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Downtown & The Cultural District : Development News

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Eat and Drink: Butcher and Rye downtown and Gaucho Wood-fired Grill in the Strip District

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene
 
Having turned away dozens of potential patrons night after night, Meat & Potatoes owners have announced they will open a second location nearby, Butcher and Rye, this June across from Heinz Hall in the former Palate space.   
 
“Every time I walked by Palate, I thought it would be nice (to reopen the space),” says Tolga Sevdik, co-owner with Richard DeShantz of Meat & Potatoes on Penn Avenue. “It’s such a great location.”
 
The new restaurant will seat 85 and feature a menu similar to the popular gastro pub, with perhaps slightly smaller plates. Sticking with a winning formula, it will specialize in classic cocktails, bourbon and rye. The Meat and Potatoes sous chef will move over to the new location, which promises the same farm-to-table fare that has made Meat & Potatoes an award-winning favorite.

The bar will remain on the mezzanine level with some renovation to create a more appealing front entrance. Shantz and Sevdik also plan to open a third casual dining restaurant, Pork & Beans, in Lawrenceville later this year.
 
In more casual dining, Pittsburgh’s first Argentinian parrilla has opened, Gaucho Parrilla Argentina Wood-Fired Grill at 1607 Penn Ave. in the Strip District.
 
Chef and owner Anthony Falcon, a native of Brooklyn, NY, was previously the executive chef and food and beverage director at Southpointe Country Club. Falcon says the restaurant was inspired by his Argentinian father and uncle who took one look at the Strip District and said:
 
“You gotta open something down here. You’ll sell 100 chickens a day.”
 
Located in the former Big Mama’s, Falcon has created a cozy and casual stand-and-eat and take-out spot with a sizzling selection of hearty grilled dishes, steak and vegetable  sandwiches, sausages, chicken and fish.
 
The concept is working. Since opening two weeks ago, lines have been winding out the door with patrons drawn by the smoky flavors of the hickory wood-burning fire.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Tolga Sevdik, Butcher & Rye; Anthony Falcon, Gaucho

City to sponsor Edible Gardens throughout Pittsburgh, $100,000 Cities of Service grant

As urban gardening continues to gain momentum, the City of Pittsburgh is now sponsoring a targeted edible gardens program.

Part of Green Up Pittsburgh, Mayor Ravenstahl’s new Edible Gardens program seeks to transform vacant lots into food producing spaces that not only feed the community but beautify it too.

The funds will enable neighborhood volunteers to purchase materials for constructing raised beds, purchase tools, seeds, or even fruit trees and shrubs. The program is targeting 10 to 15 low-income neighborhoods where access to fresh produce is limited.

For several years the City has supported neighborhood organizations and allowed gardening on city-owned properties. Through Green Up Pittsburgh, more than 125 green spaces have been created, says mayoral spokesperson Joanna Doven. And existing garden groups can also apply for funding.

Edible Gardens is made possible by a $100,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The funds were awarded to support two of the administration’s servePGH initiatives.

The grant also funds a city “cool roofs” initiative, where city-owned buildings are topped with reflective white paint, keeping facilities cooler and offering savings on summer energy costs. 

Of 60 applicants, Pittsburgh is one of 19 cities to receive the Cities of Service grant. Partners in the project include Grow Pittsburgh and The Penn State Center.

Applications are required, and those received by February 22 will be given priority.  Applications will continue to be accepted throughout the growing season. The first gardens are scheduled for planting in March and April. 

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Joanna Doven

Eat + Drink: Nicky's Thai Kitchen, Sinful Sweets, Rose Tea Cafe, and The Grateful Deli

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.


Since our last update on Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, one of the Northside’s most popular restaurants, its second location has opened in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The interior is decorated with artwork and statues from Thailand, an atmosphere manager Dave Brunner says is like a Thai art gallery.  The space, originally built for a bank, had most recently housed a pizza shop and art gallery.

Unlike the original Northside location, the downtown restaurant will not be BYOB.  But while the full-service bar is still under development patrons are welcome to bring their own alcohol without any corkage fee.

