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  #3781  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2020, 7:37 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
The Strip development doesn't have any existing buildings that are taller than 4 stories...

This isn't really true. It's just a block down from the tallest building in the Strip, which is a full 10-stories. The Strip also has plenty of 5-7 story buildings. So while it's tall, it's not that ridiculously out-of-scale with the remainder of the neighborhood.
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  #3782  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2020, 7:46 PM
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There's a new 45,000 square foot homeless shelter going up in downtown. This is the location - right by the Liberty Bridge, very close to the Pittsburgh Municipal Court building and the County Jail.

Honestly, I think this is a good location which will help fill in a gap in the downtown fabric. It's very unlikely anything market rate would ever be built there, given it's such an unappealing intersection and so far away from the core of downtown. Downtown has had a growing homelessness issue as well, and absolutely needs more shelter beds.
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  #3783  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2020, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
I do like the idea of having a taller structure in the Strip, but design-wise I see this as one sticking out like a sore thumb.
First, this building isn't even in the Strip in a practical sense. West of the 16th St. Bridge is not the Strip that everyone thinks of. The area is mainly newer buildings and parking lots.

Second, as I've said on here before, the Gulf Tower stuck out like a sore thumb when it was built. The US Steel Tower stuck out like a sore thumb when it was built (and it still does from certain angles). Should these buildings not have been built?
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  #3784  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 1:35 PM
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In the least surprising move ever, Continental has been granted yet another extension in the timeline for constructing the new residential/office development on the North Shore. This is being excused by the pandemic. Continental will now have until May 2021 to begin construction on that building. Construction of the 445-space parking garage will begin this October however.

Also, a few new details regarding the new Oakland apartment building have come out. The project is a 296-unit residential building with 7,000 square feet of retail, and 1,000 square feet of office space (?). The garage will have 234 spaces.
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  #3785  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 2:38 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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September 17th ZBA is online. Items of note:

1. Eight new semi-attached townhouses in East Liberty. This is an ELDI project, so I presume these are affordable. This is the location. The design is a nice, clean, and neo-traditional. All but the corner units have front-facing garages, but at least they plan to give the units garage doors which could (depending upon the detailing) blend in well. I'm a little confused about why they're building townhouses (some with two-car garages) as affordable units in an R2-zoned area. ELDI has built other legal two-units in the surrounding blocks. It may be because of the lack of alley access means it's pretty much impossible to meet parking requirements.

2. A gigundo new project for Polish Hill! A proposed project of 27 new townhouses. This is a Rothschild-Doyno project. The location is on Herron Avenue right at the curve heading down to the Busway. This could be a big issue, because the area is zoned hillside for reasons I've never been able to ascertain, since most of the area is not actually steep (except on the back side near Herron as it begins to rise. They smartly plan to avoid this area in their development, building most of the homes on Ruthven or the lower area of Herron, which is quite flat. The design seems similar to the new Strip District townhouses also done by the firm (I will not call them brownstones goddammit, even if that's the name they chose). It certainly seems technically feasible, though due to the variances they are asking for getting it past neighborhood NIMBYS may be difficult. And I do kinda wish that there was a small apartment in the works here, since it's literally right next to Herron Station.

3. New house in California-Kirkbride. It's difficult to tell much of anything about the house from the presentation, other than it's a single story home being built on a triple-width plot with two parking pads - meaning it wouldn't fit into (what's left of) the neighborhood vernacular. That said, the location is very backwoods - there appear to only be two occupied houses left on the block - so it's not like many people will see it.
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  #3786  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 2:46 PM
Don't Be That Guy Don't Be That Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by pj3000 View Post

What the fuck does this even mean? :
“When you’ve spent time with the guy selling Steelers gear on the sidewalk, you recognize that some of the magic of that is in the kind of ability of people to put something on the sidewalk. It is the honky tonk, it is the chaos that is there that is part of it,” commission Chairwoman Christine Mondor said.
Ignoring the patronizing tone of that statement, it's ironic that the Planning Commission and others have so much concern about "preserving the charatcter of the Strip" while passing a zoning ordinance that wouldn't allow much of the Strip to be built as it is. No Cork Factory scaled structures, no low slung buildings on Penn, no big warehouse structures for future conversion.... The higgledy-piggledy of the built enviornemnt is a big part of the neighborhood's charm.
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  #3787  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 3:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Don't Be That Guy View Post
Ignoring the patronizing tone of that statement, it's ironic that the Planning Commission and others have so much concern about "preserving the charatcter of the Strip" while passing a zoning ordinance that wouldn't allow much of the Strip to be built as it is. No Cork Factory scaled structures, no low slung buildings on Penn, no big warehouse structures for future conversion.... The higgledy-piggledy of the built enviornemnt is a big part of the neighborhood's charm.
Honestly I find the soft spot that people have for the "old Strip" infuriating.

