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Pitt approves $37 million upgrade to engineering school building

The University of Pittsburgh has approved a plan to spend $37 million to complete renovations on Benedum Hall, which houses the university’s Swanson School of Engineering.

“This final phase of Benedum Hall renovations will complete our building’s transformation into a leading-edge engineering education and research facility,” says Gerald Holder, dean of the Swanson Engineering School. 

The renovation will be the third and final phase of Benedum’s makeover, which began as part of Pitt’s 12-year Facilities Plan. It will focus on floors 9 through 12, as well as on the basement and subbasement.

The project will upgrade laboratories and classrooms, as well as support facilities such as conference rooms, lobbies and offices.

“Our undergraduate and graduate student population continues to grow in quality and quantity, and these projects will help us compete for the best engineering students,” Holder says. “In addition, our new and renovated lab spaces are helping us attract the best faculty candidates to Pittsburgh.”

In addition to the work on Benedum Hall, Pitt will upgrade about 900 feet of steam distribution lines between the corners of Terrace and Lothrop streets and DeSoto and O’Hara streets. The upgrade will aide steam flow from the Carrillo Street Steam Plant on Pitt’s upper campus and further ease campus growth in the future.  

The renovations are scheduled to be completed by 2015.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Gerald Holder

ACTION-Housing completes Passive House-certified home in Heidelberg

A single-family home in Heidelberg developed by ACTION-Housing has been certified as Western Pennsylvania’s first “Passive House.”

The energy-efficient home, which was completed in October of 2012, uses 80 percent less energy than a standard single-family home and is only the 45th house in the United States to receive the designation.

“Passive House thinking is pretty simplistic,” says Linda Metropulos, ACTION’s senior housing development officer. “It’s about performance. We were concerned about meeting this very low number to heat and cool the building.”

Built without a furnace or any duct work, the Heidelberg Passive House uses its super-insulated envelope, 18-inch-thick walls and triple-glazed windows designed to maximize the value of passive solar heat gain in the winter, but not in the summer. Because the building is nearly airtight, a ventilation system which operates around the clock continuously brings in fresh air which can be heated and cooled.

It was designed by Thoughtful Balance Architects and built by TBI Contractors.

“What we were able to do was spend a lot of money on the envelope and no money on mechanical equipment,” says Metropulos. “ACTION-Housing has understood for a long time the connection between affordability and energy costs. It’s something we’ve been working on for years and this felt like an extension on those efforts.”

Metropulos says that ACTION has plans for three more passive buildings in the area, including facilities in McKeesport, Hazelwood and Uptown.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Linda Metropulos

Mon Wharf Switchback ramp meets funding goal

When Riverlife announced two weeks ago that it was launching an internet crowdfunding campaign to raise the last $4,454 needed to fund the Mon Wharf Switchback, it allowed a window of 60 days to raise the money.

“We blew through the goal in about 24 hours,” says Riverlife’s Stephan Bontrager. “This is one of those stories that shows how enthusiastic the Pittsburgh community can be.”

Redeveloped a few years ago, the Mon Wharf Landing still lacks a direct connection to Point State Park. The Mon Wharf Switchback will connect the Great Allegheny Passage and the Smithfield Street Bridge to Point State Park through the Mon Wharf Landing, creating access across a 40-foot elevation difference where there hasn’t been for generations.

With the initial funding goal met so quickly, Bontrager says that money raised above the initial goal will go toward improving trail signage in the area, making it easy for cyclists and pedestrians to identify the entrances and paths to the switchback. Riverlife refers to the project as “shovel-ready.”

“There’s a lot of site prep that’s going on. All of the engineering and permit design has been completed. We’re moving forward as quickly as humanly possible,” Bontrager says.

Riverlife hopes to have the Mon Wharf Switchback completed in time for the 2014 outdoor recreation season.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Stephan Bontrager

Eat + Drink: Roundabout Brewery, Social at Bakery Square and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly exploration of new offerings in local gastronomy.

A new brewery in Lawrenceville
Roundabout Brewery, Pittsburgh’s newest creator of small-batch craft beers, will open its doors for the first time on Friday.

The brainchild of Steve and Dyana Sloan, Roundabout occupies the space at 4901 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, formerly a welding studio and tire store.

Steve, who holds a master’s degree in chemistry and has worked at more than a dozen breweries in the United States and Germany, was most recently the brewery manager at the Church Brew Works in Bloomfield.