The new restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week, as well as lunch Monday through Saturday.  Reservations are available for Friday, Saturday and Sunday dinner service.  903 Penn Avenue.  412-471-THAI (8424).

Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company has also recently opened in the space adjacent to Nicky’s, at 901 Penn Avenue.  Owned by chocolatier Christopher George, the shop sells a variety of handmade, gourmet chocolates.  Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  412-235-7865

- Rose Tea Café is opening a second location on Oakland’s Craig Street (414 S. Craig Street).  The original Squirrel Hill location (5874 Forbes Avenue) is well known for its Taiwanese cuisine, considered to be among the best in Pittsburgh.  The new location replaces a former mail store which closed last year.  412-421-2238.

- The Grateful Deli & Catering Company has opened at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Main Street, one block from the Children’s Hospital.  The deli offers hoagies, soup, salad, pizza, and more.  It replaces a portion of the former Sammy's Famous Corned Beef.  4065 Penn Avenue.  412-682-8000.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore

Bruno Works makes space in Downtown for tiny little startups

While new high-rises in Downtown Pittsburgh add more office space for bankers, lawyers, and CEO’s, other freelance professionals might still find it hard to acquire affordable desk space.  But Bruno Works, a new coworking space on Liberty Avenue, is hoping to change that.

Eve Picker has opened the new coworking space in her Bruno building at 945 Liberty Avenue, above the ToonSeum.  The facility consists of two floors of loft space, with desks, conference rooms, kitchen, private telephone rooms, and other amenities.

Picker says it’s an ideal space for “tiny little startups.”  There are currently 11 individuals in the shared office, with room for 40.

The reasons for joining a co-working space vary, but likely include the affordability of shared amenities.  And for folks who would otherwise work from home, it can offer a more normalized work routine.

Picker says some professionals are also looking for synergistic connections.  Those types of relationships are already being formed at Bruno Works, since an artist found work with a web designer just desks away.

And Bruno Works has its own synergy with another coworking space, East Liberty’s The Beauty Shoppe. They’re offering a shared flex-pass where one can have access to both facilities.

Other amenities at Bruno Works include a make station, mail boxes, high speed internet, as well as printing, faxing, copying and shredding.  Membership costs range from $300 for a dedicated desk, to just $50 for access to conference rooms.  And for $150 members will have an unassigned desk and 24/7 access to the building.

In addition to office space, Picker is launching the Community Creative School, a social programming series that’s focused on bringing Pittsburgh's design and creative community together.  The events will be free, and hosted at Bruno Works.

Although there are other facilities for startups in Pittsburgh, and coworking spaces like Beauty Shoppe, and Garfield’s Catapult, Bruno Works is the first of its kind in Downtown.


 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Eve Picker
Image Credit:  Bruno Works

How would you light The Point? Riverlights at Three Rivers Arts Festival

When the fountain at Point State Park reopens this summer it will have been four years since it was last open to the public.  And to mark the occasion on Friday, June 7th, Riverlife has asked local artists to design a lighting installation that will celebrate the park’s complete renovation.

The event, titled Riverlights at The Point, will coincide with the opening night of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, and will feature live music. 

A Request for Proposals for the lighting installation is available at Riverlife’s website.  Proposals should be submitted to the e-mail address provided on the RFP.  Proposals are due February, 15th, 2013.

Stephan Bontrager, of Riverlife, says that while his organization doesn’t want to box in creativity, the project does have a few specific goals.  In addition to emphasizing the fountain, the installation should “achieve a magical effect throughout the park,” creating spectacular displays for viewers from Mount Washington to the North Shore.

“And of course, if you’re in Point State Park that night you’ll be surrounded by light and water,” he says.

Additionally, Bontrager says proposals should balance elements of art and technology, representing Pittsburgh’s evolving identity.

 “When you take all of these different elements together, like an emphasis on technology, and outdoor recreation, and the artistic elements throughout the Three River Arts Festival,” Bontrager says, “all of those facets really represent the new Pittsburgh.”

