| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Development News

2114 Articles | Page: | Show All

Small Business Saturday highlights local retailers

A lot has changed in Downtown Pittsburgh since Jeff Izenson’s grandfather opened Specialty Luggage in 1944.

The store has moved twice, occupying three different buildings within the same block of Liberty Avenue. It’s opened satellite locations in the Waterworks and South Hills Village. Oh, and big-box stores and the internet have completely changed the way people shop for nearly everything — including luggage — to the point where a lot of old, family-owned small businesses haven’t survived.

Three years ago, piggybacking on the growing movement encouraging local shopping, American Express created and promoted Small Business Saturday — a shopping event situated between the utter madness of Black Friday and server-crashing traffic of Cyber Monday — reminding consumers that sometimes, it’s nice to examine something before buying it. It’s been a boon to small businesses like Izenson’s, which thrive by offering a level of customer service big box stores and the Internet can’t compete with.

“We spend an inordinate amount of time training our people on how to take care of our customers,” Izenson says. “Providing a great experience is the most important thing we do every day. At the end of the day, my business exists because of a staff that cares about its customers.”

While Small Business Saturday is an American Express creation which encourages both stores and cardholders to register beforehand for certain perks and rewards, the Small Business Administration has set up guides for both shoppers and small business owners to foster shopping locally — something Pop City heartily endorses.

For a full list of small, locally owned businesses in your area officially taking part in Small Business Saturday, check out the official website.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeff Izenson

PCRG initiative seeks to revive housing in Pittsburgh's Sheraden neighborhood

Originally built as one of Pittsburgh’s first working-class developments, Sheraden has seen better days. But if a Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group initiative pays off, better days are still to come.

“You kind of have this perfect storm situation where you had this steady population decline, and when the housing bubble burst, Sheraden was hit harder than any other neighborhood in Pittsburgh,” says the PCRG’s Steve Novotny.

The PCRG chose Sheraden — an historic but declining neighborhood in West Pittsburgh — as the pilot for its Reimagining Communities initiative last year. The initiative, which includes partnerships with NeighborWorks Western PA and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, is taking a multi-faceted approach toward reversing property divestment in one of Pittsburgh’s most overlooked neighborhoods.

PCRG's help, the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation has acquired a number of vacant and foreclosed properties with the ultimate goal of bringing them up to standard and putting them back on the market.

“At a given time you’ve got about 180 vacant sturctures out of about 900 – about a 20 percent rate. The big take away from that is that over the last few years, only about 20 have been for sale,” Novotny says. “What we’re doing is trying to collect data on the property in the neighborhood, and figure out what’s keeping these properties from being on the market.”

In addition to rehabbing homes and collecting information about how to best move forward, the initiative offers Sheraden residents access to financial education workshops and resources. In doing this, PCRG hopes not only to keep current residents from avoiding foreclosure, but build their financial literacy and personal wealth, in addition to offering free repairs for elderly residents’ homes.

“It helps support our work in the neighborhood in addressing these issues and trying to reactivate the housing market,” Novotny says. “The housing stock is largely still intact. It’s a good mix of older, worker-style and mixed-income housing, and a lot of the homes have front and back yards and off-street parking.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Steve Novotny

Eat + Drink: A new Downtown spot from Spoon, bottles of rum and much more

Spoon chefs preview dishes for new Downtown restaurant
Grit & Grace, the new Downtown venture from Spoon Executive Chef Brian Pekarcik and Chef de Cuisine Curtis Gamble, previewed several new dishes during No Menu Monday this week at Bar Marco. We sampled the pickled dates with apple, pear and manchego cheese, the dim sum trio comprised of Hamachi sashimi, Ahi tuna crab rolls and soba noodles with shitake mushrooms and orange-chili vinaigrette, and a salmon entrée served with crispy pretzel bread pudding, braised cabbage and pickled mustard seeds.

