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1135 Penn Condos offer significant tax credits to buyers

The space at 1135 Penn Avenue in Downtown, behind Eleven and vacant for the last five years, will soon house five  condominiums.

Designed and co-developed by Front Studio Architects in conjunction with construction firm MM Marra, 1135 Penn will feature five full-floor units, each consisting of at least 2,000 square feet.

According to Art Lubetz, a principal with Front Studio, buyers of units at 1135 Penn are eligible for tax credits under the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (LERTA), which offers 10-year abatements of up to $250,000 of the improved assessed value of a unit. This could save prospective buyers as much as $60,000.

Additionally, Allegheny County is also offering three-year abatements on the first $86,750 of each unit’s value.

The existing structure, which formerly housed a poultry slaughterhouse, dates to 1917 and will be outfitted with heating and cooling units in each condo, high-performance acoustic windows, bare brick walls and indoor parking spaces.

“The top floor has a large roof terrace, and the other two have terraces in the front of the building, which faces south,” says Lubetz.

Two of the units are already sold. Once Front Studio and Marra sell a third, they’ll begin construction, which they anticipate will take about five months.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Art Lubetz

Eat + Drink: Toss't opening Downtown, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Alley Brewing tasting

Eat + Drink is Pop City's routine review of reporting on rations.

Toss’t to open Downtown on August 13
Toss’t, the fast-casual salad concept spot from Julian Valozzi, will begin training staff tomorrow and plans to open its doors on August 13.

Located at 222 Fifth Avenue in Downtown, Toss’t will offer a variety of signature salads, customizable salads, wraps and Greek yogurt and will be open for lunch and dinner on weekdays.

Valozzi, owner of the Downtown Italian restaurant Valozzi’s right next door, says, “What I’m most excited about is getting back to working with some of the local, independent farmers as opposed to the larger food purveyors. It’s nice to talk with these guys and get to know and see exactly where our food is coming from.”

Toss’t will focus mainly on takeout business, but will offer minimal indoor seating, as well as some outdoor seating during warmer months.

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week preview party will be tomorrow on the North Side
This year’s summer edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week will tantalize diners with a preview party, scheduled for tomorrow night at the North Side’s National Aviary.

Party-goers will be able to preview food, browse menus and make reservations from some of the 69 restaurants taking part in restaurant week.

Tickets may be purchased online through ShowClix for $50 prior to the event, or for $60 at the door. The party will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pittsburgh Restaurant week will run from August 12 to 18. A full list of participating restaurants and deals is available on the PRW’s website.

Alley Brewing will hold free tasting at Bocktown tonight
When Josh Hays and Eric Bedont used to sit on their friend Chris Leber’s porch and talk about starting a business, they weren’t sure what form it would take.

“We’ve always had a passion to come up with some kind of business,” Leber says.

Once the three friends discovered craft beer, they were hooked. Named after the Brick Alley red light district of McKeesport’s yesteryear, Alley Brewing has turned into one of Pittsburgh’s most popular under-the-radar, amateur craft beer operations.

“Right now, we’re still in the homebrew phase,” Leber says. “We’re brewing in Cranberry, in my garage. My garage is overrun with brewing equipment.”

Six of Alley Brewing’s offerings will be available tonight when the trio holds a free tasting at the Bocktown Beer and Grill in Robinson. The selection will include an imperial IPA, a session IPA, a white IPA aged on peaches and apricots, a Belgian-style tripel, a saison and a new, experimental IPA.

“Those are the ones we started with more so than anything, and we’re kind of expanding out from there,” Leber says.

The trio’s ultimate goal is to open up their own Pittsburgh area brewpub, but as with the brewing process, the men behind Alley are taking their time.

“Before we ever brewed our first recipe or did anything with home brewing, we did about eight or nine months of research and learned how to do it,” Leber says.

Since then, they’ve dabbled in 18-20 different kinds of beer, and said they feel that about 10 of their recipes are where they want them.

Still, they’re going to make sure they’re as thorough as possible before looking to open their own pub.

“It’s one of those things where it can start as your passion, but it can rub off on the entire community,” Leber says.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Chris Leber, Josh Hays, Julian Valozzi

Grocery store with focus on local produce coming to Lawrenceville

Starting in October, a new joint venture between two neighborhood residents will bring organic, locally-sourced food to Upper Lawrenceville.

