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Aspinwall Marina purchased by community, Friends of the Riverfront, to become park

The Aspinwall Marina was officially purchased by Friends of the Riverfront last week, and will become a community riverfront park and trail extension.  Since last November, the non-profit organization has been working on behalf of community residents who spearheaded the effort, raising $2.3 million to purchase the marina.

Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront, says this entire process has been a community effort, and he looks forward to moving “aggressively forward with fundraising for the development and build-out” of the new park.

“And as part of that process we're going to be reaching out to not just Aspinwall community, but all the surrounding community to talk about what can be and what will be part of the park,” Baxter says. “There will be a lot of opportunity for public involvement.”

The marina will be converted into a mixed-use parcel, and will feature an extension of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. 
 
Susan Crookston, who created the initial business plan last year, says the Aspinwall marina will now become “the community treasure that it was intended to be.”  She says the rapid rate of fundraising, done in just over six months, has been an incredible experience. 

“It's just been a kind of miracle, and just a testimony to the power of an idea and the power of the generosity of our community,” Crookston says.

Friends of the Riverfront signed an agreement of sale on the marina in January, and fundraising for the purchase began immediately after. Those efforts included t-shirt sales, parades, various parties, and major gifts from private donors. Two young Boy Scouts collected over $15,000 by mowing lawns, and a young girl delivered $144 after a month of lemonade stands.

“This would have never ever happened without all the people taking the ownership and making it happen,” Crookston says.
 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Thomas Baxter; Susan Crookston

Shannopin's Village gets $439,000 URA loan, project moves forward

Shannopin’s Village, a project planned for Lawrenceville’s Butler Street, has received a much needed loan from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.  The $439,000 loan will assist in construction of the infill development project, and is met with a $63,000 Streetface grant.

Developer Kris Senko says after several years of planning, this loan from the URA fills a crucial financing gap and will allow the project to move forward.

“Without Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the URA this just wouldn't have happened,” Senko says.  “That was the biggest piece to the whole puzzle for us.”  

The project consists of two new buildings, at 3810 & 3822 Butler Street, each featuring up to two commercial storefronts and two rental apartments.  A new street, Shannopin Lane, will be constructed between the two buildings.

The 1,350-square-foot apartments will include two bedrooms, one and a half bath, and off-street, rear parking.  The first-floor commercial spaces will be designed for restaurant, office, or retail space.  Original plans called for a series of additional town homes, but the project has been scaled back to include the Butler Street structures only.

Senko says his development team has worked closely with the Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United, and that those relationships helped facilitate the URA loan.

The facades of Shannopin’s Village have been designed to fit the historical context of existing structures on Butler Street, which made the project eligible to a Streetface grant from the URA.  

Senko says excavation of the Shannopin’s Village site will begin later this month, with an expected project completion date of spring 2013.

In addition to this project, Senko Construction is currently partnering with October Development in the construction of Doughboy Square’s new townhouse development.  


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Kris Senko

Taste of Summerset event this Saturday showcases neighborhood and local restaurants

This Saturday, Taste of Summerset will showcase the Summerset at Frick Park neighborhood along with good food, from 1 to 4  p.m.  The event is free and open to all, and will be held at Crescent Park, which overlooks Nine Mile Run and the Monongahela River.

The Summerset neighborhood, which is located south of Squirrel Hill and Frick Park, is hosting this event as a fundraiser for Kate and Peter’s Treehouse, and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  

In addition to raising funds for the parks, Lynda Wrenn, an organizer, hopes Taste of Summerset will open the neighborhood to those who haven not yet explored the community.  Developed on a former brownfield site, Summerset at Frick Park first opened in 2002, successfully converting a former slag dump into a livable city neighborhood.

Food trucks and area restaurants will provide concessions, and include the Goodie Truck, Tango Café, Peddlin Company (Pierogies on a Stick), Frank & Georgie’s Wood Grille BBQ, Smoke Barbecue and Taqueria, and the Dozen Food Truck.

In addition to prepared foods, local chefs will lead cooking demonstrations, including Charles Smith, of the Culinary Artists Catering Group.  Leah Lizarondo, of Brazen Kitchen, will showcase vegan and vegetarian cooking.

Two local high schools will provide musical performances, including the Pittsburgh Allderdice High School drumline, and a jazz quartet from CAPA High School.  