His initial offerings will include Black Possum (a dark steam beer), Hy-PA (an IPA-pale hybrid session ale), Ferdl Weiss (a traditional German-style wheat beer), Ginga Wheat (an American-style wheat beer flavored with ginger, lemon and local honey) and The Commoner (a mild ale made from New Zealand hops, German malt and American yeast).

Sloan said that at first, Roundabout will only offer growlers of its craft beers, but that he soon hopes to expand the space to include a tasting area with seating.

Though the Sloans have been working entirely by themselves the last five months to finish the space, Steve said that he’s had a lot of help from other local craft breweries, such as the East End Brewery and the Arsenal Cider House, which have loaned him equipment.

“I couldn’t have done it without them,” Sloan says.

Roundabout will hold its soft opening Friday and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Social brings gourmet pizza and beer to Bakery Square
Bakery Square will get its first sit-down restaurant and bar when Social, a new venture from Walnut Capital, opens Monday.

Social will offer a wide array of salads, appetizers and sandwiches, and will specialize in a variety of gourmet pizzas.

“We’re taking bar food to the next level,” says Edana Muldoon, Social’s general manager. “We’re trying to make it as much of a scratch kitchen as possible.”

Social’s bar will feature 32 taps and a selection of 28 more beers, and Muldoon says she hopes the restaurant can be a both a lunch and happy hour destination for employees and patrons in Bakery Square.

“There are about 1,000 employees here,” Muldoon says. “We went to offer them another alternative, and we want to offer them some alcohol."

In addition to its indoor space, Social will have an outdoor seating capacity of about 50 people.

Paris 66 to hold Bastille Day celebrations
East Liberty French bistro Paris 66 will celebrate Bastille Day with 12 full hours of food and festivities on Sunday.

In addition to its normal Sunday brunch service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a prix fixe dinner menu from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., the bistro will host an outdoor, all-you-can-eat buffet featuring mussels, frites and crepes from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

From 4 p.m. until 9 p.m., the outdoor area will be converted into a 1920s-style Parisian soiree, complete with music and dancing.

In addition to commemorating the 224th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the celebration will be the debut event for new Paris 66 chef Franck Lacaille.

While the outdoor activities will be open seating, reservations are recommended for both brunch and dinner.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Steve Sloan, Edana Muldoon

Eat + Drink: Skybar, Taverna 19, digging on vegan food

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly glance at the lastest happenings in the food scene in Pittsburgh.

A new bar on Carson Street? This one has a twist.

, a new rooftop bar and lounge space located at 1601 East Carson Street, opened last week.

The seventh venture from Adam DiSimone’s AMPD Group, Skybar boasts Pittsburgh’s first-ever rooftop bar and swimming pool, four private rentable cabanas, and food delivery from sister restaurant Local.

The rooftop pool is open during the bar’s daylight hours, and at night, is covered by a transparent platform, making it part of the lounge area.

Skybar is open to the public, but requires either a ticket or reservation on weekends. Ticket prices for varying degrees of access at Skybar range between $10 and $1,000. DeSimone says there won't be a cover on weekdays, but there's only one way to skip any possible lines.

"A membership guarantees you access any time you want," DeSimone says. 

Taverna 19 set for mid-July opening
Pittsburgh will get a monstrous addition to its outdoor dining scene next month when Taverna 19, a Greek restaurant and bar, opens at 108 19th Street in the Strip District.

Specializing in Greek and Mediterranean fare, the 20,000-square foot spot will feature belly dancers on Wednesday through Saturday evenings and a nightclub space on its upper level, bottle service in VIP areas and walls lined with flowers and herbs grown for use in house cocktails.

Taverna 19 will also offer brunch service on Saturday and Sunday.

Stroll the Strip offers a little bit of everything
From a food standpoint, Pittsburgh has no more eclectic neighborhood than the Strip District. Tomorrow night, the second annual Stroll the Strip event will turn the district into a neighborhood party, offering participants a chance to sample nearly all of it.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Stroll the Strip invites participants to wander between the event’s 20 host locations — from Wholey Seafood to the Society for Contemporary Craft — and experience all the Strip has to offer in food, drink and art. 

Participants may walk between locations or take advantage of the Pittsburgh Tour Company’s double-decker bus, which will be circulating around the area and stopping at various locations.

The evening will conclude with an after part at Cruze Bar. Tickets to Stroll the Strip are available through ShowClix for $45, or may be purchased at the door for $55.