The 52nd Street Market will hearken back to the days of the neighborhood corner grocery while offering residents a local option for healthy food and produce.

“We really do want people to feel like it’s their corner store,” says Dora Walmsley, one of the market’s co-owners.

Walmsley, who works for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, met co-owner Deirdre Kane while working on Lawrenceville’s organic community gardens.

The market will occupy the first-floor space at 601 52nd Street, which years ago was a corner grocery called Bloomfield Market. Walmsley and Kane were looking for a location when they learned that the building had just been sold to real estate development firm PA Wealth Builders, which initially planned to use the space for its offices.

When Walmsley and Kane approached Jon Perry from the firm about using the first-floor space for a market, he was eager to help.

“He believed in our vision,” Kane says. “He believed in local food economy and remodeled the building for us at no extra charge.”

Walmsley and Kane hope to cull as much of their stock as possible from local farms and community gardens. Eventually they hope the market which is scheduled to open in mid-October, could be supplied by its own small farm.

“We hope to acquire land to have a little farmette,” Walmsley says. “The farmette will supply the market, which will hopefully sustain both the market and the farm.”

In addition to produce, the market plans to offer a selection of prepared foods, soups, salads and a coffee bar with a seating area.

“I decided Lawrenceville was not only going to be my home, but my future,” Kane says. “I really wanted to be a part of the neighborhood fabric.”

Kane and Walmsley plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon to help cover some of the costs of opening the market. For updates and information on how to get involved, visit the Facebook page.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Dora Walmsley, Deirdre Kane

You can now surf the three rivers, thanks to Surf Pittsburgh

“I don’t think people understand that surfing is something you can do on rivers,” says Steve Ford.

Luckily for Pittsburgh, Ford is here to change that perception.

Earlier this year, Ford opened Surf Pittsburgh, the city’s first river surfing service, on the South Side.

Headquartered at 1407 East Carson Street, Surf Pittsburgh uses a special boat, launched onto the Monongahela from 18th Street, which is designed to create three-foot-high waves in its wake.

“It’s like most other wakeboard boats, except for the way it’s weighted and the way the hull is designed,” Ford says. “The way the boat is made, you drive really slowly, only about nine or 10 miles per hour.”

River surfers initially balance themselves on a board while holding onto a cord attached to the boat, then let go of the cord once they’re riding the waves the boat creates.

Ford says most training sessions take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the group, and that it’s not as difficult as people might think. He estimates that around 90 percent of the people Surf Pittsburgh has taken out have been able to ride waves on their own.

“Depending on the conditions like the weather and the wind, you can surf down the Allegheny to the Ohio and back up the Mon,” Ford says. “On weekdays, when there is less traffic on the river, we’re able to go right down by The Point.”

Surf Pittsburgh offers private and group lessons and can accommodate groups of up to 10 people.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Steve Ford

New signage on Mt. Washington alerts people to businesses they may be missing

About 1.5 million tourists visit Mt. Washington’s inclines and scenic overlooks every year. Soon, the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation hopes to offer them more than just a nice view.

The Shiloh Street business district, which includes a diner, a bakery and a jewelry store, got new signs and a large business directory and map last week in what the MWCDC says is the first step in a larger initiative to market and build businesses on Mt. Washington.

“We’re trying to draw people in,” says MWCDC’s Christina Howell. “Most people have no idea that these business are on Shiloh Street.”

Although designed in the same style to indicate the type of business, shop owners had their choice of icons and colors for their signs, which were then designed by the MWCDC.

The PNC Foundation partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development to help fund the campaign, much of which is still to come.

Howell says the grant also includes funding for a Mt. Washington-specific iPhone app which is currently in development. It will include a complete business directory as well as an interactive map of the city skyline for visitors to the overlooks.

Next month, the MWCDC will conduct its second of two pedestrian traffic studies to establish market data it will use in updating its business recruitment package.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Christina Howell

Eat + Drink: Mineo's Pizza expanding, Rebellion Ciderworks adds tasting room

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at the news from a food-and-libations standpoint.

Mineo’s expanding
Mineo’s Pizza House, a Pittsburgh favorite since it first opened in 1958, will extend its operations into a neighboring building on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

The expansion will allow Mineo’s to install a full-service bar, broaden its menu and increase its seating capacity by about 40.