And headliners Bésame will perform their blend of Latin American music, with an emphasis on various Colombian styles.

The event will feature activities for kids, and the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library will be in attendance.

Kate and Peter’s Treehouse project seeks to create an innovative space for outdoor learning, and will be built in Frick Park.  It is intended for use by the community’s children and local schools.  In memory of Kate and Peter Ambrusko, the design will honor their love of play and the natural world.

Crescent Park is located at the corner of Parkview Boulevard and Summerset Drive, Pittsburgh, 15217.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Lynda Wrenn; Evelyn Castillo

University of Pittsburgh announces new dorm, projects totaling $152 million

The University of Pittsburgh announced last week the approval of 16 construction and renovation projects totaling $152 million, and nine lease renewals.  The university expects that these projects will create 737 construction and 295 construction-support jobs.

Pitt’s Executive Vice Chancellor, Jerome Cochran, says student housing and services were identified as the highest priority in the university’s 12-year facilities plan.

At the corner of Fifth Avenue and University Place, a 10-story 559-bed residence hall will be constructed, at a projected cost of $59 million.  Commercial retail space will be created on the first floor, and a student wellness center will be installed on the second floor.  This building replaces a surface parking lot, and the University Place Office Building, which was demolished to make way for the dormitory.

In a statement, Cochran said an estimated 500 new beds would be used to “recruit and retain a diverse and highly qualified student body.”

University Spokesperson John Fedele says the new residence hall will house freshman, and will help create a bond between students.

Aside from the new residence hall most projects will be renovations and upgrades to existing facilities, Fedele says, because they were identified as more economical in most cases than new construction.

A five-story, 57,000-square-foot addition to Parran and Crabtree Halls, at $41.3 million, will be used accommodate the relocation and expansion of the Graduate School of Public Health.  The university hopes to achieve LEED certification for this project.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  John Fedele

Legume Bistro reopens at new location, North Oakland

Legume Bistro is now open at its new North Oakland location.  Owners Trevett and Sarah Hooper closed their Regent Square location last spring in preparation for the move, and have spent the past four months renovating their new space, which features a full-service bar.

Much larger than the original Braddock Avenue location, Legume now seats 80 in the dining room and an additional 30 at the bar. 

Located within the 1920s King Edward Apartments building, Legume replaces the former More Restaurant, which had served Italian cuisine in this location for the past 40 years.

Sarah Hooper says while remodeling the space, an original blue-green terrazzo floor was discovered beneath carpeting and plastic.  Classic features like the original flooring were incorporated into the interior design, completed again by Joy Robison.  Hand-crafted woodwork by local artisan Miki Szabo also appears throughout the restaurant.

When it came to remodeling the kitchen, however, Trevett Hooper turned to the community.  A successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign raised over $17,000—more than double the original goal.  It was enough to create an ideal kitchen that is both beautiful and functional.  Funders were in turn rewarded, based on the amount of their gift, with recipe cards, invitation to a Kickstarter party, dinner for two, or cooking lessons.

Legume’s menu will feature the same seasonal American cuisine as before, with a menu that changes nightly.  Recent dishes include sweet potato ravioli with brown butter, sage, Hakurei Turnips and greens; pork shoulder braised in applejack, with Carolina Gold rice, and green beans; spaghetti with roasted goat sauce and sautéed greens; grass-fed ranch steak with parsley butter and mushroom barley risotto.

Hooper plans to begin serving lunch in the spring, and a bar menu is also being developed.

And although Legume is no longer BYOB, Hooper says there will be no corkage fees on Mondays, which she hopes will encourage fans of the former location to continue bringing bottles of their favorite wines.

Legume Bistro, located at 214 N. Craig Street, 15213, is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.  A happy hour is offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the bar remains open till midnight.  412-621-2700.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Sarah Hooper

Catapult co-working coffee shop opens in Garfield

Catapult Pittsburgh, a co-working coffee shop in Garfield, opened on Penn Avenue this past weekend. Currently a working demonstration, the shop aims to provide independent workers and work-from-home professionals a vibrant workspace environment for those who desire the energy found in larger  organizations.

