an electrical engineer, is featured in the July/August issue of Dwell magazine.
 
Moss says he and his wife Yanefski sent Dwell images of the home some time ago. They are being featured in the magazine for their “budget driven,” “modern” home.
 
Moss and Yanefski designed the space together.

“We worked to have a modern home,” Moss says. He adds that it is a unique experience to design a house based on one’s own lifestyle. “It’s a great opportunity to design your own home.”
 
He explains that the materials used to build the home were distinct and reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s industrial past — for example, the house’s metal siding. Another noteworthy aspect of the Lawrenceville abode is how it’s sited, according to Moss. The house is not part of a series of row houses, like much of the neighborhood.
 
“It’s an honor,” Moss says about being featured in Dwell. “I also think it’s a great thing for Pittsburgh.”
 
In conjunction with Moss’s mention, Dwell is running a Pittsburgh City Guide online with tips from Moss. Butler Street businesses Cure and Who New? in Lawrenceville are on the list alongside Pittsburgh institutions such as the Andy Warhol Museum.  
 
 
Source: mossArchitects, Andrew Moss 

Forza Group plans multiple hotels and ice rinks in Marshall Township

Last week, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation sold 21.1 acres for $1.2 to the Forza Group of Carnegie.
 
The Marshall Township Brush Creek Road parcel will be developed into a Staybridge Suites by the InterContinental Hotels Group — which also owns Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites. The hotel will offer business and recreational amenities from lodging to meeting space to access to an ice rink.
 
An article from the Pittsburgh Business Times states that Forza plans to build multiple hotels and potentially more than one ice rink on the property. Nicole Zimsky, the planning director and zoning officer for Marshall, confirms in the piece that there's an early stage plan for two or three hotels and an ice rink or two. Zimsky also notes that the rinks could accommodate youth hockey tournaments and has potential for other uses.
 
“This project offers additional business class amenities to the Thorn Hill Industrial Park companies,” says Tim White, RIDC vice president of development.
 
To accommodate development in the industrial park, RIDC has constructed about 3.6 acres of wetland and 1,300 linear of new stream channel over the past year. RIDC also supported Marshall Township in their construction of a recreational trail along the wetlands, providing trail-goers to view the wetlands and wildlife.
 
 
Source: RIDC, Pittsburgh Business Times 

Throwback Thursday: Penn Brewery

“The history of this brewery actually goes back [about] 150 years,” Linda Nyman, co-owner and marketing director at Penn Brewery, begins.       
 
The Northside brewery has seen many transformations since its founding in Deutschtown in 1848. Deutschtown was the neighborhood in Allegheny City named for its large population of German immigrants.
 
And where there were mid-19th century German immigrants, there was beer.
 
The block where Penn Brewery is located once hosted eight or nine breweries, with Ober Brothers and Eberhardt and Ober breweries calling the site of modern Penn Brewery home. Eberhardt and Ober were connected through marriage, according to Nyman.
 
In 1899, Eberhardt and Ober merged with about 20 other regional breweries. The group became known as the Pittsburgh Brewing Company — Iron City Beer’s predecessor. Beer production continued until 1952 (save a hiatus during prohibition), under such labels as E&O Pilsner and Dutch Club.
 
After 1952 the brewery was vacant, hosted a grocery for a short period of time and then fell into disrepair, Nyman says.
 
In 1989, Tom Pastorius brought Penn Brewery to its modern glory, though Nyman notes the brew house was not yet called by its modern moniker. The restaurant was known as Allegheny Brewery & Pub until 1994. 
 
“We were the first tied house [in Pennsylvania] …  since prohibition,” Nyman says of the building being a restaurant coupled with a brewery.
 
Today, several historic holdovers can still be found at Penn Brewery. Eberhardt and Ober opened three breweries on the site where Penn exists today, and three of the original E&O brewery buildings remain. These buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boast many fascinating architectural features, according to www.pennbrew.com
 
The cobblestone beer garden was once an entrance way for horse drawn beer deliveries, the old administrative building disconnected from Penn Brewery hosts original architecture in its tiling and stairs, and perhaps the most notable historic feature is the “labyrinth” of stone caves and tunnels that was constructed to chill, or ‘lager,’ barrels of beer in the days before refrigeration.
 
Nyman says these “lagering caves” are built into the hillside and are not open to the public, though they hope to have a few inspected for modern use in the future. She adds that the caves were discovered during masonry renovation, complete with old, rotting beer barrels.
 
Aches and pains associated with Penn Brewery’s age most recently made news when a beehive was discovered in the beerhouse’s second floor offices.
 
When a final layer of walling came down during renovation last month, the brewery was abuzz. A five-foot beehive hosting 50,000 to 60,000 bees was uncovered. Luckily, the master beekeeper who removed the bees was only stung twice when evacuating them to a new home.
 
Penn Brewery has been a part of the community — brewing local beer for 166 years. This is reflected in their offerings.
 
