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  #3741  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2020, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I've always wondered about the building catty-corner too. It pretty clearly was a handsome old walkup apartment building with ground-story retail before it was horrendously remuddled in the mid-20th Century. Some sort of complete reskin of the building would help the street presence at that intersection tremendously, but I'm not sure if the economics would work out.
I think the new condo development can only help to make something like that a reality.

That remuddling is awful. Though for whatever reason, that “style” of remuddling is very Pittsburgh. There just seems to be an abundance of those terrible sliding windows on the fronts of 19th century homes/bldgs here.

And “hate” is too mild of a word for how I feel about that cheap awful door on the side. I don’t get that door style at all... you see it as standard issue on crappy McMansions and also on flipped houses everywhere. I guess it’s trying to appear antique or lend authenticity somehow, but the etched glass and fake leaded glass design was never a residential door style. It’s trying to fake something that never existed in the first place. I know an architect who is understandably driven crazy by these historically-inaccurate, low-quality, yet expensive doors.
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  #3742  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2020, 1:30 AM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Virtual Planning Commission agenda is up for August 11th. Four items on the agenda for next week:

1. Nomination of Spring Hill Elementary as a historic landmark. I'm somewhat neutral on this nomination - there is certainly some architectural charm left in the building, but it has been substantively remuddled over the years.

2. Nomination of the "Hanauer-Rosenberg Residence" in Allegheny West. Honestly, I do not think this is merited - largely because the building is already part of the Deutschtown historic district, along with being a single rowhouse in the middle of a unit of four. The nomination seems to be mostly because the building is owned by Matthew Falcone, and a modestly famous member of Pittsburgh's Jewish community lived there in the 19th century.

3. Exterior renovations to 249 5th Avenue. This is one of PNC's several downtown towers. The renovation is basically swapping out existing sets of double revolving doors for sets that include handicapped-accessible entrances.

4. The largest development by far is a set of eight new townhomes on Grandview Avenue in Mount Washington. They go here, replacing three existing homes and a vacant lot. I do think it's a bit of a shame that the two homes on either end (particularly the brick one) are going to be demolished, but you can argue that a set of tightly-packed townhomes like this is a higher and better use. I just wish they could find some way to ensure the two units furthest to the east also had rear-facing garages, though I suppose it's still a net reduction in the number of curb cuts.
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  #3743  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2020, 5:42 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Virtual Planning Commission agenda is up for August 11th. Four items on the agenda for next week:

1. Nomination of Spring Hill Elementary as a historic landmark. I'm somewhat neutral on this nomination - there is certainly some architectural charm left in the building, but it has been substantively remuddled over the years.

2. Nomination of the "Hanauer-Rosenberg Residence" in Allegheny West. Honestly, I do not think this is merited - largely because the building is already part of the Deutschtown historic district, along with being a single rowhouse in the middle of a unit of four. The nomination seems to be mostly because the building is owned by Matthew Falcone, and a modestly famous member of Pittsburgh's Jewish community lived there in the 19th century.

3. Exterior renovations to 249 5th Avenue. This is one of PNC's several downtown towers. The renovation is basically swapping out existing sets of double revolving doors for sets that include handicapped-accessible entrances.

4. The largest development by far is a set of eight new townhomes on Grandview Avenue in Mount Washington. They go here, replacing three existing homes and a vacant lot. I do think it's a bit of a shame that the two homes on either end (particularly the brick one) are going to be demolished, but you can argue that a set of tightly-packed townhomes like this is a higher and better use. I just wish they could find some way to ensure the two units furthest to the east also had rear-facing garages, though I suppose it's still a net reduction in the number of curb cuts.
The Spring Hill elementary school is our neighborhood voting location. I think it is a really attractive building. If it helps the building and neighborhood, I hope they approve it.

And about those Grandview Ave townhouses - I like them. I personally think overall it would be a positive for that area in the long run. Of course, I am always bullish on new construction that adds density so maybe I'm biased.
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  #3744  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2020, 7:19 PM
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I'd hate to see those houses also meet the wrecking ball -- like the one that used to be on the empty lot and the one that was across the street where the new construction is going up -- particularly for a squat less than 50' high project like this.

Why not taller? So the residents can actually have a clear view... the very reason anyone would live there in the first place. Of the 8 planned units, it seems that 6 of them will have significantly obstructed views, if not completely blocked, of the skyline.
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  #3745  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2020, 7:44 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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I'd hate to see those houses also meet the wrecking ball -- like the one that used to be on the empty lot and the one that was across the street where the new construction is going up -- particularly for a squat less than 50' high project like this.