First, the "Old Strip" isn't even all that old. It was first two rowhouse neighborhoods named Northern Liberties and Bayardstown. You can in places see the isolated rowhouses which survived from that era. Then it became in the early 20th century a big area for warehousing. Once a lot of that business began to be lost to facilities out in the suburbs, the wholesalers began opening up retail stores on Penn in the mid-20th century. The Strip keeps changing every 30-50 years, and it should keep on changing.

Second, the Strip is the perfect neighborhood for new development because it had basically no residents to gentrify. In 2000, back before the Cork Factory rehab, there were only 200 residents in the entire neighborhood. There was almost no one to gentrify out due to redevelopment. It was mostly a blank canvas of empty parking lots and industrial buildings which at best housed 1/10th of the number of workers at their height, if they were even active. The few blocks of street life on Penn were supported entirely by suburbanites driving in and parking all day, making it functionally speaking identical to a strip mall.

But this weird sense of reverence that people have - that we need to protect not low-income individuals from displacement, but friggin businesses - bosses - just sticks in my craw. It's basically saying nostalgia for something which never quite existed is better than a higher and better use for land within the urban core.
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  #3788  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 3:46 PM
wpipkins2 wpipkins2 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
There's a new 45,000 square foot homeless shelter going up in downtown. This is the location - right by the Liberty Bridge, very close to the Pittsburgh Municipal Court building and the County Jail.

Honestly, I think this is a good location which will help fill in a gap in the downtown fabric. It's very unlikely anything market rate would ever be built there, given it's such an unappealing intersection and so far away from the core of downtown. Downtown has had a growing homelessness issue as well, and absolutely needs more shelter beds.
Oh! I did not realize that this would be new construction. I assumed it was a rehab in the next block up. This is very interesting and will fill in a nice gap.
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  #3789  
Old Posted Aug 27, 2020, 4:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don't Be That Guy View Post
Ignoring the patronizing tone of that statement, it's ironic that the Planning Commission and others have so much concern about "preserving the charatcter of the Strip" while passing a zoning ordinance that wouldn't allow much of the Strip to be built as it is. No Cork Factory scaled structures, no low slung buildings on Penn, no big warehouse structures for future conversion.... The higgledy-piggledy of the built enviornemnt is a big part of the neighborhood's charm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Honestly I find the soft spot that people have for the "old Strip" infuriating.

First, the "Old Strip" isn't even all that old. It was first two rowhouse neighborhoods named Northern Liberties and Bayardstown. You can in places see the isolated rowhouses which survived from that era. Then it became in the early 20th century a big area for warehousing. Once a lot of that business began to be lost to facilities out in the suburbs, the wholesalers began opening up retail stores on Penn in the mid-20th century. The Strip keeps changing every 30-50 years, and it should keep on changing.

Second, the Strip is the perfect neighborhood for new development because it had basically no residents to gentrify. In 2000, back before the Cork Factory rehab, there were only 200 residents in the entire neighborhood. There was almost no one to gentrify out due to redevelopment. It was mostly a blank canvas of empty parking lots and industrial buildings which at best housed 1/10th of the number of workers at their height, if they were even active. The few blocks of street life on Penn were supported entirely by suburbanites driving in and parking all day, making it functionally speaking identical to a strip mall.

But this weird sense of reverence that people have - that we need to protect not low-income individuals from displacement, but friggin businesses - bosses - just sticks in my craw. It's basically saying nostalgia for something which never quite existed is better than a higher and better use for land within the urban core.
I also find it annoying; Those cheap sports t-shirt sellers are the dumbest thing about the area.
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  #3790  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2020, 2:25 PM
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After watching that planning meeting, I'm even more annoyed.

There were multiple criticisms of the building's design, indicating that they:

- wished it were "better",
- wished it were "more thoughtful",
- had more "decisions per inch" on the upper portion,
- felt that the architect "did the best with what he had to work with",
- wanted to understand how it "stands in context to the riverfront",
- etc.


Yet, this is impressive design that obviously checked off all of their boxes?







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  #3791  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2020, 3:32 PM
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^I'll never understand these people. You can't build big in the suburbs. So you try to build in the city and you can't build there either. No matter what you propose, it's wrong. Massive Chinese cities with hundreds of skyscrapers are built in 5-10 years but in the US it takes that long to shit out one downsized, value engineered shitty building. We shouldn't let small groups of small minded and/or spiteful people stop the progress of American cities if the developers have put forward a quality, appropriate plan.
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  #3792  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2020, 3:42 PM
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The Planning Commission is made up of a large contingent of "do-gooders" right now.
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  #3793  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2020, 4:18 PM
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I read the planning commission's comments as basically powerless whinging. They clearly wanted to put on the record that they thought the building was ugly, but they don't believe they power to block it. Unlike the Troiani demolition, there's neither a clear element of code they are in violation of nor a grassroots movement in opposition to this. Indeed, I think Peduto is the only person outside of the Planning Commission who has really shat on this publicly.

