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Urban Redevelopment Authority connects the dots and the dollars

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's name and logo can be found on signs throughout the city announcing change. New housing in the Hill District, new brownfield site redevelopment on both sides of the Monongahela River, new luxury condos and outdoor green space Downtown, new mixed-use development of the North Side's former porn theater, and more.

But these kinds of change take time.

On Friday, the URA--the city's economic development agency--connected the dots around Pittsburgh with a tour showcasing millions of dollars worth of investments in various stages--from the $5 million Market Square makeover, which got under way this summer; to the $20 million Federal Hill Homes on the North Side, all of which presold before completion; to the nearly $40 million August Wilson Center, which held its grand opening gala in September and will be open to the community on Oct. 28.

"With the G-20, we saw Pittsburgh on steroids," said Rob Stephany, executive director of the URA. "This is about putting all the projects into context, and juxtaposing that Pittsburgh with more of the boutique qualities of development."

The tour focused on Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods, including the North Side and the South Side, which is home to Soffer Organization's 123-acre SouthSide Works (total cost to date: about $450 million). Special attention was paid, too, to Uptown and the Hill District, which have become increasingly key in Downtown redevelopment with the construction of the Consol Energy Center.

The URA may have led the tour, but was careful not to take full credit for projects' successes. Speakers included Ralph Falbo, of the 82-unit, $28 million 151 First Side condos Downtown, and Scott Pollock with Oxford Development Company, which is behind Three PNC Plaza. Projected to be one of the nation's largest LEED-certified mixed-use buildings, the 25-story space will house, among other offices and amenities, Pittsburgh's first four-star hotel, the Fairmont Hotel, in March 2010.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Dave Thomas and Rob Stephany, URA; Ralph Falbo, Falbo, Inc.; Scott Pollock, Oxford Development Company

Image of Federal Hill Homes courtesy of URA

Philadelphia Brewing Co. joins Pittsburgh craft beer scene

One of Philadelphia's most prized craft breweries is setting up shop in Pittsburgh.

The Philadelphia Brewing Co. established its one-man operation on this side of the state in September, in a 500-square-foot warehouse space at 2120 Jane St., in the former home of Duquesne Brewing Co. on the South Side.

The brewery launched in 2007 in the wake of a split with the Yards Brewing partners. In this short time, P.B.C.'s flagship Kenzinger ale, named after Philly's Kensington neighborhood where it's brewed, has become one of the most popular craft beers in Philadelphia, and P.B.C. can be found in at least 100 bars around the city.

Does this mean P.B.C. will be challenging East End Brewing Company and the Church Brew Works for the title of Pittsburgh's favorite local microbrew?

Not quite.

There won't be brewing happening (yet... perhaps) on this side of the state, says Matt Nienhuis, who's behind P.B.C.'s Pittsburgh division. That's still exclusive to P.B.C.'s North Philly brewery. But this expansion does mean Pittsburgh's got another option for craft beer. P.B.C. is the only brewery in Pennsylvania to self-distribute its product to retail beer distributors, restaurants, bars and delis, so before P.B.C. had a man stationed locally, the closest P.B.C. option was a one-off in Chambersburg, with almost all of the distribution limited to Philadelphia and its outliers, as well as a few spots in Jersey.

"It's pretty unorthodox for a brewery of our size, or any brewery, to self-distribute, but a good way to get to know our customers and keep our prices low," says Nienhuis, who who's single-handedly responsible for P.B.C. sales, promotion and delivery in Pittsburgh.

So what inspired P.B.C.'s growth to the Pittsburgh market? Nienhuis, a longtime employee at P.B.C. and Yards before it, moved to Pittsburgh (Highland Park, in particular) in August with his wife, who started a job teaching at the new Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy in Oakland. Nienhuis, who grew up in Chicago, finds Pittsburgh "nice," and without the "East Coast roughness" he experienced in Philadelphia.