Why not taller? So the residents can actually have a clear view... the very reason anyone would live there in the first place. Of the 8 planned units, it seems that 6 of them will have significantly obstructed views, if not completely blocked, of the skyline.
The Grandview Public Realm has pretty shitty low-density zoning in general. Nothing more dense than townhouses or a two-unit is allowed on this particular parcel, and there is a height limit of 40 feet. Also, you can't actually put in any commercial uses. And indeed, what we've seen is the Grandview corridor is slowly being turned over into really upscale townhouses, with even the few remaining restaurants further up the street slowly being lost to attrition.
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  #3746  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2020, 8:14 PM
Don't Be That Guy Don't Be That Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

2. Nomination of the "Hanauer-Rosenberg Residence" in Allegheny West. Honestly, I do not think this is merited - largely because the building is already part of the Deutschtown historic district, along with being a single rowhouse in the middle of a unit of four. The nomination seems to be mostly because the building is owned by Matthew Falcone, and a modestly famous member of Pittsburgh's Jewish community lived there in the 19th century.
Probably not warranted, but if a homeowner wants to encumber their own property then that's on them. That's certainly preferable to the property owner having their home nominated by others without their approval.


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3.Exterior renovations to 249 5th Avenue. This is one of PNC's several downtown towers. The renovation is basically swapping out existing sets of double revolving doors for sets that include handicapped-accessible entrances.
Why in the world is something this inconsequential going to the Planning Commission?
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  #3747  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2020, 8:45 PM
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Why in the world is something this inconsequential going to the Planning Commission?
My understanding is the Planning Commission has to review basically every substantive renovation downtown - or at least those which materially affect facades.
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  #3748  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2020, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Nomination of the "Hanauer-Rosenberg Residence" in Allegheny West. Honestly, I do not think this is merited - largely because the building is already part of the Deutschtown historic district, along with being a single rowhouse in the middle of a unit of four. The nomination seems to be mostly because the building is owned by Matthew Falcone, and a modestly famous member of Pittsburgh's Jewish community lived there in the 19th century.
This property is in East Allegheny. Allegheny West is on the opposite side of the Northside.
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  #3749  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2020, 12:49 AM
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This property is in East Allegheny. Allegheny West is on the opposite side of the Northside.
You're right of course. I knew that, it was a brain fart of my part that I wrote Allegheny West rather than East Allegheny...as the Deutschtown reference shows.
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  #3750  
Old Posted Aug 11, 2020, 11:24 AM
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You're right of course. I knew that, it was a brain fart of my part that I wrote Allegheny West rather than East Allegheny...as the Deutschtown reference shows.
I figured as much.

I just wanted to correct it for all the Outsiders (those who don't live in the Northside) who think that the Northside consists only of the Mexican War Streets and maybe Deutschtown, both of which are historic districts within different neighborhoods. MWS is part of the Central Northside neighborhood and Deutschtown is part of the East Allegheny neighborhood. On top of all that, the location of city designated historic districts often don't match the location of national historic districts.
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  #3751  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2020, 1:05 PM
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The URA agenda for tomorrow's meeting is up. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on this month. Some highlights:

1. The URA has been attempting to attract tenants for the now largely vacant Centre-Heldman Plaza (where the Shop 'n Save was). They are in negotiations with seven potential tenants, and seem to have landed a new independent coffee shop.

2. A vote to extend negotiations over the sale of the parcels at the intersection of Fifth and Dinwiddie in Uptown by six months. This is a big area. It covers not only the entire 1707 Fifth Avenue parking lot, but also the block behind (as east as the occupied home on Colwell - includes two abandoned homes on Dinwiddie), along with the DPW building and parking lot across Dinwiddie. I have honestly not heard of this development before. The plan is to have on the eastern portion of the site two new buildings (connected by skybridge) with 167 units of housing (20% affordable), plus 20,000 square feet of retail space along Fifth. They plan to add two stories to the DPW building, with the planned use commercial flex space.

3. Steel City Squash - which currently plays on land owned by Chatham University - seeks to buy a number of parcels from the City and the URA to build a facility in Larimer. The main section they are interested in is this completely vacant block off Larimer Avenue, though they are also interested in buying all of the vacant properties on the two blocks behind. This is not merely outdoor courts, but a $5 million project which will also include classroom and meeting space which will be available to the neighborhood.

In other news, the official groundbreaking for the new Steel Street/Oxford apartment building in the Strip is about to happen. Construction on this building had already begun. The building now has a name - Helm on the Allegheny. The name is appropriate given the building design kind of looks like a giant cruise ship.
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  #3752  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2020, 6:20 PM
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September 3rd ZBA agenda now online. Items of interest:

1. Infill house in Central Northside. Another October Development infill home. This will never see the light of day in its current form due to the HRC shooting down the entire project.

