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  #861  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2018, 10:34 PM
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AaronPGH AaronPGH is offline
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Whole Foods absolutely still wants to move. That is one of the top performing stores in the whole company per square foot. It's far too small for the level of business it does, and it's outdated. If anything, they may be tepid about stepping into that specific project at this point after it's been so controversial. If I were them, I would be exploring options.
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  #862  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 11:25 AM
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Interesting article on recent office reports:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business...s/201804180071

Some large subleases being marketed have increased the vacancy rate, but prices are still increasing, with strong demand particularly in Downtown and the East End. So commentators are pretty sanguine about how things are going.
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  #863  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 2:24 PM
bmust71 bmust71 is offline
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Walnut Capital gets rejected at the ZBA hearing for their 9 story office height variance request at bakery square 2.0. Did not expect them to get rejected
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  #864  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 3:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bmust71 View Post
Walnut Capital gets rejected at the ZBA hearing for their 9 story office height variance request at bakery square 2.0. Did not expect them to get rejected
That's surprising.
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  #865  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 5:43 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Originally Posted by bmust71 View Post
Walnut Capital gets rejected at the ZBA hearing for their 9 story office height variance request at bakery square 2.0. Did not expect them to get rejected
Here's the Business Times Article...

Quote:
The Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment has rejected Walnut Capital Partners request for a variance to add three stories and nearly 130,000 square feet to a second office building at its Bakery Square 2.0 master plan.

After the development company originally presented its plan to the ZBA in mid-February, the ZBA announced that it had rejected Walnut Capital’s variance requests at its regularly scheduled Thursday morning meeting.

In response to the variance rejection, Bill Sittig, a lawyer who represents Walnut Capital, withdrew a new variance request for height to build a new 10-story, 1,000-car garage at 6447 Dahlem Street on property in Larimer close to Bakery Square.

Sittig declined further comment.

Walnut Capital had sought to build a second office building at its Bakery Square 2.0 site that would total 130 feet in height and 330,000 square feet, a scale Walnut Capital principal Todd Reidbord indicated was in response to office demand.

The company has already been approved for the master plan of the Bakery Square 2.0 site to develop a building of six stories and about 200,000 square feet for a site that fronts on Penn Avenue next to the first building there.

Walnut Capital also has sought zoning variances for floor area ratio as well as for a height above the zoning limit of 85 feet for the new office building.

In February, Reidbord discussed the new larger building in the context of a larger strategy to connect it to a new garage, said to be 800 spaces then, as well as to a proposed transit station in Larimer.

Sources have indicated that Walnut Capital has been in advanced negotiations to lease upwards of 200,000 square feet at its new building at Bakery Square 2.0 to Philips Respironics, which has been scouting for a new location in which to consolidate what’s expected to be a regional office headquarters.
The Philips deal is potentially dead now. With the variance defeated, the final office building will have just enough space for just Philips, but if Walnut Capital had agreements with some other potential tenants the new building might not serve their needs.

Maybe this will work out for the best though, and move along one of Walnut Capital's other office projects to a quicker completion date.
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  #866  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 6:10 PM
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May HRC agenda is online. Items of interest:

1. A new Hunt Armory plan by Mosites and Pfaffmann + Associates. The plan is for the armory to become a mixed-use structure, with ground-floor parking, assembly space, two ice rinks, and a small office component in the gun shed area. The building will, for the most part, be preserved as is, although they want to add a small addition to the gun shed area in order to have it work as three stories of office space. On the primary facade, the two additional stories will be stepped back and only minimally visible.

2. Facade restoration/expansion of 100 W North Avenue - the "Knights of Malta" building formerly occupied by the Salvation Army. This is right across from City of Assylum's new building, along with the just restored Bradbury. The building is currently a bit remuddled - particularly with the use of glass block on about half the windows, so the restoration work will help tremendously. In addition, a rear expansion is going to add a new stairway/elevator tower, garage, and living space. There still will be some open space in the rear, partially used up by a "yard" and partially a paved courtyard area for pulling into the new garage. It does not say explicitly what the building will be used for, but it seems to be apartments.

3. An updated version of "The Woods House" plan - to turn a very old stone house in Hazelwood into a Scottish pub - is included.

Not much else. One residential project in the Mexican War Streets, two in Schenley Farms, and the City asking to demolish a house in Manchester. 930 Penn Avenue is on the agenda, but confusingly not included in the presentation.
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  #867  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 6:13 PM
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Downtown skyscraper could be converted into 'lifestyle boutique hotel'

http://www.post-gazette.com/business...s/201804190065



Quote:
One of Downtown’s oldest and most ornate skyscrapers could be the site of the city’s latest hotel development.