P.B.C. is now available on draft at Peter's Pub in Oakland and Kelly's Bar & Lounge in East Liberty, as well as about a dozen beer distributors throughout the city and suburbs.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Matt Nienhuis, Philadelphia Brewing Co.

Photograph courtesy of Philadelphia Brewing Co.

URA seeks RFPs for final four parcels of Pittsburgh Technology Center

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Pittsburgh announced last week it is formally seeking requests for proposals to develop the final four sites of the Pittsburgh Technology Center.

The four built-to-suit parcels, which are cleared and ready for building, range in size from nearly three-quarters of an acre to just over an acre-and-a-half.

"These four sites are the last remaining parcels east of the Hot Metal Bridge," says Megan Stearman with the URA. "They're the final pieces of this development site. Getting it fully built means more tax revenue for the city, more jobs and more opportunity to advance the technology industry that is transforming Pittsburgh."

The Technology Center is located along the Monongahela riverfront in Hazelwood, just down the hill from Oakland's universities and hospitals, across the Hot Metal Bridge from the South Side, and a short distance from Downtown. The office park includes a 723-space parking garage and access to public transportation.

Over the past 12 years, seven buildings totaling almost 700,000 square-feet have been developed at the Technology Center, and are fully leased at this time. The 48-acre Technology Center, which was built on property formerly used as a steel mill site, now hosts regional technology leaders including the University of Pittsburgh Center of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, Ansaldo STS USA (formerly known as Union Switch & Signal), Thermo Fisher Scientific, and the Sunoco Polypropylene Research and Development Center.

The Technology Center is a nationally recognized example of brownfield reclamation, and the first project in Pennsylvania to use tax increment financing. The site currently generates more than $1 million in annual local tax revenues.

The asking price for the land will start at $570,000. The URA will be accepting proposals on a rolling deadline.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Megan Stearman, Urban Redevelopment Authority

Image courtesy of Urban Redevelopment Authority

Dozen grants South Side wish: Sweet treats along Carson Street

South Side residents will now have a spot to hit up when their sweet teeth ring.

The neighborhood, which has been without a bakery, is the latest area to get a Dozen Bake Shop of its very own.

"We're always asking residents what they'd like to see come to the South Side, and the first thing they always say is a bakery," says Jennifer Strang with South Side Local Development Company. "We have lots of little coffee shops, but no one producing their own treats. Dozen will be a welcome addition."

Dozen, which opened its first shop almost four years ago, also has locations in Squirrel Hill, Lawrenceville, Downtown's Cultural District and in the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Side. It will be opening its fifth location in early November at 1509 E. Carson St., which has been vacant for the last several years.

The cozy South Side storefront is near Amazing Yoga, the Carson Street Deli and E House, which sells natural household products, recycled accessories and gifts, and other eco-friendly items. Dozen's new shop is located directly adjacent to the Beneficial Building, which has been undergoing a $4 million renovation over the last five years. The Beneficial Building won an Historic Preservation Award this year from the City of Pittsburgh and the Historic Review Commission, and will soon be home to the South Side Local Development Company, which is planning a late fall/early winter move.

Dozen's South Side shop will offer similar goodies to its Downtown location (brunch is still a Lawrenceville-only treat), and seating in the 555-square-foot space will be limited.

Dozen now has about 25 employees across the city, says Andew Twigg, who owns Dozen with James Gray

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Jennifer Strang, South Side Local Development Company; Andrew Twigg, Dozen

Photograph copyright Brian Cohen

StepTrek highlights historic, still-used South Side Slopes amenity

Pittsburgh's unique topography has made us famous for our bridges. But bridges are not the terrain's only byproduct. It's also created a vast, and largely overlooked, system of public steps that snakes up and down our hillsides, connecting neighborhoods to one another and pedestrians to the places we most want and need to go.

Like most of Pittsburgh's heritage, the steps have roots in the steel industry (workers would use them to navigate between home and the mills). But today, the steps continue to be important as both an historical landmark and as a practical way to walk around.