2. A new restaurant fit-out at 5231 Liberty Avenue. This is that new shopping center near the corner of Baum Boulevard. It's a mini-chain called Roots Natural Kitchen, which seems to specialize in healthy fast-casual bowls and salads.

3. Construction of a temporary docks/boathouse on the Hazelwood Green site. This appears to be related to Central Catholic's crew team.

4. Three infill houses in Upper Lawrenceville. The homes are listed as being on Natrona Way, but really there are existing alley houses there, which have backyards that front on Keystone. They want to subdivide the parcels and build the three new houses on Keystone. The houses are modular and the design is very simple, but I think I prefer it to the ultra-modern look of a lo of infill townhouses. I also like the lack of any integral parking. It's not quite official in zoning yet, since City Council needs to approve the measure passed by the Planning Commission, but close enough. Cool to see this zoning change may already be showing results.

5. A zoning change in Point Breeze which would allow an event space to serve coffee. This is explicitly being asked for because, for obvious reasons, it can no longer survive as an event space.
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  #3753  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2020, 3:15 PM
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We may have seen this on here before, but I saw it this morning and is worth taking a look at again.


Watch: Rare and in Color Footage of Pittsburgh in 1928

https://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/w...burgh-in-1928/
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  #3754  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2020, 7:30 PM
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Plans for the P-G building, to be accompanied by a 17 story new build tower (seen in the background):





https://www.dicicco.us/properties/
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  #3755  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2020, 1:16 AM
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Plans for the P-G building, to be accompanied by a 17 story new build tower (seen in the background):





https://www.dicicco.us/properties/
I really like the "Boston" type development. I really like the preservation of the original building tied into the redevelopment.
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  #3756  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2020, 12:10 PM
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The plan to reskin the original building looks better than I had expected.

That said, it's damn difficult to get interest in major downtown office leases in normal times, and downtown vacancy due to COVID-19 is now approaching 20%. I feel like if they were looking at a residential project the chance of this arriving some time within the next five years would be much greater.
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  #3757  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2020, 3:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PITairport View Post
Plans for the P-G building, to be accompanied by a 17 story new build tower (seen in the background):





https://www.dicicco.us/properties/
This is fantastic. I love it. This is the type of development I was hoping to see there. Has this been announced or is this just a speculative type of rendering?
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  #3758  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2020, 2:40 AM
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Post-Gazette project

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Originally Posted by PITairport View Post
Plans for the P-G building, to be accompanied by a 17 story new build tower (seen in the background):





https://www.dicicco.us/properties/
Below is the text from today's Business Times article about the P-G project. Let's hope that maybe Michael Troiani sees how an old building can be incorporated into a new project and is welcomed by the community. I hope this happens, but it seems a longshot in the current environment. Fingers crossed.

_______________

Moon Township-based DiCicco Development Inc. is quietly marketing a two-building redevelopment for the former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette property downtown.

After buying the vacated 200,000-square-foot building at the end of last year, DiCicco is shopping around a two-building proposal for the site at 34 Boulevard of the Allies, one that calls for reconfiguring and building upon the established structure and the other new ground-up construction pitched as a build-to-suit for a major user.

DiCicco couldn’t be reached for comment.

But the company showcases the companion proposals on its website, calling them the “Press Building” and the “Press Tower” and recently began showing the plan to potential tenants.

Any proposal by DiCicco for the site remains preliminary, still requiring full approvals from the city. It's also highly speculative, in an office market still in a state of deep stall from the Covid-19 pandemic, as most companies continue to operate under work-from-home policies, a widespread practice that is revising assumptions about what demand for office space will look like once the pandemic is fully over.

Whatever that demand may be, DiCicco’s early proposal demonstrates some ambitious assumptions about what the demand will be for the two projects.

The “Press Building” redevelopment is currently expected to be a 292,400-square-foot office building totaling nine floors, with 211 dedicated parking spaces, with an illustration showing a brick building in which new upper floors are built onto the established structure and terraced back.

The “Press Tower,” also called Commonwealth Place in the company’s marketing, is proposed as a new ground-up, 17-story office building totaling 245,730 square feet of space and offering 184 parking spaces.

Combined, the two projects rank among the biggest in the works in and around the central business district, in which the last office building built was Tower 260 at JLL Center near Market Square, which was completed in 2016.

DiCicco is dipping a toe in the water to assess a market that’s challenging to read right now but with lots of concern about the overall strength of a downtown only attracting a small fraction of its daytime population due to Covid-19.

In its most recently quarterly report on Pittsburgh's office market, Newmark Knight Frank indicated a central business district trending toward historically high vacancy, reaching 19.1 percent.

At the same time, the Pittsburgh economy overall has been improving in recent years and generating strong interest from outside investors, many seeking to develop and propose urban projects in the fringe neighborhoods beyond downtown.