The pork larb and curried goat also went over extremely well. Grit & Grace, which will occupy the space at 535 Liberty Avenue formerly held by Taste of Dahntahn, plans to open next month.

The perfect gift for your favorite rum drinker
As we hinted at in an item last week, Maggie’s Farm Rum, Pittsburgh’s newest hand-crafted spirit, will be available to the public for bottle sales only the day after Thanksgiving. Made from Turbinado sugar cane, the French West Indies-style white rum will retail for $28 per bottle.

After Black Friday, Maggie’s Farm will go back to dealing exclusively with local bars and restaurants until owner Tim Russell finishes construction on the distillery’s tasting area and cocktail bar.

Oysters all over
Oysters are all the rage right now and there’s no shortage of places to get them:

Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle
in the Strip District will host the 10th annual Guinness Oyster Festival on Saturday starting at noon. In addition to fresh oysters on the half-shell, the menu will feature fried oysters and oyster stew.

Salt of the Earth
, Kevin Sousa’s flagship eatery in Garfield, has been serving different varieties of oysters on the half-shell as a part of its Tuesday late-night menu since May. The best part? They’re only a dollar apiece.

Recently opened in East Liberty, Bar Marco offshoot The Livermore is now offering an oyster happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Like Salt’s, they’re only a dollar each.

Yiddish food? Where else?!
Nu, the modern Jewish bistro from the owners of Pamela’s, is now open for lunch and dinner service at 1711 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill. We stopped by for lunch last week and found an absolute revelation in the smoked brisket chili, served with sour cream, shredded cheese and pickled red onions.

The Jewbano — a sandwich featuring thick-cut corned beef, brisket and fried pickles among other things, was delicious, as was our half of the salmon burger topped with lox and capers.

The matzo ball soup was a little on the salty side, but be warned: Nu has taken a side in the light and fluffy versus heavy and dense knaidlach debate, entrenching itself firmly on the side of matzo balls which will sink right to the bottom.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Tim Russell

The Brew Gentlemen plant roots in Braddock

In the great tradition of what Braddock once was, Asa Foster and Matt Katase are out to build something.

“Braddock’s not going to be back to what it was, but it will reinvent itself as something else,” Katase says. “We want to be a part of that.”

Foster and Katase, who met during their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon and became fast friends, started brewing their own beer three years ago while college juniors. Last year, they took over the space at 512 Braddock Avenue and set about — quite literally — building The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company.

Katase recalls showing the space to his brother last year around Thanksgiving.

“I unlocked the door and said, ‘this is where it’s going to be!’ and it was, well, not a disaster, but the remains of what was once an electrical supply store.”

Though they’ve taken a break from actually brewing to physically construct their brewery — they’re doing nearly all of the renovations themselves — they’ve already developed and tested a number of recipes, including four flagship beers which they plan to keep on tap year-round.

Foster, a Boston native, and Katase, who hails from Hawaii, envision their space as a large, serene and inviting area, full of exposed brick and wood, and moving at a different pace than most breweries.

“We are definitely looking to bring something to the Pittsburgh beer market that doesn’t already exist,” Foster says. “We want to have a more café kind of vibe in that we want people to feel comfortable with it as a hangout space, not just a tasting space.”

“Come in and read a book. Come in and get some work done. Nobody’s going to rush you out of your seat just because you’re taking up a barstool,” Katase added.

“It’s a manifestation of our brand, and we want that to be reflective of what our beer is,” Foster says. “It’s the place where we have the most control over quality.”

Foster and Katase hope to start brewing again by late December or early January, and have the taproom open to the public early next year. In the meantime, they’ve had plenty of support.

“Almost every day, someone comes up to us and says something thankful or encouraging,” Katase says. “People are psyched to see young people doing things in Braddock.”