Pittsburgh has 712 sets of steps, more than any other city in the country--as many as both runners-up Cincinnati and San Francisco combined. Almost 70 of our city's neighborhoods have these steps, and the South Side Slopes is home to nearly 10 percent of Pittsburgh's steps--that's about 5,447 stairs (totaling 2,995 vertical feet) that intertwine with the streets and sidewalks of the neighborhood that rises above Carson Street.

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) is holding its StepTrek event on Sun., Oct 4. The tour is self-guided (participants are provided with maps), with suggested stops at about 15 area open houses, and concludes with eats, drinks and live music.

StepTrek, which has been held annually since 2000, has a twofold purpose--expose the world to the South Side Slopes' prized amenity (participants have registered from as far as Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C.), and get the steps the tender, loving care they need. Each year, the StepTrek route changes, because each year, the neighborhood association submits the route to Public Works for repairs.

"They trim the grass and the bushes, and fix the trails and the railings that have rusted. StepTrek is fun, but also productive," says Joe Balaban with SSSNA, which addresses the step's higher-risk maintenance issues as they arise throughout the year.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Joa Balaban, South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association

Photography courtesy of South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association

PNC completes Downtown park, largest living wall in North America

PNC has completed the creation of two of Downtown's newest green spaces--PNC Triangle Park and a living wall, which is the largest in North America.

The 8,000-square-foot Triangle Park, designed by South Side-based LaQuatra Bonci Associates, is located at Liberty and Fifth Avenues adjacent to the new Three PNC Plaza. The pet-friendly park includes bench seating as well as a new bus shelter.

The living wall, located one block from the park, is not only the largest on the continent--it is also the largest soil-based living wall in the world (bigger walls are hydroponic). The 2,380-square-foot vertical garden stretches six stories tall on the south-facing side of One PNC Plaza. The wall reduces traffic noise, impacts stormwater runoff, purifies the air and is visually appealing, says Gary Saulson with PNC. A street-level, 2-by-2-foot green wall educates passersby about the larger, overhead installation.

The wall is a product of Green Living Technologies of Rochester, N.Y. and designed by Mingo Design of New York. PNC acquired all hardware, plants, materials and installers within a 500 mile radius of Pittsburgh.

"Having the largest living wall in North America is another thing that puts the city of Pittsburgh on the map," says Saulson. "Visitors who are expecting a dirty, smoky city are instead going to be surprised by Pittsburgh's beauty and innovation."

PNC has 66 LEED-certified buildings, more than any other company in the world. The company is nearing completion of the 750,000-square-foot, 23-story Three PNC Plaza, which is expected to be one of the nation's largest green mixed-use buildings. It will house the offices of PNC and law firm Reed Smith, as well as a LEED-certified Fairmont Hotel, luxury condominiums, retail space and an underground parking garage.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Gary Saulson, director of corporate real estate, PNC

Photograph copyright Brian Cohen

Overrun South Side Park to get reclaimed, revitalized

For years, the 65-acre South Side Park has been little-known by residents in the surrounding South Side Flats, South Side Slopes and Arlington neighborhoods. It's become overgrown with invasive species, and its fields, trails, playground and former ice arena have gone all but unused.

To identify the steps needed to reclaim and revitalize the park into a usable greenspace, the South Side Local Development Company (SSLDC) commissioned a study through the environmental engineering firm Skelly & Loy in December 2008.

On Sat., Sept. 12, SSLDC, in partnership with the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, is hosting the first-ever event in the six-year, half-million dollar Reclaim and Revitalize South Side Park plan--a volunteer-staffed effort to remove invasive plant species that endanger the vitality of plants and wildlife native to the park.

"The majority of the neighborhood and the city is totally unaware that this park is here," says Judy Dyda with SSLDC. "The dual purpose of the event is to begin the process of reclaiming the park, and also to introduce people to the fact that there is this phenomenal greenspace in their backyard, and that with some love and attention, it can be a tremendous neighborhood asset that improves their quality of life and also increases property values."