The shop’s creators, Elliot Williams and Kevin Boyle, haven given themselves exactly one month to build that community.  The goal is to have eight to ten people signed on by November 1st, splitting rent and sharing a workplace.  Williams says that means a desk with space to leave papers and computers--just like any other office space.

But this shop will also be open to the public. Folks can come in for a few hours, print, have meetings, and pay a few dollars for time used (time is a menu item).

And yes, Catapult plans to continue selling coffee as well.  But Williams says that’s not the point.

“The problem with coffee shop business models is they're made for people to come and go,” Williams says. “We’re selling time, we’re selling this space. Coffee just happens to be there.”

But the coffee here happens to be unique.  Boyle, who is a freelance designer, has also worked as a barista throughout Pittsburgh and is immersed in the art of a good cup.  Catapult uses a siphon brewing technique, which features the best of French-press and pour-over methods.  And although siphon brewing can take up to ten minutes for a single cup, again, speed is not the point.

Williams hopes the shop will create a synergistic environment for creative thinkers, allowing for greater exposure to projects and ideas.

“In the grander scheme, this is me building a community,” Williams says.  “I would like to continue doing that, help groups of people work better together.  That's sort of my longer-term goal.”

The front of the shop resembles a traditional coffee shop, with a bar and several tables and chairs.  A second room is used for casual meetings, and a third will be used for private desk space.  The shop also has a small conference room and a usable backyard and porch.

Located at 5151 Penn Avenue, Catapult is open 10 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday.  412-979-1774.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Elliot Williams

Historic renovations continue downtown, Market at Fifth to be completed

Although Market Square and the Fifth-Forbes corridor have received many high-profile developments over the past few years, there still remain a few gaps in the overall project.  Those gaps are about to be filled though, as the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and the City of Pittsburgh have announced a partnership to renovate historic properties.

PHLF President Arthur Ziegler calls the partnership unprecedented in the national historic preservation movement.

“I don't know anywhere that a city has designated…$4 million for restoring historic downtown buildings, and contracted with the non-profit historic preservation group to manage the process,” Ziegler says.

A $4 million Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant will be used in part to complete the final building in the PHLF’s Market at Fifth project.  The white terra-cotta Thompson Building, which is to be restored, was most recently home to the restaurant Ciao Baby.

According to Ziegler, the US Hotel Group will develop on behalf of the PHLF a “a high quality restaurant and bar” on the building’s first two floors, and a meeting/party room on the third floor.

In additional funding, Richard M. Scaife, through the Allegheny Foundation, has granted PHLF $1 million toward the Market at Fifth development.  

And PHLF trustee Dr. George White and wife Kathy have granted over $700,000 to purchase the historic Weldin’s Building and adjoining building at 417 Wood Street.  Those buildings will be restored, and will retain tenants Weldin’s and Boutique La Passerelle.  Cast-iron facades across the street will also be restored.

Ziegler says this work is being done in cooperation with Point Park University to increase student housing downtown.

According to Ziegler, the RACP grant will also be used to restore six to nine other key historic buildings in the downtown central business district. Zeigler says these historic properties will become a source for new retail, jobs, housing, taxes, and an added attraction for visitors.  


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Arthur Ziegler

Allegheny Valley commuter-rail service gets $350 million commitment, moves forward

Allegheny Valley Railroad's long-talked-about commuter rail service has received some key funding.  The proposed Tarentum to Downtown Pittsburgh service received a commitment of $350 million from Cleveland-based First Service Commercial Loans Inc.

AVR President Russell Peterson says he believes this funding represents a turning point in effort to build the commuter-service, which was originally proposed in 1999.

“Funding is probably the most crucial of all the elements of putting the service into play,” Peterson says.

AVR plans to sell 18.42 miles of track to a public-private entity, which would operate the commuter service.  The railroad would retain a permanent easement to run freight in the overnight hours.

Robert Ardolino, president of Urban Innovations, is leading the project on behalf of AVR.  Ardolino says five stops are currently proposed for the system.  Those stops include Tarentum, New Kensington, a combined Oakmont-Verona stop, in Lawrenceville, and a final connection into Penn Station or Steel Plaza.  A weekend stop at the Highland Park Zoo would be included.

According to Ardolino, a possible sixth stop could occur in the Strip District, where a light-rail Lawrenceville-Strip District circulator is being considered.