Regarding the other Strip buildings, I will say that they're all indicative of modern design regarding how to make sure a building isn't "boring." Since neo-traditional design is still seen as gauche in architecture, and adding any sort of ornament generally does not comport with modern value engineering, you're supposed to "articulate" a facade with cut outs, or alternate between materials and colors, in order to break up the mass. I think that was what the Planning Commission was asking for TBH - not a glass box with bronze accents. I don't think that really translates well to the scale of a highrise, however, and I'm sure it doesn't meet the pro-forma anyway.

In the end though, I would prefer dense and ugly over nothing at all. There's lots of mostly modern cities (like say Athens) where the individual buildings are quite ugly, but they're smooshed together so much that it all just fades into the background given the activity on the street level.
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  #3794  
Old Posted Aug 29, 2020, 4:22 PM
themaguffin themaguffin is offline
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I keep saying developers need to propose taller projects so that the "compromise" is where they really want it to be.
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  #3795  
Old Posted Aug 29, 2020, 7:49 PM
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I keep saying developers need to propose taller projects so that the "compromise" is where they really want it to be.
I think that's already what they do but you're right, they need to leave enough room to "compromise" down to normal appropriate size.
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  #3796  
Old Posted Aug 30, 2020, 8:54 AM
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I'm just going to note again I quite like the design of the Strip office tower, as I see it being a cool nod to some signature buildings Downtown, including the Westinghouse Tower (aka 11 Stanwix), and most importantly the USX building. Of course that is buying into the idea that the Strip west of 16th should be seen as an extension of Downtown, but if you buy that vision this could be an excellent marker of the transition.

And finally, everyone is rightly bashing Mondor's quote about "the guy selling Steelers gear," but I also want to bash this!

Quote:
The renderings, she said, represent “a kind of international ideal of who occupies these buildings and who occupies our cities.”
Oh NO! We can't have Pittsburgh representing international ideals!

The truth is I think we should value our historical legacy, our unique topography, and so on. BUT we should see all that as part of embracing being on the good side of the dividing line between cities well-positioned to thrive as nodes in international networks, and those more likely to slip behind. And in cases like this, we should be just fine with the asset representing such "international ideals."
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  #3797  
Old Posted Aug 30, 2020, 7:55 PM
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^ that quote pissed me off enough that I forgot to include it in my previous post.

It almost goes along with the whole “we don’t deserve nice things because we can’t appreciate nice things” notion and that somehow a building like this is a little too good for “real Pittsburghers”.
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  #3798  
Old Posted Aug 31, 2020, 5:24 PM
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“we don’t deserve nice things because we can’t appreciate nice things”
Sounds like a direct quote from the steeler gear guy.
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  #3799  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2020, 12:44 PM
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Yesterday was a busy day in planning, if not development news.

The biggest news is Peduto unveiled planned comprehensive city land use plan. This will ultimately result in a comprehensive rezone of the entire city. More than that, basically throwing the entire existing zoning code in the trash and building a new one, rather than the small patches the city has been doing in areas like the riverfronts and Uptown.

This has apparently been on the DL for the last 18 months, though arguably it's a continuation of the abandoned PlanPGH from the previous mayor (the open space and historic preservation, and mobility aspects of that abortive plan are being included). The plan has its own web address already, although content is a little skimpy at the moment. There's a conditions and trends report which seems like it was finished back in March. I'm guessing the City was sitting on it due to COVID, and finally decided to stop delaying. There's also a pretty cool data visualization tool which shows land use for any neighborhood in the city parcel by parcel.

I have to say though a lot of what is available so far isn't that personally interesting to me. I was briefly part of a discussion on city resiliency, and "process" based stuff bores me to tears. Regardless, the open comment section of this plan will be for around the next year.

There's a map online where you can add you comments on things you would like changed in the city related to comprehensive planning. I suggest people add to this - it assuredly can't hurt things.

I also found this aspect of the City Planning website I hadn't seen before. It has a lot of new documents to me, though they're early in the planning process.

Also in planning news, it was announced yesterday the Almono/Hazelwood Green plan will be modified yet again - this time to integrate the waterfront with the development. I thought this wasn't done before because issues related to the railroad ROW, but I suppose that has been addressed.
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  #3800  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2020, 12:57 PM
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