Saturday's event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., meets at Bandi Schaum Field, off Mission Street, which is off of 18th Street.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Judy Dyda, manager of community planning/Elm Street manager, SSLDC

Photograph courtesy South Side Local Development Company

Rivas Nicaraguan restaurant relocates to South Side

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

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

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

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

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

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Izayana and Angela Rivas

Photo copyright Caralyn Green

Pitt Leases 150,000 sf in Tech Center

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has signed a 10-year lease on a new building construction at the Pittsburgh Technology Center.

Construction on the Bridgeside Point II building began in January, and will be complete in September, in time for Pitt's lease to begin Oct. 1. Downtown-based Strada designed the five-story, 160,000-square-foot building, and Turner Construction is serving as general contractor.

Pitt will be the building's only tenant, occupying 144,265 square-feet of research laboratory and office space, as well as 349 parking spaces at an annual cost of $8.14 million.

Michael D'Amico and Jeff Schultz with Grubb & Ellis represented the developer, the Cleveland-based Ferchill Group.

The Technology Center is an office park located on a former steel mill site on Second Avenue, across the Hot Metal Bridge from Soffer Development's SouthSide Works. New development continues in the park, say D'Amico and Schultz, based both on its "convenient location" and on "the strength of the surrounding universities and hospitals."

The space will be used for the School of Medicine research projects affiliated with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

This lease was part of University of Pittsburgh's recent announcement of $70 million in building projects, which includes the $32.38 million expansion and renovation of the Chevron Science Center, the $2.1 million purchase of the Concordia Club and the $27.79 million development of an Olympic Sports Complex. The construction and renovation projects are expected to generate 484 construction-related jobs and four full-time, permanent Pitt facilities maintainer positions.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Michael D'Amico and Jeff Schultz, Grubb & Ellis, and John Fedele, University of Pittsburgh

Photo courtesy Grubb & Ellis

Construction begins on $12M South Shore Riverfront Park

Construction began Tuesday on the $12 million South Shore Riverfront Park within the $400 million SouthSide Works development.

The public park is being built on the former LTV steel site, adjacent to the SouthSide Works between 25th and 29th Streets along the Monongahela River. It will be accessible by car, bus, foot, bike or boat to those who live, work and play at or around the SouthSide Works. The development's Town Square currently features a Golden Triangle Bike Rental spot, and the park will increase recreational access to the river by including a permanent docking facility to accommodate 17 boats.

"The park opens up this section of the river to public access for the first time in a century," says Rick Belloli with South Side Local Development Company. "This green space was always a part of the SouthSide Works' master plan, and the community has been so supportive, active and engaged in making sure the park provides world-class amenities for the whole city."

The project will include interpretive signage developed and funded in part by Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, which will be maintained by Friends of the Riverfront. Historic trail markers throughout the park will continue the Three Rivers Heritage Trail system and Great Allegheny Passage. At completion, the park will connect to the Hot Metal Pedestrian Bridge and the South Side bike trail.

The park will also feature an amphitheatre, fountains, benches and proximity to the SouthSide Works' shops and restaurants, including Hofbräuhaus beer hall, which opened this spring and includes riverfront outdoor seating.

Downtown-based Environmental Planning and Design provided architectural services, and A. Liberoni, Inc. is serving as general contractor.

Developed by the Soffer Organization, the 34-acre SouthSide Works has created more than 2,000 jobs. At full build-out, it will provide about 5,600 jobs and more than 400 housing units.

Completion of the South Shore Riverfront Park is anticipated for 2012. Other existing South Side parks include South Side Riverfront Park, the 65-acre South Side Park and various playgrounds and recreational fields.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Rick Belloli, executive director, South Side Local Development Company; Megan Stearman, public information officer, URA

Image courtesy Urban Redevelopment Authority

$5M Market Square makeover expected to break ground in August

Downtown Pittsburgh's historic Market Square is just about ready to start its renovations.