The Riverlights event is sponsored by the Colcom Foundation, and is a partnership between the Three River Arts Festival, Riverlife, and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

And although June 7th will be the official opening of the renovated fountain, Bontrager notes that Point State Park’s other sections, such as riverfront promenades, lawns, and woodland areas have already opened to the public.
 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Stephan Bontrager

$350,000 Colcom Grant to fund PDP's Paris to Pittsburgh Facade Grant Program

Efforts to enliven Downtown Pittsburgh with Parisian-esque streetscapes have been renewed thanks to a recent grant from the Colcom Foundation.  The $350,000 award will further the Paris to Pittsburgh Façade Grant Program, a project of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP).

Launched in early 2008, the program provides a 50 percent matching grant of up to $30,000 to building and business owners for exterior façade renovations in the Golden Triangle. 

The original goal of the program was to evoke a “Parisian atmosphere” by activating outdoor and sidewalk dining at local restaurants.  In 2010, the program was expanded and now includes full building façade renovations. 

The PDP’s Geof Comings says the grant program has allowed owners to invest in their businesses in ways that for many would not be possible without the assistance.

“The program has allowed them to make significant improvements that benefit not just their business, but improve the quality of Downtown architecture for all to enjoy,” he says.

According to Comings, many buildings in the program are beautiful old structures that in past decades had suffered from poorly conceived façade alterations.  And while Paris to Pittsburgh is not a historic renovation program, in many cases the restorations do bring a building’s first floor back to an earlier aesthetic period.  

Comings says that until recently downtown was still an uncertain place to invest. 

"But now that things are just looking so good in downtown, and everyone is heading in this positive direction, people are putting more money into their buildings, and it shows," he says.

In the past five years more than 50 projects have been approved and 43 have been completed.  The total investment in completed projects totals $2,057,580,of which $749,852 is grant funded.  Remaining costs were funded through private investment.

Three projects expected to be completed in the coming year include Café Milano on Sixth Street, 901 Penn Avenue–home of the new Nicky’s Thai Kitchen and the soon-to-open Sinful Sweets chocolate shop, and a storefront at 604 Liberty Avenue.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Geof Comings

Eat + Drink: Inca Peruvian downtown; D.Jís Butcher Block; La Palapa Mexican Cuisine; and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.


•  AJ's Inca Peruvian Restaurant opened this week in Downtown Pittsburgh at 500 Liberty Avenue.  Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken is the star here, along with a variety of other Peruvian dishes.  The restaurant is located in the former Cuzamil space, just outside Market Square.  Open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.  412-642-6606.

•  In North Oakland, Legume has re-launched its adjoining bar space under the name Butterjoint.  The word refers to a type of brickwork masonry known for its simplicity and elegance.  Chef Trevett Hooper says it’s a metaphor for how food is prepared at Legume, and now at Butterjoint.

Hooper says the redesigned bar menu—with fare such as pierogies and burgers— now offers substantial meals at a lower price than in the restaurant.  He hopes it will allow Legume’s loyal customers to visit more frequently.  It’s the same quality meat and produce, he says, just with a more straightforward preparation.

The space itself has been reconfigured to provide a more comfortable dining experience.  A weekly variety show, featuring music, comedy, spoken word and magicians, is held on Tuesdays.  And bar manager Will Groves was brought on to revamp the beer and cocktail menu.  214 North Craig Street.  412.621.2700.

•  D.J.’s Butcher Block Specialty Sausage and Meats opened recently in Bloomfield, a small storefront shop offering fresh, cured, and smoked sausage, grass-fed beef, as well as local chicken and turkey.

For the past three years, owner/butcher D.J. Smulick, a former chef at Café Sam, has offered products at various farmers markets.  Smulick sources a majority of meats from local vendors, and seeks to offer high quality products that remain affordable. 

D.J’s also stocks a small selection of local cheese, eggs, pickles, mustards and jellies.  Smulick doesn’t want to become a grocery store, he says, rather he’s just offering a few products that complement the meats.  4623 Liberty Avenue.  412-621-3100.

Also in Bloomfield, multiple sushi restaurants have opened, including Ginza (412-688-7272), at 4734 Liberty Avenue.  And more recently, Fukuda Sushi, which is BYOB, opened in the former Stagioni storefront, at 4770 Liberty Avenue.  And on Sundays, Chef Matt Kemp offers an evening menu at East Liberty’s AVA Lounge.  412-377-0916.