The shop has possessed a full liquor license for three years, but until now, has only sold beer and other malt beverages.

The expansion will take over the building which formerly held Engel’s Market, a small, independent grocery store which Claire Engel and her family operated for 46 years before shutting its doors in April.

Rebellion Ciderworks opens tasting room
Seven years ago, Slippery Rock farmer Derek Kellogg started making small batches of hard cider as a hobby.

“I wanted a product that I could grow from start to finish,” Kellogg said. “When I started reading about the tradition and history behind cider, not only here but around the world, I became obsessed with it.”

That obsession led Kellogg to establish Rebellion Ciderworks in 2010. He started selling his hard cider at farmers’ markets and to Slippery Rock’s North Country Brewing Company.

Last month, he opened a tasting room at his farm.

Kellogg, who juices his apples by hand using a wooden rack-and-cloth press dating to 1921, currently imports many of his apples from New York, but that’s soon to change.

“My orchard isn’t producing yet. I just started planting it,” Kellogg says, adding that Rebellion’s orchard will contain different kinds of apples, from wild varieties and popular English apples to historical breeds, like the Virginia crab apples favored by Thomas Jefferson.

Rebellion currently offers three kinds of cider. A sweet cider, which Kellogg calls “a starter cider” is a blend of dessert apples, and preferred by people new to hard cider. He also makes a semi-sweet cider entirely from Macintosh apples, and an English-style dry cider made using four kinds of British cider apples.

So is cider the new craft beer?

“It’s going to take a while for traditional cider to really become more mainstream,” Kellogg says, “but it’s the fastest-growing sector of the alcohol market right now.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Derek Kellogg

City Council could vote today on funding for Larimer redevelopment

Pittsburgh City Council will today consider and possibly vote on a measure that would allocate $16.5 million in city funds for a wholesale overhaul of housing in the city’s Larimer neighborhood.

Approving the funding is a step toward the city applying for a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that would help establish 350 mixed-income residential units in an area that hasn’t seen housing development in nearly five decades.

“Most of that money is for infrastructure and for housing, but it will be leveraged to use for other things,” says Councilman Ricky Burgess, whose ninth district includes Larimer and part of East Liberty.

The measure, which Burgess introduced, would help the city’s cause in applying on Larimer’s behalf for the HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative.

If Pittsburgh’s application is accepted, the city would get a $30 million federal grant which would go toward developing housing in one of Pittsburgh’s most underserved neighborhoods.

According to Burgess, the $16.5 million from the city — which would be spread out over seven years — and HUD grant would be augmented by $16.5 million from the city Housing Authority and the balance culled from other funding streams.

“The Choice Neighborhood application is actually bigger than Larimer, and encompasses part of East Liberty,” Burgess says. “What makes this different is that it’s total and complete transformation.”

Larimer will hold a community meeting on the plan on August 8th at 5:30 p.m. at the Kingsley Association, located at 6435 Frankstown Avenue.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Ricky Burgess

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

Lots of Green Bike + Bus Tour now bigger and better and ending in a party

For the second straight year, Growth Through Energy + Community Health (GTECH) will host a BikeFest event highlighting neighborhood efforts to make Pittsburgh greener.

The Lots of Green Bike + Bus Tour, which will take place on August 10th, offer participants bike tours of seven and 32 miles, as well as the option of a 90-minute bus tour for those less inclined to ride.

To expand upon last year’s bike tour of new and innovative community green space, GTECH has partnered with Grow Pittsburgh to make the event even bigger.

“Most of the projects that will be highlighted are former vacant lots — spaces that have been transformed into community green spaces,” says GTECH’s Sara Innamorato.

The tours will begin at 9 a.m., and leave from GTECH’s offices at 6587 Hamilton Avenue.

“If you look at the route, a lot of the gardens are in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy,” Innamorato says. “There are these green efforts happening in the community and there are people who really care about them and want to make them better.”

The tours include stops at community gardens and parks in city neighborhoods such as Garfield, Greenfield, the South Side, East Liberty, Homewood and Larimer, and areas just outside the city, including Braddock, Wilkinsburg, Homestead and Millvale.

When the tours conclude, participants will meet back up at GTECH’s offices for a party, featuring food from local vendors such as Marty’s Market, My Goodies Bakery and Rob’s Awesome Italian Ice, drinks from Commonplace Coffee, and beer donated by East End Brewing Company.