Randita’s Grill brings vegan fare to Saxonburg and beyond
Last May, Randy Cinski started Randita’s Grill — a food truck specializing in vegan cuisine that popped up everywhere from Washington’s Landing to outlying towns such as Cranberry and Butler.  When a storefront came open in Saxonburg earlier this year, she jumped at the opportunity to establish a permanent location.

“People were asking us to open a restaurant,” Cinski says. “It’s been jumping ever since."

Randita’s Grill, located at 210 West Main Street in Saxonburg, offers lunch and dinner service on Tuesday and Thursday, and lunch exclusively the rest of the week.  When she’s not in the restaurant, Cinski is likely out with her truck, spreading the word that eating well and eating healthy are not mutually exclusive.

“I want to help people figure out how to eat healthy,” Cinski says, adding that her clientele ranges from strict vegans and organic food enthusiasts to people looking to make significant changes in their diets and lifestyles. “Sometimes, I don’t think people even realize what they’re eating is vegan,” she says.

Cinski points to BBQ seitan wraps, African peanut stew and vegan meatball sandwiches as being among her most popular items, and says that she uses local ingredients and materials wherever possible.

“That sometimes dictates my menu,” she says. “We try really hard to buy from local people, right down to our eco-friendly disposable materials.”
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Becky Rodgers, Randy Cinski, Adam DeSimone

California Markets help inject new life and businesses into Brighton Heights

Brighton Heights resident Stephanie Stauffer says she loves the bevy of creative retail spaces and restaurants which has sprung up in the East End the last few years, but doesn’t see why her home turf should be any different.

That’s why Stauffer, who was one of the founders of the Downtown pop up Burgheoisie Boutique, launched the California Markets, a series of open-air market events in Brighton Heights’ California Avenue business corridor.

Backed by the Brighton Heights Citizens’ Association and a grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the markets — which occur on the second Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — started in June and will run through September. They feature local food, crafts vendors and all manner of community engagement activities.

Next month’s event, which will take place on July 13, will feature a barbecue and brew off, allowing participants to pit their grilling skills or homemade beer against those of their neighbors with winners determined via public vote. The Style Truck will also make an appearance.

Stauffer says that not only are the markets exposing the North Side to a taste of the pop up culture that’s become so prevalent in the East End and Downtown, but they’re also helping to reestablish the Brighton Heights business district.
The California Avenue corridor’s storefronts, Stauffer says, were about 50 percent vacant until a few months ago. Now, she says, they have close to 80 percent occupancy.

“It’s not a coincidence that businesses are moving in with what we’re doing here,” Stauffer says. “It’s a chance for startup businesses to show what they have going on.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Stephanie Stauffer

Homewood getting a new 12,000 square-foot Renaissance Center

A new type of community facility will be at the center of an effort to revitalize North Homewood.

After plans to put a dollar store in the space at 7258 Frankstown Avenue fell through, Dollar Bank agreed to donate the building — valued at $2 million — for what the Homewood Renaissance Association is calling The Renaissance Center.

Among its features, the 12,000-square foot Renaissance Center will include classrooms, community space, a kitchen, a recording studio and other recreational amenities, in addition to housing the Homewood Renaissance Association’s new offices.

Apart from acting as a community center, the space will have 4,000-square feet dedicated to four retail storefront spaces. Businesses local to Homewood will occupy three of the spaces, and the fourth will act as a business incubator, according to Homewood Renaissance Association spokesperson Kelley Denny.

Collaborating with the association on the Renaissance Center are City MissionHosana IndustriesRebuilding Together Pittsburgh, along with backing from a myriad of local foundations and volunteer efforts.

On track to open in early 2014, the Renaissance Center is the prime initiative in a broader community revitalization campaign which will also see the construction of a youth home, the establishment of a transitional housing program for the homeless, the expansion of both a career skills training program for young men in Homewood and a daily after school program for children of all ages.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Kelley Denny

Eat + Drink: AVA moving to Oakland, Wigle Whiskey expands, Syrian cuisine in Squirrel Hill and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly dive into the world of local consumables.

AVA Bar & Lounge moving to Oakland
AVA Bar & Lounge, which announced last week that it would close its location on South Highland Avenue in East Liberty and seek a new space, will move to 304 North Craig Street in Oakland in August.

The new spot, formerly Luna Bar, will allow AVA to expand to two floors and offer a parking lot for its customers at the corner of Craig and Center Avenue.

"It's just a better market for us," says AVA owner Justin Strong. "It's where we started."