The next step for the project is to conduct a combined environmental impact and alternative route study.  The study will be done in conjunction with the city, and potentially Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, with AVR as the stakeholder, Ardolino says.

Although Ardolino says he hopes to break ground on the project by 2014, a few obstacles remain.  Foremost is a missing connector from 26th Street in the Strip into a downtown station.  However Ardolino remains optimistic.

“The time has come for this project to get built,” he says.  “This is a big undertaking.  It's going to take a lot of collaboration, with both Westmoreland County and Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh.”
 
Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Russell Peterson; Robert Ardolino

Eden Restaurant opens in Shadyside, features raw, vegan items

The restaurant Eden has opened in Shadyside, and has stated its mission simply: to bring the freshest food possible.  The new eatery replaces the former Juice Box Café, but is a project of the previous owners, Albert Polanec and Chef Hilary Zozula.  

Zozula says the new restaurant was opened in order to focus on healthy foods and the health of people, with equal emphasis on building community as well as meals.  

“We just wanted people to feel good about what they're eating,” Zozula says.  She says she wanted to create a restaurant where customers come in knowing that everything is nutritious and high quality.

Zozula says raw-vegan is the epitome of healthy food because all ingredients are pure, and no nutrients have been cooked out.   And as a chef, creating meals without the use of heat is both challenging and rewarding.

“It’s the most fun that I've ever had with food because you get to see this product that was just a vegetable or a piece of fruit and you mix it with these other ingredients, and all of a sudden it turns into something else,” Zozula says.

Starters include tomato tartar, with basil, lemon, and zucchini, and an apple, celery, mint, cucumber gazpacho.  Entrees include a BBQ mushroom wrap, Tomato Napoleon, with sweet corn, sunflower seed, and basil, and a cashew cream curry with red ginger rice, avocado, and yellow squash.   

The lunch menu, however, is not exclusively raw, and does include meat.  Those items are also available during dinner hours.

This Saturday, Eden will launch their new fall menu with a $10 Menu Tasting event.  Dinner will coincide with an exhibit by photographer Arvin Clay.  Starters include spiced cabbage slaw, sweet walnut paté, and a beet and apple salad.  Entrees include pumpkin curry, squash noodle Pad Thai, and a kale, tomato, mushroom, pizza.

Keeping with the focus on raw and fresh foods, Eden features fresh juices and smoothies, made from 100% real fruits and vegetables.

Zozula says she hopes to have created a setting for raw food that is equal to any other fine dining experience.  “Except instead of the food just being good, it’s insanely healthy,” she says.

Eden, located at 735 Copeland Street, is open Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch, and 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner; Sundays, brunch from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. BYOB.  412-802-7070.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Hilary Zozula

URA seeks developer for North Shore, riverfront site

A former industrial site on the North Shore will soon be redeveloped, with the goal of transforming a stretch of waterfront along the Ohio River.  The Urban Redevelopment Authority acquired the former Eles Brothers site in bankruptcy court for $500,000 last month.  This new parcel, combined with adjacent land previously owned by the city, totals 5.9 acres.  The URA has begun seeking developers for the site.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl toured the former concrete-manufacturing facility last week, and said the city will be open-minded in considering a range of developer proposals, and envisions residential, commercial, or even light industrial uses.

Ravenstahl said proximity to downtown, entertainment venues, transit, and bike trails make the site ideally situated for residential development, among other uses.

“It’s really strategically located in an area where we think there would be a tremendous amount of interest on the residential side,” Ravenstahl said.  “We want to make sure that whatever is proposed is able to be executed.”

The North Shore Bike Trail intersects the two properties (829 Beaver Avenue and 801 Kroll Drive), less than a mile upriver from Rivers Casino and Heinz Field.  As a public right of way, Ravenstahl said, rest assured the bike trail will remain.

"We want to have this project include that wonderful amenity that the bike trail is,” Ravenstahl said, adding that they will select a developer that recognizes the trail as an asset.

Yesterday, the URA held a tour of the site for interested developers.  Requests for Qualifications will be due to the URA on October 21st, and a developer selection is scheduled to be made by November 10th.