The Tech Shop will be on hand with a bike-themed demo, and Carnegie Library of Braddock’s Print Shop will be doing custom screen printing.

Tickets for Lots of Green are $10 and may be purchased through Showclix. For more on 2013 BikeFest, visit its website and check out Pop City’s expanded coverage.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Sara Innamorato

Eat + Drink: Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room gearing up for August opening

Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room set to open in late August
The space that generations of Pittsburghers knew as Tambellini Seventh Street Ristorante will re-open its doors late next month as Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room.

“We completely gutted the space,” says Suzanne Hrach, owner of the new venture. “All substantial construction is complete.

In addition to 30 craft beers on tap, 20-plus wines by the glass, house cocktails and signature snacks, Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room will feature thin-crust, artisan-style pizzas with house-made mozzarella and seasonal toppings.

Proper’s pizza dough, a sourdough-based starter that rests for three days after it’s made, comes from a recipe which Hrach’s boyfriend has worked to refine for more than a year.

Hrach has enlisted Lynette “LBEE” Bushey, formerly of Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina,  as Proper’s executive chef.

The menu is designed to emphasize the quality of the ingredients.

“Less is more,” says Hrach.

Tambellini’s, a Pittsburgh institution for more than 60 years, closed its doors in February.

Roundabout Brewery opens with a bang
Steve Sloan’s Roundabout Brewery on Butler Street in Lawrenceville had a hectic first two weeks in business.

When it initially opened its doors on the afternoon of Friday, July 12, lines to get growlers of beer filled the brewery’s foyer, extended out the door and wrapped around the building.

“That first week was really nuts,” Sloan says.

Sloan said that when he opened, he estimated that he had enough beer brewed to last a few weeks. By the end of last weekend, his supply of HyPA and Ginga Wheat were all but depleted.

Sloan anticipates having both beers available again within the week, but didn’t imagine he’d have any trouble keeping up with demand.

“If we have to go out and get another fermenter, we can do that,” Sloan says. “That’s where the bottleneck in the process is.”

Social plucks Kuhn away from Bar Marco
Mixologist Chris Kuhn has left Bar Marco to become the bar manager for Social at Bakery Square.

Kuhn’s cocktails include new takes on old favorites, such as the Brooklyn Bridge (Manhattan) and new concoctions, such as the Bourbon Blast (bourbon, grapefruit, maple syrup, bitters).

In addition to 16 beers on tap and 28 canned beers, Social will also offer fresh, house-made sangria which Kuhn will rotate weekly.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Suzanne Hrach, Steve Sloan, Chris Kuhn

Schenley Park to get two new water management systems

In an effort to reduce runoff and pollution and restore the ecosystem in Panther Hollow, two new rainwater management systems will be built in portions of Schenley Park.

“These are pilot projects and they’re part of a larger effort to restore the Panther Hollow Watershed,” says Erin Copeland, a restoration ecologist for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.

One system will consist of French drains along Bartlett and Beacon Streets in Squirrel Hill, near the park’s perimeter.

The drains are designed to collect surface water and groundwater into special piping which will redistribute the water.

The other system, which will be installed along Schenley Drive through the Bob O’Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park, involves a process called retentive grading.

Utilizing strategically chosen areas of the golf course, the conservancy will construct 20 to 25 earthen mounds perpendicular to water flow and made of soil mixtures designed to effectively soak in the most water.

Copeland says that together, the two systems will absorb about 1.9 million gallons of water each year, all of which will be redistributed to the Panther Hollow Watershed.

The systems, both of which qualify as pieces of green infrastructure, are part of the conservancy’s larger plan to restore the streams, woodlands and lake in Panther Hollow.

“Right now, the lake drains back to the sewer system,” Coleman says. “We’d like to change that. We want to get that water back out of the lake and create a stream in Junction Hollow.”

The upgrades, which the conservancy has been planning since 2010, will be completed next spring.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Erin Copeland

Lunch patio pops up on Downtown's Strawberry Way

Most Pittsburghers know Strawberry Way as a Downtown alley used for deliveries, and as a popular shortcut for lunchtime pedestrians.

But for the next month, the block of Strawberry Way between Smithfield Street and Montour Way will be sectioned off and turned into a patio during lunch on weekdays.