Strong says the space's second floor will host AVA's events, such as jazz and open mic nights. The first floor will be a bar and lounge area.

Strong has launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, seeking to raise $35,000 in the next four weeks to help cover AVA's moving costs make the transition to the new location as seamless as possible.

Naya brings Syrian cuisine to Squirrel Hill
Radwa Ibrahim, who formerly owned Middle Eastern restaurant Tyma’z in the North Hills, has moved her operation to 2018 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

Her new venture, Naya, offers Syrian-style home cooked food along with her versions of Middle Eastern favorites, such as falafel, babaganoush and stuffed grape leaves.

Ibrahim, who opened Naya earlier this month, said that many of her regular Tyma’z customers have already made the trek into the city to continue enjoying her cooking.

Wigle Whiskey expanding to the North Side
Wigle Whiskey, the Strip District-based distiller of local and organic spirits, has purchased a warehouse in the Spring Garden section of the North Side and will begin converting it into a barrelhouse.

“We were quickly running out of room, so we’ve been searching for a space for a while,” says Wigle’s Meredith Grelli. “The building fit all our needs and we love the neighborhood.”

The space, which occupies about 10,000 square feet at 1055 Spring Garden Avenue, is the former home of the Balestreire Produce Company. It will house Wigle’s barrels of aging spirits, its innovation lab and a state-of-the-art whiskey garden, thought to be the first of its kind in the country.

“We imagine it as this seasonal kind of space where we’d have community events and small concerts, and the garage would become kind of a bar area,” Grelli says.

Architectural firm Edge-studio will design the new space. Wigle has hired contractor Marty Marra to undertake the construction. Grelli says they hope to open the space in the summer of 2014.

North Side Sandwich Week kicks off
Thirteen locally owned and independent restaurants are taking part in the second annual North Side Sandwich Week, which started yesterday and will run throgh June 23.

Elks Lodge #339 will host a sold-out sandwich sampler event tomorrow evening, at which attendees and celebrity judges will crown a new sandwich king or queen.

Each participating restaurant will hang a Sandwich Week banner, and customers can use their smartphones to scan QR codes in order to vote for their favorite sandwiches.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Justin Strong, Radwa Ibrahim, Meredith Grelli

South Side organization seeks to redevelop former Duquesne Brewery

The Brew House Association, a non-profit arts organization headquartered in the old Duquesne Brewery at 2100 Mary Street on the South Side, is looking for partners to assist in redeveloping the 114-year-old building.

The association, which provides housing and studio space to visiting artists, has owned the 104,000-square foot space since 2001 and occupied it since 1991, has hired South Side-based development consulting firm Civic Square to find development partners.

“The Brew House Association is seeking partners to to help tap the building’s potential and strengthen its organization,” says Civic Square’s Rick Belloli. “It will be a challenging but rewarding project to work on.”

Belloli speculates that the ultimate plan may involve a mix of ground-level retail space and office space on higher floors.

Civic Square and the Brew House Association will host a walking tour of the space for prospective investors on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and interested parties should e-mail Civil Square to RSVP.

The Duquesne Brewing Company opened the original building in 1899, and expanded the facility in 1950. In 1961, it purchased the now iconic giant clock and moved it from its location on Mount Washington to the top of its new facility, facing the Monongahela River.

Though the original Duquesne Brewing Company folded in 1972, the Duquesne Beer brand was resurrected in 2010.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Rick Belloli

Lot 24 luxury apartments open in the Strip District

A brand new 96-unit luxury apartment building in the Strip Distrct held its grand opening last Thursday.

Lot 24
, located at 2404 Railroad Street, is the second joint venture from McCaffery Interests, Chuck Hammel and Bob Beynon, who renovated and opened the Cork Factory Lofts in 2005. MI-Home, a McCaffery subsidiary, will manage the building.

“This was a different type of situation because with the Cork Factory, it was an existing building. Lot 24 is entirely new.” says McCaffery’s Pamela Austin, adding that its red brick and corrugated metal exterior serve to create an industrial feeling that compliments the neighboring Cork Factory and blends in well with the aesthetic of the Strip District.

Antunovich Associates of Chicago designed the building, and California-based hospitality designer Intra-Spec fashioned the interior. Pittsburgh-based contractor Massaro Corporation completed construction on the building in December 2012, and it was fully leased within six months.

Lot 24 offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in a variety of sizes and floor plans, and its amenities include a swimming pool, a spa, concierge service, a fitness center, a club room and building-wide WiFi.