•  La Palapa Mexican Cuisine is the latest food purveyor to join the growing list of vendors at the Strip District’s Pittsburgh Public Market.  Friday through Sunday La Palapa will offer a variety of tamales, quesadillas chilangas, chiles rellenos, frijoles charros, enchiladas, and desserts including flan.    412-992-7206.

Also in the Strip, the Thin Man Sandwich Shop is opening soon at 50 21st Street, in the former 21st Street Coffee and Tea location.  Owners and chefs Dan and Sherri Leiphart have previously worked at Isabela on Grandview, the former Le Pommier, and Lidia's Pittsburgh.  The Leipharts are aiming to bring their classically trained experience to a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. 

•  Wilkinsburg has been a dry borough for the past 80 years.  But now, the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) is pushing for a ballot referendum to allow liquor licenses in the community.  It’s cited as a tool for economic development, as alcohol sales could help draw hotels, fine dining, and other entertainment options to the borough.  Visit WCDC’s website to learn more.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore     

Eat + Drink: Wigle's aged whiskey released; Noodlehead; Franktuary; and a new speakeasy downtown

Eat + Drink is Pop City's roundup of Pittsburgh's food scene.


- BZ’s Bar and Grill is now open on the North Shore.  Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., the restaurant features what owner/manager Brandon Herriott calls “twisted American cuisine.”  Menu items include crab and avocado mac and cheese, pizza with house-made chorizo, a “turducken” burger, and more.

BZ’s is located at 140 Federal Street, directly across from PNC Park.  And while Herriott expects his business to do well during game days, he hopes the community will embrace the establishment beyond events.  “I want to be part of the neighborhood,” he says.

The restaurant seats 200 guests, including a private dining space and meeting room.  In the spring, BZ’s expects to add 40-50 patio seats.  412-323-BZBG

- Pittsburgh’s newest Thai restaurant, Noodlehead, is now open in Shadyside.  A BYOB, the eatery specializes in noodle dishes from the street markets of Thailand.  The menu features just ten $6 and $9 noodle dishes, and a few snacks, such as Thai fried chicken ($6.50) and pork belly steamed buns ($6).

Noodlehead is located at 242 South Highland Avenue, and is cash only. 

Franktuary’s new Lawrenceville location (3810 Butler Street) is officially scheduled to open later this month, on December 21st.  The restaurant will have a bar, and will seat around 100.

Fans of the downtown location should fear not, the original shop (325 Oliver Avenue) will stay open.  Likewise,  the Franktuary Food Truck will continue with mobile service.

- Pittsburgh’s first batch of aged whiskey since prohibition will be released by Wigle Whiskey next Saturday, December 15th.  And although Wigle has been open since last year, offering its white whiskey, these are its first aged rye and wheat whiskeys, aged in small, 10 gallon oak barrels for six months.  In the spirit of craft innovation, the distillery has finished several of the oak barreled whiskey with cherry and maple honeycombed wood for a variety of flavors. 

The distillery also recently launched its Wigle Ginever, a Dutch-style gin, popular before the advent of large commercial stills.  It is one of only two produced in the nation.

-  Continuing with the theme of prohibition—today is the 79th anniversary of its repeal—the Omni William Penn Hotel has reopened a former speakeasy in the historic building’s lower level.  The new bar’s interior replicates the original décor, and a cocktail list features researched drinks from the ‘20’s.  The speakeasy is open from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.  530 William Penn Place, Downtown. 


 
Writer:  Andrew Moore

Building Healthy Communities to be focus of upcoming Commonwealth Awards

At this year’s Commonwealth Awards, the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s signature event, the theme of “Building Healthy Communities” will be emphasized in honor of the late Mark Schneider. 

A former Chairman of 10,000 Friends, Schneider was a leader in smart growth and sustainable development in the region.  In recognition of his impact, the organization’s highest individual award, the “Friend of Pennsylvania” Award, will be presented to Mark posthumously and will be renamed the “Mark C. Schneider Memorial Friend of Pennsylvania” Award.