Demolition of the former concrete facility will begin with the next two weeks, and remediation of the property will be required of any redevelopment plan.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Mayor Luke Ravenstahl; the Urban Redevelopment AuthorityPhoto courtesy Brian Cohen

Cycling success: bike racks on all city buses, new bike lanes, and more

It has been a good week for the Pittsburgh bicycling community.  Several upgrades have been made to the city’s bike infrastructure, including the reopening of the Eliza Furnace Trail and new bike lanes in Bloomfield.  And on Friday, the Port Authority announced that 100% of buses are now equipped with bus-mounted bike racks.

Bike Pittsburgh’s Eric Boerer says these racks are a win-win for bikers and the Port Authority .  According to Boerer, this type of multimodal transit helps increase the catchment area for bus stops and can potentially increase ridership.

For cyclists it allows commuters the option of utilizing bus routes for an otherwise lengthy commute, or for avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.  And buses can also address the issue of hills.

“Pittsburgh’s a hilly city and it's easy to bike downhill, and not so easy to bike uphill,” Boerer says.  “[Bike racks] just help increase the options for people to use as many modes as possible.”

Boerer says the effort to fully equip the Port Authority fleet with bike racks began over ten years ago with the work of Sustainable Pittsburgh.  In recent years Bike Pittsburgh had continued to push for this goal as a priority identified by the organization’s membership.

The Port Authority has also announced that for the first time bikes will be allowed on the T light-rail service during peak hours.

In on-street improvements, the city’s newest bike lanes are now in place along Liberty Avenue, through the business district of Bloomfield.  These lanes replaces earlier sharrows (or shared lane markings) and connect with an existing lane leading to the Strip District.  According to Boerer, those original sharrows were quite successful in attracting riders, and are recognized as the first “bike lanes” in Pittsburgh.

“Liberty is a major connection on the city's bike network, and we look forward to more bike lanes going in that area, hopefully by the end of the painting season,” Boerer says.

And finally, after a year of construction and detours, the $5.2 million improvement project which includes the Eliza Furnace Trail Bridge is now complete.  New signage, traffic signals, and landscaping have been added to the intersection, which is a bicycle corridor linking downtown, Oakland, and the South Side.  


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Eric Boerer, Bike Pittsburgh; Friends of the Riverfront

New trail in Emerald View Park creates natural vistas on Mount Washington

Thanks to a few hard-working trailblazers, there’s a new way to enjoy the vistas of Mount Washington.  A new multi-use trail is now complete in Emerald View Park, allowing hikers to wind a mile-long stretch across the iconic hillside.  An opening celebration for the trail was held Tuesday evening.

Illyssa Manspeizer, director of park development and conservation for the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), says this trail offers visitors a new and unique way of experiencing classic views.

“Its different [from the lookouts] in that you are in the woods and you tend to forget that there's a city there, until you come upon a clearing and then all of a sudden you've got this view in front of you, and it's quite spectacular,” Manspeizer says.

Another interesting facet of the trail, Manspeizer says, is that historically people in Pittsburgh would walk up and down these hillsides, and that part of this trail actually goes over old Indian steps that once stretched down to Carson Street. 

Manspeizer says that over time though people have lost contact with the hillside, and this type of visual experience. But now these views will be opened up once again, and perhaps this trail will inspire other neighborhoods to re-imagine their own hillsides and green spaces.

Emerald View Park was created in 2005 on 257 acres of land that had over the past century been industrialized, mined, and most recently used as an illegal dumping site.  Manspeizer says the park and trail demonstrates a way to exploit resources in a way that is good for people, as well as the plants, wildlife, and ecology of Pittsburgh.

Construction of the trail cost about $165,000, and aside from a few chainsaw cuttings, was done entirely by hand.  The work was completed by volunteers, and a crew of five to seven dedicated trail builders, employed and trained through a partnership between the Student Conservation Association, the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, G-TECH-Strategies, and the MWCDC.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Illyssa Manspeizer

Photograph courtesy MWCDC

Preserve Pittsburgh Summit to engage over 300 students with historic preservation

This Friday over 300 students from Pittsburgh-area schools will participate in the Third Annual Preserve Pittsburgh Summit.  Hosted by the Young Preservationists Association (YPA) of Pittsburgh, the event will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

YPA President Dan Holland says the event is designed to teach young people what it takes to bring old buildings back to life, and to encourage engagement with historic structures in their own schools and communities.