Their website states: “Our varied menu pays tribute to the many European nationalities whose immigrants built Pittsburgh and its colorful cultural heritage.”
 
This post is part of a “Throwback Thursday” series highlighting Pittsburgh’s revitalized historic buildings. 

Source: Linda Nyman, Penn Brewery 
 

New bake shop in the Strip offers custom cakes and bacon cinnamon rolls

Dulcinea Bakeshop will open its doors Sat., June 14 in the Strip district. The bakery located at 2627 Penn Ave is next door to Savoy restaurant and one of several shops to recently find a home in the Strip on Penn Avenue toward Lawrenceville. 
 
“I think the Strip and Lawrenceville are just going to connect at some point,” Tabrina Avery, Dulcinea owner, says with a grin about the expanding neighborhood.
 
Avery, a Le Cordon Bleu Pittsburgh graduate, says she is excited to start a business in the Strip and is trying to support neighborhood shops. The bakery will offer La Prima coffee and Opening Night Catering’s Harry Ross and Jean Ross
have been helping Avery navigate opening a new business — she has a history of baking wedding cakes for the catering company.
 
Avery has worked as a baker for a couple of other Pittsburgh restaurants since she moved to the city in 2007. Dulcinea is her first independent venture.
 
 “I was a huge fan of Don Quixote as a kid, Dulcinea was the woman he fell in love with and it kind of always stuck with me,” Avery says about choosing a name for her shop.
 
Wedding cakes and cakes to order will be a part of Dulcinea’s menu.  Avery says she will have specials that change weekly and will focus on breakfast style baked goods for the menu. She says the bakery will offer savory quiches, danishes (including a cardamom flavor), pound cake, cake by the slice and even bacon cinnamon buns.
 
“My cinnamon buns are out of this world,” she says with a laugh. Avery adds that she likes to focus on pure flavors when baking. She says, “I like to take simple classics and elevate them.”
 
The grand opening will be from 10AM to 5PM Saturday.  Avery will feature her house dulce de leche cake for the occasion.
 
Source: Tabrina Avery

Giant Chess, Jenga and Connect Four are coming downtown this summer

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is introducing Project Pop Up: Play through its Pop Up program on Fri., June 13 in Market Square.
 
In 2012, more than 90 artists, entrepreneurs and nonprofits submitted proposals to activate downtown storefronts. Finalists were invited to “pop” into downtown for limited engagements. After the pilot year, three of the Pop Ups signed long-term leases.
 
Project Pop Up was envisioned to be replicated and its reach includes one-time events and programs to create strong public places in Downtown Pittsburgh. Previous Pop Ups have included fashion, night markets, food and nature events.
 
“As an organization we enjoy doing unique, fun things,” says Leigh White, PDP vice president of marketing and communications. “We do them to activate downtown.”
 
Project Pop Up: Play is an initiative to help relieve workday stress with a game break. On June 13 in Market Square, during lunchtime, stop by to play some cornhole, super-sized chess, life-sized Connect Four and mega Jenga.
 
“Every adult wants to play,” White says. “It doesn’t matter if you are in a suit or … work clothes.”
 
All games are free to anyone who wants to participate. The PDP is planning to pop up the games several times a week all over downtown. White calls the games “great stress relief“ and a “great way to meet people.”
 
In addition to Pop Up: Play, the PDP is also currently hosting Project Pop Up: Patio and Project Pop Up: Fashion will be back again this year on Fri., July 18 in Market Square. Last year, Pop Up: Patio was located in Strawberry Way. This year, the Patio and Play initiatives are rotating.
 
“The biggest thing for us is that we want this to be a public participation event,” says White about how Pittsburghers have the power to request where they want the games and patio in downtown.
 
The PDP wants input about where to pop up with the fun. You can suggest a location on twitter or facebook by reaching the PDP with the hashtag #PopUpPlay for the games and the hashtag #PopUpPatio for the patio — the patio is currently located at the Gateway PAT station parklet during the Three Rivers Arts Festival — you can also email the PDP with a location request at pdp@downtownpittsburgh.com.
 
Social media will also be used to announce where you can find the games next.
 
 
Source: The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Pittsburgh to host 25th annual meeting of the Intelligent Transportation Society

Last week, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America selected Pittsburgh as the host city for the 25th Annual ITS America Meeting and Exposition next year.
 
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to advancing the research, development and deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems to improve the nation’s surface transportation system. Founded in 1991, ITS America’s membership includes more than 450 public agencies, private sector companies and academic and research institutions.
 
Taking place June 1 - 3, 2015, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, the event is expected to draw more than 2,000 of the nation’s top transportation and technology policymakers, innovators and engineers, investors, researchers and business leaders to Pittsburgh to address the critical role of technology in the nation’s and region’s transportation future.
 