You can follow The Brew Gentlemen’s progress on their blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Asa Foster, Matt Katase

Hazelwood riverfront gets largest TIF in city history

Pittsburgh City Council has approved the largest tax-increment financing plan in the city’s history, green-lighting an $80 million plan to aid in the redevelopment of 178 acres of brownfield in Hazelwood.

Known as Almono, the site once served as the Pittsburgh hub for J&L Steel, later LTV Steel. The company’s operations were so expansive that it built what’s now known as the Hot Metal Bridge to connect its blast furnaces on both sides of the Monongahela River between Oakland and the South Side.

“One of the remarkable things about this project is the fact that four foundations came together to purchase this property so that they could pursue a mixed-use, highly sustainable project, giving them the time and the thoughtfulness to make it an example of best practice from sustainable development,” says Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of Riverlive. “It’s a long time coming and the scale of it is really a change-maker.”

The foundations — R.K. Mellon, Benedum, McCune and the Heinz Endowments, with RIDC overseeing the development — teamed up to purchase the lot for $10 million in 2002 when it was abandoned space with obsolete infrastructure which cut the community of Hazelwood off from its riverfront. It remains a totally unused gap on the north bank of the Monogahela riverfront, but Schroeder says that should soon change with the TIF now approved.

“One of the reasons that the TIF financing is so powerful is that the site requires an investment in infrastructure,” Schroeder says, adding that development is likely to include not just residential and commercial property, but extension of the city’s riverfront parks and bike trails, as well as gateways from Hazelwood to Oakland, the South Side and Downtown.

“The existing community will be seamlessly weaved into the plan,” she says, adding that Hazelwood will see “urban fabric all the way to the river’s edge.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Lisa Schroeder

Jeremiah's Place is Pittsburgh's first crisis nursery

A single mother is in the hospital and it’s going to be hours before grandma can get in from out-of-state. A military spouse is all alone and in the midst of an emergency, but can’t leave their young child home alone.

“When you talk to families who have young children, they understand this concept,” says Dr. Lynn Williams. “Unless you have family right in the area or a really good network of friends you can turn to, there will be situations in which you’ll need help.”

That’s why Williams, a pediatrician, has teamed up with Dr. Tammy Murdoch and Eileen Sharbaugh to create Jeremiah’s Place — Pittsburgh’s first crisis shelter for children.

“We’ll be a licensed child care and residential facility, capable of keeping kids for up to 72 hours,” Williams says, adding that the facility will be able to accommodate six to 12 children under the age of 6 overnight, and up to 20 kids during the day. “When you don’t know where to turn, this place helps you. We know that if we keep harming or damaging children within the first six years of their lives, that has a very long-term impact on their physical and mental health.”

Jeremiah’s Place, named for one of Williams’s mother’s foster children, aims to provide a safe and caring place for children under the age of six whose families are experiencing tough times, free of charge to parents. In doing so, it looks to help stabilize families by requiring every parent who drops a child off at Jeremiah’s Place to meet with a social worker and set individualized goals.

“Pittsburgh has a lot of fantastic stuff for families and we don’t want to duplicate any of that,” Williams says. “We want to connect people to what already exists.”

That includes collaborating with local non-profits, establishing mentor networks and helping stabilize and strengthen families.

Jeremiah’s Place will occupy 3,500 square feet in the Kingsley Association at the corner of Frankstown Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard in Larimer. The space will include three bedrooms, an open play area and a few offices. Architect John Schrott of IKM has worked pro bono to help design the space, and that construction should begin within the next couple of weeks and be ready to open in January.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Lynne Williams

Eat + Drink: Blowfish BBQ, Butcher and the Rye and more

Eat + Drink is Pop City’s weekly roundup of epic local nomz.

Finely. Smoked. Meats. 
Just because the Steelers are terrible doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a great game-day experience, food and all. And when it comes to Sunday barbecue, few do it better than Justin Blakey.