And this year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Richard J. Jackson, co-author of the book and host/narrator of the public television series, Designing Healthy Communities.  Dr. Jackson is a recipient of the 2012 Heinz Award for the Environment.

Regional Director Grant Ervin says Schneider’s numerous projects in Pittsburgh are great examples of Dr. Jackson’s message—that the built environment has a direct correlation on public and individual health.

“Projects like Summerset and Washington’s Landing have set the bar high and have provided recognition that people want these types of products,” Ervin says.  “They were trailblazers at the time.”

10,000 Friends will also honor several southwest Pennsylvania awardees from the first round of the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) funding.  Schneider also helped develop the vision for PCTI and was one of its chief advocates.

Founded in 1998, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is a statewide advocate for smart growth.  It has operated a Pittsburgh office since 2004.

The 2012 Commonwealth Awards will be held at Point Park University, Lawrence Hall 201, Wood Street, Downtown Pittsburgh.  For more information, and to register, click here.

 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Grant Ervin

Downtown's Century Building wins Urban Land Institute's excellence award

Downtown’s Century Building was built over 100 years ago and it’s still garnering accolades.  The Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute (ULI) has awarded TREK Development’s 2009 retrofit of the structure a Jack Kemp Workforce Housing Models of Excellence Award.

The $18.1 million development is praised for two key components: its sustainable development practices, and a commitment to maintaining workforce housing in the heart of the city.

According to ULI, it was the first residential structure in Pittsburgh to receive LEED Gold certification.  Additionally, TREK installed an open-loop geothermal system to reduce the building’s dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

And together with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a bicycle commuter center—made of recycled metal shipping containers—was installed on the site. 

PDP President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup says the Century Building is a "beautiful, innovative mixed-use development," and applauds TREK's commitment to creating affordable housing options in Downtown, and their attenton to sustainability.

In an effort to maintain affordable workforce housing at the site, a 30-year declaration of restrictive covenants was placed on the property, requiring that specific units be rented to households between 60 and 120 percent of the area median income.

The project is praised for its use of creative financing, which included funds from the Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, as well as the URA and the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development.

Century Building is bounded on one side by Katz Plaza, a 23,000 square foot square that is home to the  weekly JazzLive series—a project of the Cultural Trust—as well as a unique fountain and benches designed by artist Louise Bourgeois. 

Other cultural amenities nearby include the Cabaret at Theater Square and Backstage Bar, the Benedum Center for Performing Arts, and numerous restaurants including Meat and Potatoes, and one located in the ground floor of the Century Building, Grille on Seventh. 

ULI calls the Century Building a “model for sustainable development, adaptive use, downtown housing, and cross-sector partnerships.”  It goes on to say that the project is worthy of replication in other cities which are addressing concerns about pricing “essential residents” out of the housing market.


Writer:  Andrew Moore

Eat + Drink: Charcuterie and cocktails; 90-second wood fired pizza; yogurt and more

This week in Pop City's Eat + Drink roundup:

- Nicky's Thai Kitchen, the popular Allegheny West Thai restaurant, will be opening a new location downtown, at the corner of Penn Avenue and 9th Street.  Sinful Sweets by Christopher George is also planned to open in the adjacent storefront at 901 Penn Avenue.

- The Strip District’s Bar Marco has announced it will team up with Chef Justin Severino, of Cure, every Monday for charcuterie, cheese, and cocktail pairings.  The weekly events will be menu-free, with custom-made cocktails built for guests based on personal preferences.  Cocktails, with small charcuterie and cheese tastings, will be $10.  Bar Marco, 2216 Penn Avenue.  412-471-1900.

- Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria at River Vue is now open.  The restaurant features an Italian imported wood-burning oven and promises a 90 second cooking time.  Located in the ground floor of the recently opened RiverVue apartments, the pizzeria is across the street from downtown’s Point State Park.  Also on the menu are house-made mozzarella, Italian sodas, draft and bottled beer, as well as made-to-order salads and sandwiches.  300 Liberty Avenue, Suite 100.  412-904-4531.

- Yogli Mogli, a franchise of the national chain, opened recently on Washington Road in Mt Lebanon.  The eatery is a self-serve yogurt shop that features classic flavors with unique parings such as blueberry acai, and pomegranate raspberry tart.  Toppings range from mango, lychee, and peaches, to cookie dough, walnuts, and granola.  695 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon.  412-207-2291.

- Mrs. Jean’s Southern Cuisine has moved to a new location at Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Ave., Wilkinsburg.  The restaurant also recently finished taping an episode for Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.  412-723-2015.

- The South Side’s Carson Street Deli has reopened after closing briefly for renovations to the sandwich shop and craft beer store.  In addition to bottled beers from local breweries and specialty imports, Carson Street Deli now features 20 taps.  The deli hosts weekly beer samplings Wednesdays, from 6 to 8 p.m.  1507 E. Carson Street.  412-381-5335.


Writer:  Andrew Moore

$500,000 boost to historic renovations in Downtown Pittsburgh, grants available to building owners

The renovation of historic buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh has been given yet another boost.  The Colcom Foundation has granted Landmarks Community Capital (LCC) $500,000 to create a loan fund for property owners of historic structures in the Golden Triangle.  The program aims to spur more retail in downtown’s historic buildings.

LCC is the lending subsidiary of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF).  According to PHLF President Arthur Ziegler, the loans are available for borrowing to start a business in a historic building, as well as for storefront and façade improvements.

“It’s for improvements to the physical historic real estate,” Ziegler says.  He adds that the new initiative is designed to work in concert with existing efforts, such as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Paris to Pittsburgh program, and the URA’s façade improvements program.

LCC will make loans to building owners ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.

Although there are several historic buildings looming tall in Pittsburgh’s skyline, Ziegler says most structures are between two and five stories. 

And downtown’s historic districts, which include the Cultural District and Market Square, may soon be expanded.  Funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, Ziegler says PHLF has recently submitted an expanded districts proposal to the National Register.

This new initiative comes on the heels of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s $4 million Downtown Preservation Program, a partnership with PHLF that is restoring seven historic structures in the Wood and Market Street corridors.

For more information about the loans, and to apply, visit LCC's website.



Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Arthur Ziegler

Plan to develop former Saks site downtown includes subterraneous parking, retail, apartments

A new mixed-use development is moving ahead at the former Saks site downtown.  The plan includes 20,000 square feet of retail space, subterraneous parking, and 101 apartment units. 

Developers Millcraft Investments and McKnight Realty Partners, with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, have entered into an exclusive negotiation period with the URA.  The planned development would demolish the current four-story structure, as well as three smaller structures along Fifth Avenue.

URA Director Robert Rubinstein calls this an exciting project that “magnifies the original concept considerably,” bringing in two developers with a strong track record both in Pittsburgh and nationally.

In addition to underground parking, the development will include several levels of parking, to be located above the retail space, and below the market rate apartments. 

Parking is already in high demand in the central business district, Rubinstein says, and with other neighboring redevelopment projects in the works this structure will help to meet a growing demand.  Other adjacent projects include the Oliver building’s redevelopment into hotel and office space; PNC’s coming use of the former Lord and Taylor building; and the conversion of the Reed Smith and Alcoa buildings into apartments.

Rubinstein says that although a subterranean development in the heart of downtown will be quite expensive, he has the highest level of confidence that the development will take place.

“This is a development team that has done many deals that people thought were impossible,” Rubinstein says.  “They find a creative way to use the various tools that are out there.”

Millcraft Investments is a subsidiary of Millcraft Industries, responsible for several notable projects downtown, including Market Square Place, Piatt Place, and the RiverVue Apartments.  McKnight Realty has previously purchased and converted the former Gimbels building downtown into the Heinz 57 Center, and owns the nearby Grant, Oliver, and Brooks Brothers buildings.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Robert Rubinstein

Eat + Drink: Wild Purveyors Market Stand; Benjamin's Burger Bar; soul food and mobile food

- The Wild Purveyor’s Market Stand is now open in Upper Lawrenceville.  An evolution of the wholesale wild-foods business started by brothers Cavan and Tom Patterson, the market features local Pennsylvania cheeses, meats, and produce, as well as an assortment of seasonally foraged foods.  Currently in stock: chicken of the woods and hen of the woods mushrooms.

And the Second Annual Pittsburgh Picklefest will take place at the market this Saturday.  The event is presented by Crested Duck Charcuterie and Slow Food Pittsburgh.  5308 Butler Street, Lawrenceville.  412-206-WILD.

-  Benjamin’s Western Avenue Burger Bar is scheduled to open tonight in Allegheny West.  The restaurant is operated by Paul Tebbets, co-owner of Toast! in Shadyside, and the former BRiX Wood Fired Wine Bar, which the new restaurant replaces. 

BRiX closed its doors earlier this year after difficulties with a zoning permit for its wood-fired pizza oven.  The burger bar will be similar in concept to BRiX while swapping pizza for burgers.  Benjamin’s is located at 900 Western Avenue in the Northside.

-  Fredrick’s Soul Food is now open Monday through Saturday on Smithfield Street, in Downtown Pittsburgh, serving breakfast at 6:30 a.m.  Fredrick’s specializes in chicken and waffles, ribs and wings, yams, greens, and mac & cheese. 

Fredrick’s is owned by Larry Ross.  Ross says the menu consists of family recipes, and his kitchen staff is headed by his daughters Maya and Seaera.  412-232-1900. 633 Smithfield Street.  6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

-  Sal’s City Deli is opening soon in downtown, and will feature made-to-order sandwiches, fresh salads, and homemade soups.  It will be located at 245 Seventh Street, next to the Benedum Theater in the Cultural District.

-  In addition to locations in East Liberty and Cranberry, BRGR’s gourmet burgers are now available to downtown lunch crowds via The BRGR Food Truck.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. it will be parked at Grant Street and Forbes Avenue, Monday through Friday.  It also makes regular appearances in the Strip District, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 21st Street and Penn Avenue.

-  Another newcomer to Pittsburgh’s mobile food scene is Oh My Grill, a specialty grilled-cheese themed food truck.  724-996-3955.
 
 Click here for more information about food trucks in Pittsburgh.


Writer:  Andrew Moore

Night Market to pop up at Gallery Crawl; vote for People's Choice at Design Exhibit

The Night Market is popping again, bringing food, music and art to a vacant lot in Downtown Pittsburgh.

A component of Project Pop Up Pittsburgh, the market will take place during this week’s Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District.  Bethany Tucke, a project consultant, says the Night Market helps to achieve one of the initaitive's original goals: to activate vacant or underused space.

"The parking lot where we will be hosting the Night Market is a daytime parking lot that operates weekdays only," Tucke says.  "Figuring out a way to pop something up that’s interesting for both residents and visitors to downtown, and giving an opportunity for creative entrepreneurs to showcase and sell their goods in underused space, is exciting."

The list of food vendors has grown to include 10 eateries, including downtown’s Bluebird Kitchen and Conflict Kitchen, as well as BRGR, Reyna’s Tacos, and Smiling Banana Leaf.

Handmade ware vendors include Beads of Light, Best of Bizarre, Creative Customology, Devorah Naturals, Erra Creations, SMD Jewelry, and Tugboat Printshop.

Night Market will be located at 917-919 Liberty Avenue, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, from 7 p.m. to midnight.  But the footprint of the market itself has grown. This Friday’s event will also extend into adjacent Exchange Way, between Ninth Street and Garrison Way.

At the Gallery Crawl the public will also have an opportunity to view nominations for the 2012 Design Pittsburgh awards, and to vote for their pick in the People’s Choice Award.

Design Pittsburgh is presented by AIA Pittsburgh to highlight outstanding architecture and design in the region.  Last year’s People’s Choice Award went to Desmone and Associates Architects for their work at Savoy Restaurant in the Strip District.

The Project Pop Up initiative began last year as a way to animate vacant storefronts and public spaces throughout downtown with the goal of improving safety and economic health.  The project is a program of Mayor Ravenstahl, the URA, City Planning, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Bethany Tucke; Leigh Ann White
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