“ITS America is thrilled to host our 25th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. — a city that is at the forefront of researching and developing high-tech transportation solutions,” says Scott Belcher, president and CEO of ITS America. “Pittsburgh is leading the way in advancing technologies such as smart sensors for parking, real-time traffic and transit information, advanced vehicle and robotics technologies and smart mobility applications that are revolutionizing transportation as we know it.”
 
Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, DC have both recently hosted the annual meeting and exposition.
 
Co-hosted with ITS Pennsylvania, the 2015 Annual Meeting will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions with the intelligent transportation industry’s premier thought leaders and rising stars, and provide attendees the opportunity to experience the latest transportation innovations through interactive technology demonstrations, a bustling exhibit hall, technical tours and networking events.
 
“ITS Pennsylvania is excited to have the City of Pittsburgh selected as the Annual Meeting location," says ITS Pennsylvania President Dan Corey. "With a surge of activity in recent years in university research, technology transfer and robotics, Pittsburgh is transforming itself into a center of intelligent transportation activity. There has also been a tremendous ITS focus on transportation, safety, operations and mobility issues throughout the state that we look to share with our colleagues. ITS Pennsylvania thanks ITS America for the selection and is ready to help make this meeting a success for both our organizations as well as the region.”
 
 
Source: Intelligent Transportation Society of America 

Buy a blighted lot or side yard at a discount through Allegheny County

The Allegheny County Department of Economic Development recently launched its 2014 Side Yard and Blighted Structure Program through its Vacant Property Recovery Program. The initiative provides an opportunity for individuals, businesses, nonprofits or government entities to apply for vacant and uncared for lots at a discounted price to the applicant.
 
“Over the past five years, the Vacant Property Recovery Program has played an integral part in revitalizing and redeveloping our neighborhoods by working with applicants to convey vacant, blighted properties for use as side yards, to develop affordable housing and for other uses such as parks, green space and commercial and residential property,” says Allegheny County executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We are proud that the program was recognized this year as a recipient of the 2014 Governor’s Award for Excellence and are thrilled to be able to provide the Side Yard program for a second year.”
 
Cassandra Collinge, manager of housing development for the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, says the Vacant Property Recovery Program has been around since the ‘90s but has gained popularity in the past five years.
 
Collinge explains that the Vacant Property Recovery Program is an applicant driven process to reuse the county’s blighted buildings and properties. A property is generally deemed blighted when it is tax delinquent for three years. She says the venture helps to create clean titles for the deserted plots.
 
The abandoned land may be attractive to individuals and organizations for various reasons. Collinge says people may want to absorb a side yard, or delinquent structure adjacent to their home or business, to expand their yard, create additional parking or simply have something nicer next door. 
 
Properties have also been used as the site of a new structure, park or memorial. Collinge notes that there’s a veterans’ memorial park in Heidelberg on land granted through the project.
 
Allegheny County will accept applications to acquire vacant properties in 28 of the county’s 44 municipalities at a reduced cost to the applicant through the special 2014 Side Yard and Blighted Structure Program. 
 
This program is available in Braddock Hills, Carnegie, Collier, Coraopolis, Dravosburg, Etna, Forward, Glassport, Green Tree, Harrison, Heidelberg, Liberty, McCandless, Moon, Munhall, North Fayette, North Versailles, O’Hara, Oakdale, Penn Hills, Plum, Ross, Scott, Turtle Creek, West Homestead, West Mifflin, Whitaker and Wilkins.
 
Applications must be submitted no later than Aug. 30, 2014. Up to 60 applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis; only five applications will be accepted per municipality to ensure that all municipalities and residents have an opportunity to apply. Applicants must be current on taxes, water, sewage and refuse bills on all properties owned in Allegheny County and cannot have any outstanding code violations or municipal liens on any properties.
 
“We’ve been fortunate to see this program grow over the past year with 10 municipalities joining in 2013, and another three joining since the beginning of the year," says Dennis Davin, director of economic development. "From 2012 through 2013, we received over 240 applications, accepted 135 properties and conveyed 119 parcels. In addition to eliminating visual blight, the program improves the safety of neighborhoods, returns properties to the tax rolls, eliminates maintenance costs to municipalities and encourages community reinvestment.”
 
Discounts similar to the 2014 Side Yard and Blighted Structure Program are available through the Vacant Property Recovery Program on an ongoing basis in the other 16 municipalities — where it is standard on a rolling basis to underwrite or assist in costs. These municipalities are Braddock, East Pittsburgh, Homestead, McKees Rocks, Millvale, Mount Oliver, North Braddock, Pitcairn, Rankin, Sharpsburg, Stowe, Swissvale, Tarentum, Verona, Versailles and Wilkinsburg. Funding for the program is provided through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, County general funds and applicant payments towards acquisition costs.
 
“[The project] ends up having a very positive impact on the community from a tax stand point and improving visual blight,” Collinge said.
 
For additional information, or to request an application, please contact 412-350-1090.

Source: Allegheny County, Cassandra Collinge                                                      
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