Blakey, who’s in charge of all things beer at D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Regent Square and is better known to Pittsburgh beer drinkers as “Hootie,” played off his longtime nickname in creating his new venture, Blowfish BBQ. Every Sunday, Blakey sets up shop at D’s around 1 p.m., selling pork ribs, chicken and beef brisket, along with a host of savory sides such as smoked mac-and-cheese, red potatoes and a vinegar-dressed slaw.

“This is the perfect outlet to start it out,” says Blakey, adding that  while he's fine working out of the D's kitchen for the time being, he's looking to expand and perhaps open up a commercial space offering restaurant and catering services.

Blowfish BBQ’s meats aren’t grilled, but slow-smoked, requiring Blakey to carefully maintain a steady fire at a specific temperature over several hours. Pork and poultry spend the preceding days in various rubs and brines. The brisket takes a different path.

“I really don’t believe beef needs any special treatment — just salt and pepper, and let the smoke do the work,” he says.

In addition to a Texas-style brisket, Carolina-style ribs and his own special recipe for chicken, Blakey is still developing various sauces to complement his offerings. He’s most adamant about perpetuating vinegar-based sauces.

“It accents the meat more than it covers it up. I think with true barbecue, that’s what you’re really looking to do,” he says.

And while you're in the neighborhood…
Unlike Christmas-themed ads or Halloween parties seeping between weekends, one seasonal pleasure limited to November is D’s Franksgiving dog — a turkey hot dog on a steamed, poppy seed bun, topped with mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing and gravy, served with a side of cranberry sauce.

Trust us on this one.

Butcher and the Rye now open Downtown
After a few small events and a soft opening, Butcher and the Rye, the long-awaited second venture from the team responsible for Meat & Potatoes, opened for business last week.

Located at 212 Sixth Street in the Cultural District, Butcher offers creative small plates and open seating to go with their veritable archive of more than 350 kinds of bourbon. Yes, really. There’s even a ladder, reminiscent of those you’ll find in high-ceilinged library stacks, and giving new meaning to the term, “top shelf.”

Whether you stop in to try one of Chef Richard DeShantz’s new offerings or just to have a drink, the view alone warrants a visit, and the big leather chairs near the second-floor bar are especially comfy.

A new Downtown eatery from the creators of Skybar
Ten Penny, an upscale-casual restaurant with a diverse menu, will open later this month at 960 Penn Avenue in Downtown. The latest from Adam DeSimone’s AMPD Group, Ten Penny will offer dinner seven days a week, lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on weekends and special happy hour and late-night menus.

In addition to a large bar with 24 craft beers on tap, the space will offer a variety of seating options including a private dining room which will seat up to 20 people and café-style outdoor dining starting next spring.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Justin Blakey

After a long, strange trip, Maggie's Farm Rum is open for business

When we checked in with Tim Russell in August, he was a ventilation system away from starting production on Maggie’s Farm Rum out of his distillery on Smallman Street in the Strip District.

With all of his equipment in place, all Russell needed to open for business was federal approval of his label from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. ATF is notoriously nitpicky when it comes to approving alcohol labels, often requiring applicants to make multiple revisions and resubmit to what can be a month-long process.

Russell submitted his third iteration in September. Then, the government shut down.

With his label in limbo, Russell found his entire business on hold. The Washington Post took notice, making Maggie’s Farm the lead item in a feature on how the shutdown impacted people outside the federal workforce. That feature led to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a congresswoman from Texas, telling Russell’s story on the floor of the House.

Last Friday, about two weeks after the 16-day shutdown ended, Russell got word that his label was approved, allowing him to open for business.

“Initially, because of limited quantities, I’m just going to make it available to bars and restaurants,” Russell says, adding that he’ll likely open to the public once the cocktail bar and tasting room areas of his space are ready in the next couple of months.

“I might do a Black Friday thing where I’d open up bottle sales to the public whether the tasting room is done or not,” he says.