New Orleans-based HRI Properties has plans to convert the 18-story Arrott Building at 401 Wood St. into a boutique hotel.

HRI, under the name Urban Pittsburgh Downtown Hotel Company LLC, acquired the real estate from Batra Hospitality Group Inc. last September, according to Allegheny County real estate records.

The building — constructed in 1902 by noted architect Frederick J. Osterling, who also designed the historic Union Trust Building on Grant Street — has housed offices for its entire life. It is now empty.
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  #868  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2018, 6:22 PM
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And in much more important news... yet people are still excited about a huge ethane cracker plant in the region...

Pittsburgh's air quality among worst in nation, study says

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/env...s/201804180109



Quote:
Pittsburgh’s air quality is among the worst in the nation and not improving, according to a new study from the American Lung Association.

The findings come in the association’s annual “State of the Air” report based on data from 2014 to 2016.

Pittsburgh’s metro region, which consists of Western Pennsylvania and small portions of West Virginia and Ohio, fell from 17th to 10th worst out of 201 regions for daily measure of fine particulate (PM 2.5) pollution, according to the study.

Allegheny County in particular received straight F grades for ozone, daily particulate matter levels and long-term particulate levels, making it the only county outside of California to receive straight F’s in all three categories.

Of all counties in the state, only Allegheny experienced an increase in the frequency of unhealthy days for particulate pollution, 6 to 8.5 — the highest in any county east of Utah.
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  #869  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 3:03 AM
Don't Be That Guy Don't Be That Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Here's the Business Times Article...



The Philips deal is potentially dead now. With the variance defeated, the final office building will have just enough space for just Philips, but if Walnut Capital had agreements with some other potential tenants the new building might not serve their needs.

Maybe this will work out for the best though, and move along one of Walnut Capital's other office projects to a quicker completion date.
The mind boggles why a nine-story building in one of the densest parts of the city should even need a variance. That sort of development should be allowed by-right in East Liberty and Oakland.
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  #870  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 5:02 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Bummer about the variance. There is really zero reason why it would be bad.

New life for Arrott building is great news.

CMU is going to do all sorts of cool stuff at the renovated airport:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business...s/201804190126
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  #871  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 1:53 PM
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The mind boggles why a nine-story building in one of the densest parts of the city should even need a variance. That sort of development should be allowed by-right in East Liberty and Oakland.
The area of Bakery Square was a "specially planned" zone by the city. Essentially the zoning code for it was written in consultation with Walnut Capital (and its partner at the time). To some extent the ZBA might see this as the developer "going back on its word" and thus might be less inclined to grant this than normal zoning variances. Indeed, I can't recall any time before that an SP or AP-zoned area had gone to ZBA, though part of this is undoubtedly because relatively little of the city is zoned in that manner.

IIRC, ELDI spoke in support of the project, and the Larimer Consensus Group was neutral. The only person that was publicly opposed was a single Point Breeze NIMBY who lived three blocks away at the corner of S. Linden and Reynolds and wouldn't have been able to see the project from her home.
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  #872  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:05 PM
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Ground has broken on the restoration of the northeast fountain in Allegheny Commons:

https://www.nextpittsburgh.com/city-...athering-spot/

Quote:
The rebuilt fountain will mirror the original 19th-century design, including a 50-foot circular stone basin, a rim of heavy cast stone, a large Grecian-style vase in the center, a tall principal jet and 16 smaller jets. Beyond it, in a return to the park’s original design as a Victorian landscape for strolling and relaxing, a garden with walkways, benches and lighting will be added.

“The founders of Pittsburgh’s public parks understood well the value of fountains in urban parks,” Miller said. “With their sprays and splashes of sparkling water, fountains delight the senses and provide a respite from the harsher sounds and sights of the surrounding urban environment. They bring together friends, family, and strangers, and serve as a point of entry into the larger park landscape.”
This is in an extremely prominent location, and I am excited for its potential to welcome people into the park.

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  #873  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:10 PM
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A new ZBA report is up for 5/10. I'm a bit confused, because no schedule has yet been posted for next week, but maybe they're taking a week off. Anyway:

1. Conversion of 7502 Thomas Boulevard (typo on ZBA schedule) from a warehouse to an office and restaurant. This is directly across from the East End Co-Op in North Point Breeze. The plot contains two main structures, a three-story larger structure, and a smaller two-story building. There's also a third one-story structure in the rear. I'm guessing since the variance asks for off-site parking (and reduced parking) they're looking to convert the larger building into offices and the smaller one into the restaurant, but retain both of them. This will potentially be a great asset to North Point Breeze, which could begin booming soon with the much larger project on Lexington starting in a few years.