A number of new projects in and around downtown are marketing their new space against downtown's established inventory of space that is generally older and not as current with meeting new tenant demands.

While it is still to be determined how the two buildings would be phased, the potential scale of the combined proposed structures are comparable in size to JMC Holdings' 1501 Penn Avenue in the Strip, totaling more than 500,000 square feet in 21 stories, and the new FNB Financial Center in the works for the Lower Hill expected to total 382,000 square feet and reach more than 24 stories on site adjacent to downtown.
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  #3759  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2020, 12:05 PM
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New Planning Commission presentation up for 8/25. Three items for this week - the last of which is pretty substantial.

1. Historic nomination of the Herron Hill Pumping Station. We covered this when it was before the HRC a few months back. I'm still not sure this is preservation is warranted. The building is very remuddled in its present state, missing basically all of its windows. It's also set quite far back from Centre, totally out of context with One on Centre across the street. This honestly feels like the selective use of historic designation to block future development.

2. Historic nomination of the Gallagher-Kieffer House. This is somewhat more warranted from the perspective of historical integrity, as its a fine single-family home built in the shingle style, which is rare in Pittsburgh. Once again though, it's in a very busy part of North Oakland (wedged between an apartment building and a church parking lot) and it feels like this is being nominated in order to block the possibility of a larger-scale structure being eventually built on the block.

3. The substantive project for next week is a new building at 1501 Penn. Yes, the proposed tower replacing the Wholey warehouse is not only not dead, but going before the Planning Commission. Despite Peduto's comments, it doesn't seem like the actual design has changed all that much. Looks like the project has met all the zoning requirments for the GT-B zoning district. I have to say I'm not a fan of the big parking garage, but it's no worse than the existing cold-storage building, I suppose. My bigger issue with the design though is the choice to essentially make Smallman the "front door" with retail, and to turn Penn Avenue into largely the service entrance (complete with a truck loading dock). I would strongly prefer this is pushed onto 15th Street.

Last edited by eschaton; Aug 19, 2020 at 3:13 PM.
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  #3760  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2020, 2:50 PM
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New Planning Commission presentation up for 8/25. Three items for this week - the last of which is pretty substantial.

1. Historic nomination of the Herron Hill Pumping Station. We covered this when it was before the HRC a few months back. I'm still not sure this is preservation is warranted. The building is very remuddled in its present state, missing basically all of its windows. It's also set quite far back from Centre, totally out of context with One on Centre across the street. This honestly feels like the selective use of historic designation to block future development.

2. Historic nomination of the Gallagher-Kieffer House. This is somewhat more warranted from the perspective of historical integrity, as its a fine single-family home built in the shingle style, which is rare in Pittsburgh. Once again though, it's in a very busy part of North Oakland (wedged between an apartment building and a church parking lot) and it feels like this is being nominated in order to block the possibility of a larger-scale structure being eventually built on the block.

3. The substantive project for next week is a new building at 1501 Penn. Yes, the proposed tower replacing the Wholey warehouse is not only not dead, but going before the Planning Commission. Despite Peduto's comments, it doesn't seem like the actual design has changed all that much. Looks like the project has met all the zoning requirments for the GT-B zoning district. I have to say I'm not a fan of the big parking garage, but it's no worse than the existing cold-storage building, I suppose. My bigger issue with the design though is the choice to essentially make Smallman the "front door" with retail, and to turn Penn Avenue into largely the service entrance (complete with a truck loading dock). I would strongly prefer this is pushed onto 16th Street.
First, thanks for taking the time to produce these informative and easy-to-use posts

Second, my thoughts...

1. Great read about the Herron Hill Pumping Station, its architect, and its context within turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh. I've actually spent the morning reading that comprehensive history, instead of doing work While I like the idea of preserving old, industrial/civil architecture as often as possible, I guess I'm on the fence with this one. It definitely qualifies based on its history and importance, though like many city properties, it hasn't been maintained one bit... but I can't deny that it is a property worthy of designation. I'm wondering if historic designation could help spur a renovation and utilization of the large lot as a public park. Considering that this is an active and vital part of the city's water distribution system, it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

2. I do imagine that this nomination is grounded in working to preserve the remaining homes on that block of N. Dithridge. However, there is no arguing its uniqueness and presence in the neighborhood. I'd like to see this block left alone anyway, so I'm all for it.

3. The corrugated panels on the garage portion could end up looking pretty cool or pretty terrible. I agree with your points about the building's entrance on Smallman and its "back" on Penn. I understand the reasoning for its "front door" facing Smallman, since it will open to the new "tech hub" across the street, the produce terminal redev, and any future development, which is heavily focused on the area between Smallman and the riverfront. The plan for the loading dock along Penn is unfortunate, and maybe better suited to where it is currently along 15th.
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