Last week, the Urban Redevelopment Authority awarded a $4.1 million contract to A. Merante Contracting for new roadways, street and site lighting, grading, landscaping, irrigation, vehicular and pedestrian traffic control, and other utility work.

Construction is scheduled to begin August 1. To minimize obstructions, work will be done by quadrant, and is not expected to block businesses.

The total project cost is around $5.1 million, which includes engineering and design as well as some funds for programming once the square is complete in 2010. Funding comes from a combination of city, foundation and corporate support.

The square, which was most recently renovated in the 1980s, will be given a pedestrian-friendly, European piazza-like makeover, with traffic moved to the edges and sidewalks widened to 21 feet to encourage outdoor dining, says Mike Edwards with Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP). Tables, Elm trees and decorative stone surfaces will be featured, says Dina Klavon, with South Side-based Klavon Design Associates, Inc., which provided landscape architecture services. The new space will make cultural programming easier, Klavon says, as it can be divided by quadrant for smaller events like concerts, or can be shut down entirely for events such as St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

"Market Square was somewhat abandoned, and through the vision of the mayor, we realized that if we can fix Market Square, we can fix a lot of Downtown real estate issues," says Edwards of the PDP. "If you give people a pleasant place to sit and dine, and people watch and enjoy entertainment, they'll come."

Market Square is also the hub for several Downtown residential projects, including Three PNC Plaza and MarketSquare Place, as well as the Fairmont Hotel.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Mike Edwards, president and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership; Dina Klavon, Klavon Design Associates, Inc.

Image courtesy Carlos Peterson, Klavon Design

22-unit green townhouse residence breaks ground in Mt. Washington

Sweetbriar Village, Mt. Washington's latest environmentally responsible residential option, broke ground on Thursday.

The single and multi-family townhouses will be constructed by Pomo Development/Sweetbriar Street LLP on an abandoned site at 406 Sweetbriar St., last used 12 years ago for a grocery store.

Sweetbriar Village will feature 22 residences, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square-feet, and priced from $325,000 through the mid-$400,000s. Landscaping, by South Side's LaQuatra Bonci Associates, includes a central courtyard, picnic areas and a walkway leading to the nearby public park system.

Of Sweetbriar's 22 residences, two have already been sold, says Jeff Paul with Pomo Development and Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Squirrel Hill.

Paul says Pomo will use recycled and environmentally conscious materials, and is also located within walking distance of the Duquesne Incline, Grandview Avenue and the bus line.

Coldwell Banker, which is marketing the project, is also involved in Vista Grande, a Mt. Washington luxury residential building featuring 11 for-sale condos priced from the mid-$500,000s. One penthouse unit has been sold, and construction, which began in July 2008, is about 80-percent complete, says Paul.

Coldwell Banker is so invested in Mt. Washington, says Bill Dietrich with the real estate company, because "for every one person who wants to live Downtown, there are probably 20 who want to live close to Downtown. So much is happening close to the city, and Mt. Washington is right in the middle of it. We want to focus on bringing families with children back to the city, and we're doing that with Sweetbriar Village."

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Jeff Paul, sales associate, and Bill Dietrich, director of New Homes Division, Coldwell Banker Real Estate

Image courtesy Coldwell Banker

Green Building Alliance awarded first LEED Platinum certification in western Pa.

The Green Building Alliance has achieved the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification in western Pennsylvania from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

LEED Platinum is the highest rating given by USGBC for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

GBA is the first USGB chapter or affiliate nationally to achieve LEED certification for its offices, and was awarded 75 percent of the total points available under the LEED for Commercial Interiors program.

"It's a wonderful accomplishment, but on a more practical level, it's a great asset for our employees," says Holly Childs, GBA executive director. "It's a healthy, energy-efficient workspace, and most importantly, it gives us a teaching tool to showcase green building in the region."

GBA's 3,850-square-foot office, which was designed and constructed in 2008, is located in the South Side's River Walk Corporate Centre. Nearly all furnishings are reused, salvaged or refurbished, and new materials include those that are manufactured locally and rapidly renewable. The office also features bike racks as well as an on-site shower to encourage cycling to work.