“Our goal is to get young people reengaged in the community, and to help shape a better future in their respective communities,” Holland says. “We want Pittsburgh to be a center for youth activity and innovation.”

The year’s theme is Change and Continuity. As part of the summit, seven different tours will lead participants through the Strip District, Lawrenceville, and Downtown Pittsburgh.  Holland says these tours will showcase historic properties that have both changed and remained the same through preservation.

The tours are organized by themes, including food, waterfront, loft housing, bridges, Main Street Lawrenceville, and a downtown walking tour.

Holland says he hopes the summit can instill within young people the confidence and the ability to do similar type restoration projects in their own community.  He hopes students can become motivators for restoring historic properties.

“If they go back to their neighborhood and they see that there's a vacant building, they will then be able to say, this building doesn't have to be torn down, it can actually be restored,” Holland says.

Keynote speakers include State Senator Jim Ferlo, city council members Patrick Dowd and Natalia Rudak, and Felicia Mayro, Director of the Neighborhood Preservation Center in New York City.

Tours are currently full, but $10 tickets to the lunch are still available.  For more information contact the YPA: 412-205-3385.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Dan Holland

Historic Deutschtown House Tour this Sunday

Early fall is house tour season in Pittsburgh and this Sunday seven homes will be opened to house and garden enthusiasts during the Historic Deutschtown House Tour.  Architecture styles featured on the tour include traditional Victorian and Italianate, as well as newly built, modern homes. 

Randy Strothman, a spokesperson for the Deutschtown community group, says one outstanding home is the newly built townhouse of local contractor Al DePasquale.  Beyond an original façade, the home was completely rebuilt to DePasquale’s own personal design and lifestyle preferences.

“It looks like it's been there forever,” Strothman says,  “very traditional of the period…but it's a very modern treatment, very personalized to his style.”  The home features five interior fountains, murals, and a garden.

Strothman says the neighborhood has been gradually revitalizing itself for the past 30 years, following the construction of I-279 which sliced through the community in the 1980’s.  He says the private market has begun to lead renovation efforts, including home renovations and the opening of new businesses.

Neighborhood business will be open throughout the tour, and include Bistro To Go, the Victory Grill, Amani Coffee, and the Park House. 

Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.  For more information call 412-321-1204.  The tour starts at the Priory Hotel Courtyard, 614 Lockhart St., 15212; free parking at the hotel’s Grand Hall. 

The Priory Hotel will also be hosting a special wine tasting event in conjunction with the tour.  Live music will be provided by a Deutschtown accordionist.  Tickets for the wine tasting are $15.


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Randy Strothman

Highway Robbery Vintage clothing shop opens on Carson Street

At Highway Robbery Vintage everything is one-of-a-kind -- from the clothing and jewelry to the handcrafted display fixtures and local art.  Owner Kate Minton remodeled the hundred year-old Carson Street storefront with help from family and friends, and has created a space that is as unique as the clothing for sale.

Minton says she wants to offer styles that are affordable and trendy, but also accessible.

“I’ve always liked vintage but I think some of it can be really hard for people to incorporate in their wardrobes,” she says. “So this is kind of baby-vintage…easier to wear on a daily basis.”

Minton describes the Highway Robbery style as vintage-casual.  Pieces range from the ‘50’s to the ‘90’s; anything that is on-trend and vintage.  Aside from a few kitschy, must-have Steelers and Penguins t-shirts, all items are from before 1992.

The building’s original hardwood flooring has been restored, as well as the original tin ceiling, and a terrazzo entrance with hand-laid tiles.  Minton worked with her father to build shoe displays from reclaimed barn wood.  A table in the back, made from an antique door with original knobs and hinges, was salvaged and built by her brother.  And she had help decorating from her stepmother, who is an interior designer, and a friend, who is an artist.

“I’m lucky I have a lot of creative family and friends,” Minton says.  “Everything is done in a way that I think is low impact and cool.”

Minton, who is an Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduate, asked current AI student and friend Tyler Kozar to design the Highway Robbery logo and website.  And in the next few weeks an intern from the Art Institute will begin working at the store.

“Those kids in the Art Institute don’t get enough credit,” Minton says.  “They're so hard working [and] they are super nice to work with.”

Highways Robbery is located at 1411 E. Carson Street; open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.  412-251-0818.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Kate Minton
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