Austin says that while the Cork Factory drew a diverse crowd of people, from young professionals to downsizing empty-nesters looking to downsize, Lot 24 is designed to skew young.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Pamela Austin

Duquesne residence hall earns Gold LEED certification

Duquesne University’s Des Places Hall, which opened in the fall of 2012, has been awarded Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In doing so, it becomes the first Duquesne University building to earn such status.

WTW Architects designed the $38 million, all-suite dorm, which houses about 400 juniors, seniors and graduate students, and uses nearly 22 percent less energy than a standard dormitory.

“We’re committed at the university to have any new construction to be LEED certified,” says Rod Dobish, Duquesne’s executive director of facilities management.

Among its energy-saving mechanisms, Des Places (pronounced "déh plah") Hall utilizes carpet, ceiling tiles and ceramic tiles made from recycled materials. A five-kilowatt, roof-top solar panel accounts for about 1 percent of the building’s energy. Additionally, the dorm's elevators are equipped with regenerative drives that generate electricity as they brake.

Des Places is also designed to save large amounts of water, and to that end, includes drought-tolerant landscaping and water refilling stations with water fountains on every floor.

“Students, instead of using bottled water, can fill up containers on each floor. At some point, we’d like to start a competition to see who can have the most energy,” Dobish says. “We’re not just delighted, but the students who live there have given it glowing reviews.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Rod Dobish

Eat + Drink: TAPPED pop up beer garden, pop up dinners and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly look at seasonal deliciousness.

TAPPED pop up beer gardens return for second year
TAPPED, the pop up beer garden project from Epic Development that launched last summer, will return this year with three installments. "Each one is going to take on its own kind of persona," Epic Development's Michael McAllister says.

The first TAPPED event will take place in East Liberty on June 22, and is designed to be a celebration of that neighborhood's revitalization."All of us are passionate about the area and excited about the trajectory of East Liberty," McAllister says.

Joining last year's participants Full Pint Brewing and Bar Marco will be Table Magazine and Braddock's The Brew Gentlemen. A host of food trucks will also be on hand, including FranktuaryBRGR, the PGH Taco TruckThe Pierogi Truck and Lomito, a new venture from the owners of Fukuda.

July's TAPPED event will take place Downtown and highlight the area's arts and culture scene."We will have some fun little twists we're going to keep under wraps until a couple weeks before," McAllister says.

The August event will occur in Upper Lawrenceville and feature local bands and DJs. "It'll be a really fun cap to the summer season," McAllister says.

Pittsburgh Public Market to host monthly Around the World pop up dinners
Chef Mya Zeronis
 will prepare and host the first in a series of Around the World Pop Up Dinners on Friday, August 9 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Public Market. The evening, which will open with Zeronis teaching guests quick lessons on how to make fresh juices, vegetable summer rolls and homemade pickles, will conclude with a vegan-friendly five-course meal.

Zeronis, who sells some of her prepared foods at Lean Chef En Route in the public market, says that she’s always enjoyed pop up dinners. “Even if I were to own a restaurant, I’d want to do this monthly,” she says.

Tickets for the dinner are $35 and available through the Pittsburgh Public Market.

Former Eleven pastry chef starts anew as a chocolatier
Pastry chef Shelby Ortz, who previously spent six years in kitchens at Big Burrito establishments Soba and Eleven, has struck out on her own and started Lux Artisan Chocolates.

Her confections consist of four different bars, including a black fig and pistachio bar, and 12 kinds of bon bons, all with fillings made from scratch — her favorite contains almond, cherry, coconut and caramel.

For Ortz, it’s a career change that arose out of necessity. After she and her husband, also a chef, had a baby last year, Ortz needed to cut her schedule down from the 50-plus hours a week she’d been working.

Lux Artisan Chocolates are available at Mon Amiee Chocolat in the Strip District, Bryant Street Market in Highland Park and Feast on Brilliant in Aspinwall.

Marty's Market expands hours
Marty’s Market in the Strip District has expanded its hours and introduced breakfast service. On weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., the market’s cafe will offer breakfast sandwiches, brioche French toast and gluten-free sweet polenta among other offerings. The market itself is has extended its weekday service by two hours and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m..

Burger 21 coming to Pittsburgh in 2014
Burger 21, a gourmet burger franchise from the owners of The Melting Pot, will expand into Pennsylvania next year with a restaurant in Cranberry. Chad Brooks, owner of eight Qdoba restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, will operate the franchise.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Michael McAllister, Mya Zeronis, Shelby Ortz

Two Project Pop Up tenants ink long-term leases

Last week, two Project Pop Up: Downtown retailers signed long-term leases, shedding their temporary statuses and becoming permanent neighborhood fixtures.