“Our idea was to provide downtown office workers and residents with more access to public seating,” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “You can go to the Steel Tower on a nice day and the place is completely jam-packed with people eating their lunches. We’re going to try this out for 30 days and see how it goes.”

The patio, which debuted on Monday, will be set up and open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Waldrup says that it will seat between 50 and 60 people, and that its location — safely in the shade during those hours — makes it an ideal getaway for Downtown workers.

“We hope it will stick around for the rest of the season,” Waldrup says. “It could be something that stays open spring, summer and fall if everyone agrees it’s a good idea.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeremy Waldrup

Office of Public Art releases new guide with Downtown launch party

You know that one Downtown mural or interesting building you love, but don’t know much about?

The Pittsburgh Office of Public Art does, and its new guide, published last month, Pittsburgh Art in Public Places: Downtown, offers a comprehensive look at more than 100 works of public art in Downtown and on the North Side.

The guide will be the subject of a second release party tomorrow evening at the Wood Street Galleries at 601 Wood Street, Downtown, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“All of the living artists who have work represented in the guide are invited, and many are attending,” says Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art.

The event will include cake, champagne, music from DJ Tara George and a slideshow of the art featured in the guide. There will also be an autograph table where guests can have their copies of the guide signed by all of the artists in attendance.

The event is free and open to the public, though RSVPs are encouraged.

“Pittsburgh has a world-class public art collection,” Piechocki says. “Public art has been an essential component of Pittsburgh's revitalization, and new projects will continue to add value and meaning to our public spaces.”

Copies of the guide will available for free at the party, and are downloadable as a PDF from the office’s website.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Renee Piechocki

American Natural brings a modernized energy center to Station Square

American Natural, a subsidiary of New York-based energy company Cleopatra Resources LLC, will open what it calls the region’s first "energy center" at 73 East Carson Street in Station Square on July 25th.

In addition to offering standard gasoline and diesel fuels, the station will be the first in the region to sell compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative automobile fuel source.

“Natural gas is an abundant and attractively price commodity and we are extremely excited to bring this affordable, reliable and responsible product to the Pittsburgh market at a price just below two dollars per gallon,” says Jennifer Pomerantz, CEO of Cleopatra Resources.

In order to run on natural gas, most cars would need to be retro-fitted — a process which can cost up to several thousand dollars. American Natural's installation will be the second facility in Pittsburgh to offer CNG. Downtown-based EQT Corp. operates a CNG filling station in the Strip District.

According to Pomerantz, the fueling station, American Natural Retail’s first endeavor, will create around 20 permanent jobs in the Pittsburgh area.

In addition to its automotive fueling options, the center will contain the American Natural Eatery, offering customers a full menu of salads and sandwiches, a coffee bar featuring coffee from Buffalo, NY-based roaster SPoT, and baked goods from local establishments Allegro Hearth, Gluuteny and Sinful Sweets.

“Our food offerings are going to include full meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” says Pomerantz.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jennifer Pomerantz

Pittsburgh Brewing Company names Brian Walsh new CEO

Uni-World Capital, the private equity firm that owns the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and all of the Iron City Brands, has tapped career beverage executive Brian Walsh to run the iconic local operation.

He succeeds interim CEO Rob Matteucci, who had served in the role since May.

“Brian was the ideal candidate,” Scott Porter of Uni-World says. “He has a strong beer-specific background, a strong background in understanding and working in local markets, and he has a lot of experience in the Pittsburgh area specifically.”

Walsh spent the past six years as president and CEO of the Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, Vt. During Walsh’s tenure at Long Trail, the microbrewery increased its shipment volume by 123 percent and more than doubled its revenue. Walsh also oversaw Long Trail’s acquisition of the Otter Creek Brewing Company and its Wolaver’s Certified Organic brands in 2010.

\Walsh is no stranger to the Pittsburgh beer market. Prior to taking over Otter Creek, he served as a regional vice president with Labatt USA, during which he managed Rolling Rock’s relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh was also part of his territory while working as a regional sales manager for Guinness.

“[Walsh] understands the importance of Iron City to the Pittsburgh community and how to translate that into profitable, sustainable growth,” Porter says. “The Pittsburgh community wants Iron City to succeed. We want this brand to succeed and we want to do it the right way.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Scott Porter
2134 Articles | Page: | Show All
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