Russell will do a tasting of Maggie’s Farm Rum tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bocktown Beer & Grill in Robinson. You can follow the distillery’s progress on Facebook and Twitter.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Tim Russell

Community Builders breaks ground on East Liberty Place South

The Community Builders, one of the country’s largest non-profit developers, ceremonially broke ground Monday morning on East Liberty Place South, a $14.2 million project which will ultimately fill the space where East Mall Apartments once stood.

Located at 5836 Penn Avenue, East Liberty Place South will contain 52 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 11,000 square feet of commercial space.

“It’s a building that’s fairly close to the scale of East Liberty Place North,” says James Eby, senior project manager for Community Builders. “The difference is that we’ve treated the ground floor a little differently. We have a very small residential footprint on the ground. Commercial viability there was very important.”

Eby added that because the units will have certain income limits, he expects rent for the one-bedroom apartments to range between $517 and $900 per month, and the two-bedroom units to go for between $618 and $1,250.

“What we’re doing on the residential space is for people interested in the residential housing, they can get on an interest list. And then when we’re ready to start leasing, they’ll be invited to apply,” he says, adding that the developer received more than 200 applications for similar units in East Liberty Place North, just across the street, before the building opened its doors.

As they did with East Liberty North, Community Builders will work with architecture firm Strada and Sota Construction on the project, which is scheduled to open next October.

“Our goal is to replicate that at South,” Eby says.  “I expect a lot of interest again.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: James Eby

Yellow Couch Studio provides inviting space for aspiring musicians

Music has always been a big part of Steven Foxbury’s life. He had some success years ago as a singer-songwriter before it was pushed into the margins of his life. When he and his wife moved into their current house in Mt. Lebanon, he saw the potential to turn his basement into a studio space, just for fun.

When his mother passed away in 2010, Foxbury decided to direct more energy into his music.

“It forced a laser-like focus,” Foxbury says. “I knew I wanted to make music a more central focus and the studio was a big piece of that.”

Foxbury had worked with lots of different kinds of artists before, and decided he wanted to again. His basement became Yellow Couch Studio.

“I put an ad on Craigslist and people just started showing up,” he says. “It started growing.”

It's grown so much that earlier this year, Foxbury left his job at the Society for Contemporary Craft to devote himself to the studio full-time. He’s worked with local musicians Tarra Layne, Sleep Experiments, The Velcro Shoes, Jimbo Jackson and Joy Ike, and Florida-based band The New Lows, just to name a few.

“There’s one guy I’ve worked with who I don’t even record. We just work on his songwriting,” Foxbury says, adding that the space itself is pretty modest, but what it lacks it glitz it more than makes up for in comfort, comparing the space to a warm, cozy treehouse.

Yellow Couch offers a wide swath of options for musicians in various stages, from full bands who know exactly what they want out of recordings to aspiring players who show up with nothing more than a vocal harmony and want build around it.

“So far, everyone’s been very happy with the results,” Foxbury says.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Steven Foxbury

Eat + Drink: Constellation Coffee, Reverse Keg Ride, farmer markets wind down

Eat + Drink is Pop City's weekly roundup of epic local nomz.

Constellation Coffee arrives at Penn & Main
Amy Weiland worked as a barista at Tazza D’Oro in Highland Park for more than three years, all the while wanting to open her own shop. When she walked by the vacant space at 4059 Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville, she knew she’d found something special.

Serving coffee from Annapolis-based Ceremony Coffee Roasters, Weiland opened Constellation Coffee last week.

“I wanted to go with something from the east coast,” Weiland said of her roaster choice. “Whenever I was doing samplings from different roasters, Ceremony just blew every other roaster out of the water. All their coffees have nice balance and flavor, and all are light to medium roasts.”

Constellation will go for a diner-style vibe. In addition to serving up mainly espresso-based drinks, it serves up slices from the Pittsburgh Pie Guy.