Dream Cream Ice Cream, located at 539 Liberty Avenue, and Boutique 208, located at 208 6th Street, each signed multi-year leases with Stabile and Associates.

Additionally, Awesome Books, which also started as a Pop Up installation at 929 Liberty Avenue, has been sold and renamed Amazing Books.

Together, they mark the first instances of temporary Pop Up ventures leading directly to sustainable local businesses.

“We are very pleased that this program continues to have an impact on Downtown,” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “It’s certainly playing a role in reshaping people’s ideas about Downtown.”

At Dream Cream, volunteers work a certain number of hours in the store in exchange for a portion of its proceeds going toward funding their dreams, which have included paying down debt and visiting family abroad.

Boutique 208 offers hand-crafted jewelry, art, needlecraft and repurposed furniture from more than 60 local artisans.

Since buying Amazing Books, Eric Ackland has doubled the store’s inventory and begun selling books at the Market Square Farmer’s Market every Thursday.

When it launched in November of 2011, Project Pop Up included 11 retail spaces, performance venues and installation art exhibits. Of the original 11, five remain in various forms.

Waldrup says that despite a tight real estate market, adding another round of Pop Up installations is something the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is pursuing.

“It’s definitely something we’re working on,” Waldrup says. “If there’s enough space, we’ll certainly do it.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeremy Waldrup

The Hardware Store brings a new cooperative, entrepreneurial space to South Pittsburgh

For a startup company or freelance media producer, office space can be an unaffordable luxury.

That’s why Josh Lucas, the founder of internet crowd-funding startup Crowdasaurus, had been looking to open a shared office space on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

“It’s hard to run your company in a Google Hangout,” Lucas says, referring to Google's free videoconferecing tool.  

With help from with Mount Washington Community Development Corporation and developer RE 360, he found that space at 744 East Warrington Avenue in Allentown.

Dubbed The Hardware Store, the co-working office space is designed for entrepreneurs and freelance media producers to have access to fundamental, day-to-day business needs. Among its facilities, The Hardware Store will feature 30 desks, 20 glass markerboards, a podcasting studio, a full audio production suite and a 20-foot green screen.

Having access to the space and tools to create a product is only part of The Hardware Store’s appeal, says Lucas. “The benefit to a small company occupying this space is that they get to interact with the collaborative network of people coming through the doors. We’re using our network of entrepreneurs to get the space rolling.”

Anyone may apply to rent a desk in the space on a month-to-month basis, which includes access to all of The Hardware Store’s facilities. Day rates are also available for smaller project work.

The Hardware Store will be ready for tenants to begin occupying the shared space by July 1.

For more information on The Hardware Store, contact Crowdasaurus.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Josh Lucas

VIA Pittsburgh venue 6119 seeks new space

6119, the multi-purpose event space which serves as the hub for the VIA media collective and hosts the annual VIA Music & New Media Festival will leave its current space at the end of June and is searching for new space.

Despite spending just a year in the space at 6119 Penn Avenue, VIA has hosted more than 200 artists across a plethora of mediums and gained international renown for combining concepts of art galleries, clubs, music venues and technology studios into a single space.

VIA, which launched with the aid of a Seed Award from The Sprout Fund in 2010, is already searching for a new home, but doesn't want to go far, according to Co-Director Lauren Goshinski.

“Ideally, we’d like to be in the East End, Lawrenceville, Garfield or East Liberty,” Goshinski says.

That could be a tall order. VIA will require at least 7,000 square feet of space and help from investors if it is to relocate.

“To do it properly,” Goshinski says, “we need to go bigger.”

VIA is asking its supporters it to take a six-question survey and sign a petition stating their support for VIA’s mission.

“We’d love to get as many people as possible to sign,” Goshinski says. “At the end of the day, it’s not about 6119. It’s about asking people if they want this kind of venue.”

The final three events at 6119 will go on as planned, culminating with a closing party on June 28. VIA still intends to host its annual festival in October, which it usually does at an alternative space.

“What we’ve done at 6119 has brought a lot of great attention to Pittsburgh,” Goshinski says. “It’s not just a venue and a club. I really think that Pittsburgh could become known for something like that, and we’d like to give that to Pittsburgh.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Lauren Goshinski
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