"We're a nonprofit, so we worked hard to achieve what we did with limited means," says Aurora Sharrard with GBA. "We want to use the office as a demonstration tool for what anyone can do, from green construction to corporate practices such as using environmentally friendly cleaning products, recycling paper and bottles, and responsibly disposing of electronic equipment."

In western Pennsylvania, there are more than 55 LEED-certified projects, and another 130 projects that are registered as pursuing LEED certification.

The LEED plaque presentation will be held 3:30 p.m. Friday at GBA's offices.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Holly Childs, executive director, and Aurora Sharrard, Ph.D., research manager, Green Building Alliance

Image courtesy Green Building Alliance

Nearly $50K awarded to Garfield, Mt. Washington for residential revitalization

Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has authorized Garfield and Mt. Washington’s community development corporations to receive state-funded Elm Street grants.

Elm Street is the residential companion to the Mainstreets program, which focuses on neighborhood business district revitalization. Both are part of the Department of Community and Economic Development’s New Communities Program.

Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation was allocated $20,400 for use in Garfield, and Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation was allocated $25,000. Both neighborhoods were approved for their Planning Year, which does not guarantee full five-year funding. Within the upcoming year, the neighborhoods are expected to develop implementable goals and strategies for their proposed Elm Street districts, says Josette Fitzgibbons with the URA.

Elm Street’s other neighborhoods—East Liberty, North Side, South Side, Lawrenceville and Friendship—have used funding for a variety of projects, including residential façade grants, street trees, sidewalk repairs, trash cans, block watches, alleyway lighting and acquiring and demolishing problem properties.

“This part of Garfield has seen some new investments coming in around the fringes, but not in the heart,” says Richard Swartz with Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation. “We want to use the Elm Street program to get residents more optimistic about the future and investing in their communities.”

Greg Panza, with Mt. Washington CDC, says Elm Street funding will branch the Mt. Washington and Duquesne Heights districts, and also attract new property buyers once area senior citizens vacate their homes to move into the senior housing facility being built at the neighborhood’s former South Hills High School site.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Josette Fitzgibbons, Mainstreets/Elm Street coordinator, URA; Richard Swartz, executive director, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation; Greg Panza, program manager, Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation

Photograph copyright Brian Cohen

Bike rental shop, fashion boutique to open at SouthSide Works

SouthSide Works will be seeing some changes early this summer.

Golden Triangle Bike Rental, in its third year of operation along Downtown’s Eliza Furnace Trail, is opening a second location in the Works’ Town Square area; and women’s fashion boutique Via is opening in the former space of L.S. Altman men’s store, which closed in April.

“I’m in the business of selling the city and the trail system more than the business of renting bikes,” says Golden Triangle co-owner Tom Demagall. “From the SouthSide Works, it’s easy to do that.”

The rental spot, with quick access to the South Side Trail, will have about 20 brand-new bikes available, and is slated to open May 29.

Sharone Cohen, a partner in Via boutique, anticipates opening his 1,512 square-foot shop by June 1. Cohen, who emigrated from Israel a decade ago, previously operated Via in South Beach, Fla. for six years, and decided to relocate to Pittsburgh to be closer to family and friends. Cohen will feature American and European brands, and is planning a section that features local, young designers.

“We would like to promote the art of fashion design in Pittsburgh,” Cohen says.

SouthSide Works recently saw the opening of a new Schoolhouse Yoga location, as well as Hofbrauhaus beer garden. The site’s developer, Soffer Organization, is also planning to build 130 new apartments and a 760-car parking garage. Both projects are currently in design and should be started this year, according to Pamelyn McMahon with Soffer.

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Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Tom Demagall, Golden Triangle Bike Rental; Sharone Cohn, Via; Pamelyn McMahon, director of marketing; Soffer Organization

Image courtesy Soffer Organization
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