Within the next few weeks, Constellation will have new painted signs and furniture designed to make the space more cozy. Weiland says she hopes to add more retail business and coffee classes in the coming months. Constellation Coffee is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

East End’s Reverse Keg Ride on for Saturday
The East End Brewery will hold its annual Reverse Keg Ride — a bike trek from the OTB Bicycle Café on the South Side to the Brewery’s home in Larimer — this Saturday.

The annual event celebrates the moving of an empty keg of East End’s Pedal Pale Ale from OTB back to the brewery, and ends in the ceremonial tapping of the first keg of its Snow Melt Ale. Registration is available through the event page on East End’s website and costs $20 per rider, with a $25 fee for late registration. The ride is limited to 300 participants and note:  there won’t be a day-of registration.

The convoy will depart OTB at 4 p.m. and arrive back at the brewery around 5:30.

Market Square will host final farmer’s market of the season tomorrow
A smattering of Halloween events will help mark the end of the season for the Market Square Farmer’s Market tomorrow.
Daycare centers will conduct trick-or-treating around the market, booths will be extra spooky and vendors will adorn their favorite Halloween costumes. DJ Soy Sos and local singer-songwriter Jess Sides will provide the daytime entertainment, and instructors from the Arthur Murray Dance School on Sixth Street will do three 10-minute performances during lunch hours.

It will mark the final 2013 installment for the popular Downtown market, which this season, attracted between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors each week.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Amy Weiland, Scott Smith

AIA recognizes local firms for design excellence

The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced the winners of its 14th annual design awards competition Thursday during a gala at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education center in Downtown. Pittsburgh presumptive mayor Bill Peduto presented the awards, which were open to submissions from any members of AIA Pittsburgh or AIA members from across the country who worked on a project within AIA Pittsburgh’s 11-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For a refresher, here's our slideshow roundup of this year's nominees in Pittsburgh.

The winners are:

People’s Choice Award: IKM Incorporated for St. Clair Outpatient Center
Historic Preservation Award of Excellence: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Geotel, with Deborah Berke Partners for the 21C Museum Hotel; Strada Architecture for Fourth Avenue Dollar Bank Renovation
Design & Innovation Award of Excellence: Urban Design Build Studio for PURIFLUME
Architectural Detail & Craftsmanship Awards of Excellence: Astorino for St. Thomas A’Becket Church – East Wall; Bohlin Cywinski Jackson for Campus for a Global Entertainment Company – Glass Wall
Young Architects Studio Competition Honor Award: Drew Weinheimer for Light Trail
Interior Architecture Certificates of Merit: EDGE Studio/GBBN Architects for MAYA Design; WTW Architects and Gensler for Reed Smith LLP Office Interiors
Interior Architecture Honor Award: Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Geotel, with Deborah Berke Partners for the 21C Museum Hotel
Green Design Citations: studio d’ARC Architects for SOTA Construction Services, Inc. Office Building; The Design Alliance Architects for Center for Sustainable Landscapes
Green Design Certificate of Merit: Pfaffmann + Associates for Café at the Point
Architecture Honor Awards: DRS Architects, with Sasaki Associates for the Robert M. Smith Student Center; Rothschild Doyno Collaborative for Saint Lespwa Center Of Hope

This year’s jury was comprised of New Orleans AIA members Steve Dumez, Anne Marie Decker and Maurice Cox. Decker was on hand to provide the jury’s comments on its selections.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: AIA Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Public Market reopens in new location

Forced from its space in the old produce terminal and into a new, greener, climate-controlled building, the Pittsburgh Public Market is back up and running at 2401 Penn Avenue, following a soft opening last Wednesday.

“We did the soft opening because the merchants depends on the money as income, but we also thought it was important to get it open,” says Becky Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip. “When you go in there, you’ll still see people working on their booths.”

The new Public Market features 25,000 square feet of space, about 10,000 square feet of which are rentable, rendering it just about the same size as the market’s old location, but with greater capability.