2. A seven-story mixed-use structure with attached parking at 2200 Smallman - right across from Saint Stanislaus Church. Someone on the forum posted some shots of renderings a few months back - I seem to recall the massing is going to be pretty substantial and there's some "interesting" corner details at Smallman and 21st. I don't have high confidence in Desmone's design skill however.

Nothing else of interest, just small residential rehab projects and things like signs and privacy fences.
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  #874  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:13 PM
bmust71 bmust71 is offline
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A groundbreaking ceremony was held today (or yesterday) for the 'highline' project which involves the transformation of the terminal building in the south side. For some reason I thought ground broke on this more than 6 months ago...
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  #875  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:33 PM
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Some hiccups with Aerotropolis Pittsburgh:

http://www.post-gazette.com/business...s/201804200062

Basic summary--the subsidized Qatar freight flight is falling short of expectations, leading to the possibility of higher subsidies and ultimately failure, so they are rerouting through Chicago instead of Atlanta to see if that helps.

I wouldn't be upset about the subsidies if it still fails--it was definitely worth a shot. But there is a lesson here about the potential limits of relying on airport-centric development. At the end of the day, it is about providing a valuable service, not independently driving the economy.
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  #876  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:39 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
1. Conversion of 7502 Thomas Boulevard (typo on ZBA schedule) from a warehouse to an office and restaurant. This is directly across from the East End Co-Op in North Point Breeze. The plot contains two main structures, a three-story larger structure, and a smaller two-story building. There's also a third one-story structure in the rear. I'm guessing since the variance asks for off-site parking (and reduced parking) they're looking to convert the larger building into offices and the smaller one into the restaurant, but retain both of them. This will potentially be a great asset to North Point Breeze, which could begin booming soon with the much larger project on Lexington starting in a few years.
Yeah, there is a ton of potential in that area.

I also note it is not far from Wilkinsburg Station on the Busway, with its huge park-and-ride lot:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4395.../data=!3m1!1e3

I keep thinking an East Liberty Transit Center-type project there would really be great . . . maybe when East Liberty is a little more built out.
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  #877  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 2:53 PM
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Speaking of which, I was aware Wilkinsburg was conducting a TRID study, but I didn't realize the RFP included this rendering until I looked it up just now:

https://www.wilkinsburgpa.gov/wp-con...FP-6-22-17.pdf

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  #878  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 7:20 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Speaking of which, I was aware Wilkinsburg was conducting a TRID study, but I didn't realize the RFP included this rendering until I looked it up just now:

https://www.wilkinsburgpa.gov/wp-con...FP-6-22-17.pdf

Not bad at all.

As a bit of an aside, about once per week I take the P1 out that way and meet my wife and daughter after her gymnastics class. I get off at Homewood Station, and it's not an awful walk of 10 minutes. Wilkinsburg station is physically much closer, but even if I didn't mind jumping the fence and crossing the railroad tracks on foot, there's a big grade change to get down to the streets beyond. Some sort of pedestrian bridge/stairway would really open up that whole area between Braddock, Penn, and the Busway to transit commuters more.

Looking at that concept drawing, it seems like they do move Wilkinsburg Station slightly however, to very close to the intersection of Penn and Pitt. That would make it much more functional as a pedestrian transit stop, instead of a park and ride - particularly if Penn Avenue is altered to be a bit more pedestrian friendly as well.
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  #879  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 11:52 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Not bad at all.

As a bit of an aside, about once per week I take the P1 out that way and meet my wife and daughter after her gymnastics class. I get off at Homewood Station, and it's not an awful walk of 10 minutes. Wilkinsburg station is physically much closer, but even if I didn't mind jumping the fence and crossing the railroad tracks on foot, there's a big grade change to get down to the streets beyond. Some sort of pedestrian bridge/stairway would really open up that whole area between Braddock, Penn, and the Busway to transit commuters more.

Looking at that concept drawing, it seems like they do move Wilkinsburg Station slightly however, to very close to the intersection of Penn and Pitt. That would make it much more functional as a pedestrian transit stop, instead of a park and ride - particularly if Penn Avenue is altered to be a bit more pedestrian friendly as well.
It looks to me like there is some sort of grand staircase from the relocated Station down to Penn (right now that is just a retaining wall with a mural). That would be incredibly handy for just the reason you mentioned.

I've also heard they are talking about opening up the passage at the Train Station, which comes out on Pennwood as seen here:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wi...!4d-79.8819942
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  #880  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2018, 8:55 PM
BobMcKelvin BobMcKelvin is offline
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I was out in the South Hills the other day and while driving along Bethel Church Road, I noticed the old Drake line for the T is still maintained in pristine condition. The loop no longer exists, but I can’t figure out why they would keep these tracks so nice if they never use the line. Anyone have any insight?
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