The East End Brewery is back to hosting its regular growler hours there, now with eight taps on hand — double the number it had in the old space. Olive oil merchant The Olive Tap will occupy an 1,800-square-foot space in the new building and the market is bringing in several new vendors, including yet-to-be-revealed cheese and wine vendors.

“There are a lot of great merchants in there right now,” Rodger says, adding that she expects around 20 businesses to occupy the space during the week in the market's first year, with more coming in just on weekends.

The new Pittsburgh Public Market will hold a grand opening at the end of November. Until then, the market will maintain the regular hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Becky Rodgers

Pittsburgh Technical Institute opening Energy Technology Center

Pittsburgh Technical Institute will hold the grand opening of its new Energy Technology Center next Thursday, officially cutting the ribbon on the home of the region’s first program geared toward training students for electronics jobs in the energy field.

The center occupies more than 15,000 square feet on PTI’s North Fayette Campus and will house PTI’s programs in HVAC technology, Welding and Oil & Gas Electronics. PTI rolled out the latter two programs earlier this year after working with a cadre of energy companies to assess their positional needs in the industry.

Though the oil and gas electronics program began its first classes earlier this month, George Pry, PTI’s executive vice president, estimates that it will ultimately churn out between 80 and 100 graduates per year, none of whom will have trouble finding jobs.

“There’s a need,” Pry says. “They’ll take as many as they can get out there. It’s where we are today, the same as where we were with the steel industry 80 or 100 years ago. There are very well-paying, middle-class jobs available that we need to fill with our graduates. When we see a need, we go for it.”

Felix Cardella, of TKA Architects, designed the $3.5 million center and Homestead-based Franjo Construction served as the general contractor. It contains nearly $1 million worth of industry-specific equipment, about $750,000 of which was donated by corporate partners.

“It’s filling a very specific need for energy companies,” says Linda Allan, PTI’s director of public relations. “With the exponential growth of the Marcellus Shale exploration and development, all of the supporting industries are benefitting from what’s going on.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: George Pry, Linda Allan

Eat + Drink: tacos, pierogies and all kinds of beer!

Eat & Drink is Pop City's roundup of local epic nomz.

Casa Reyna opens taco stand
Here’s a new game to play with your friends: how far down any one stretch of Penn Avenue do you need to travel before finding a place to buy a great taco?

Whatever the answer was, the distance just got shorter. Casa Reyna, the restaurant sister of Nic DiCio’s Reyna Market in the Strip District opened up a taco stand outside its 2031 Penn Avenue space. The stand will be open daily from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m., depending on business, year-round.

First annual Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival
A host of local restaurants will converge at South Shore Riverfront Park this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. to present the inaugural Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival. Vendors will include Bar Marco, BRGR, Franktuary, Marty’s Market and more. Admission to the event is free and all vendors will be cash-only.

To learn more about the first annual Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, check it out on Twitter or visit its Facebook page.

Pumking at D’s
For those in in the full swing of fall, D’s Six Pax and Dogz in Regent Square will fill its massive tap room with a vast selection of pumpkin beers starting Friday. In addition to pumpkin beers already on tap, D’s will roll out Southern Tier Pumpking not only from this year, but cellar-aged kegs from the previous three years.

“We’ll also have the Southern Tier Warlock, which is a stout made with Pumking. There’ll be a bunch of other pumpkin beers but it’s really about the Pumking,” says D’s Beer Czar Justin “Hootie” Blakey.

Penn Brewery wins at the Great American Beer Festival
Penn Brewery’s Chocolate Meltdown, a chocolate stout which the brewery plans to release this winter, took home a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival this month.

“It was an old homebrew recipe of mine. I brought it in and we scaled it up,” says Nick Rosich, one of Penn’s brewers. “We get all our chocolate from Besty Ann over here in West View. We use that in the kettle, and we use quite a bit of lactose to bring out that milky creaminess. It’s a chocolate milk stout.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Justin Blakey, Nick Rosich
2114 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts