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  #10041  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 6:21 PM
WillyC WillyC is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
I'll take your constructive criticism under advisement. Perhaps I should call more people "moronic", since apparently that is a good way not to alienate people.
I didn't call you a moron. I said you were a smart guy and that I agree with what you have to say almost all the time. What I said was your statement towards people not being attracted to the rivers was moronic.

But you obviously don't play well with others, so I'll leave you to your sandbox.
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  #10042  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 6:49 PM
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summersm343 summersm343 is offline
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With the beautiful views along the rivers in Pittsburgh, it's astonishing there is not more residential development along there. Could you imagine mid and highrise residential buildings sprinkling the landscape along the Monongahela and Allegheny along the North Shore, South Side and Downtown? That would be pretty awesome.
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  #10043  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 8:05 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Originally Posted by WillyC View Post
But you obviously don't play well with others, so I'll leave you to your sandbox.
Once again, I will do my best to match the high standard of decorum you have set.

Last edited by BrianTH; Oct 12, 2014 at 8:49 PM.
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  #10044  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 9:16 PM
daviderik daviderik is offline
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Originally Posted by summersm343 View Post
With the beautiful views along the rivers in Pittsburgh, it's astonishing there is not more residential development along there. Could you imagine mid and highrise residential buildings sprinkling the landscape along the Monongahela and Allegheny along the North Shore, South Side and Downtown? That would be pretty awesome.
I do see this in the near future. Pittsburgh is a slow moving animal. But there is no doubt a sense of "if you build it they will come" attitude in the city right now. But unknowns scare off developers. Where we see a sure thing. They always see risk. In some cases I think we can appear to be a little impatient. But we are used to the city/county/state dragging their bureaucratic feet.
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  #10045  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 9:44 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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So, I was passing through Allegheny Center today, and for the second time, I saw what looked like construction work going on right here. Lots of excavation, some piles of aggregate - site prep work basically. Anyone know what the deal is?
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  #10046  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 11:27 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Brian O'Neill is still skewering the idea of the convention center hotel:

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/...s/201410120111

I think he has a good point about the advantages of scattering convention-goers into non-attached hotels. But those are still useful development locations, so what is the alternative? Maybe mixed use with a smaller hotel but also residential?
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  #10047  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 1:47 PM
Wiz Khalifa Wiz Khalifa is offline
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Well then here, let me carpet your brain with some basic facts: Wrong. Soffer does not own the land. It is city property.

Don't be a poop. By "Pittsburgh", I'm not blaming the entire city... not even you and your little yinzer grandma.


And I was specifically talking about "waterfront" residential.
That's interesting, Continental didn't own the land either until the URA sold it for pennies on the dollar so that they could build crap. The URA is nothing more than a bunch of yes men to whatever developer has rights to the parcels.

Now you're bringing my dead grandma into this? I guess I must have struck a nerve.
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  #10048  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 1:53 PM
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markson33 markson33 is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Brian O'Neill is still skewering the idea of the convention center hotel:

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/...s/201410120111

I think he has a good point about the advantages of scattering convention-goers into non-attached hotels. But those are still useful development locations, so what is the alternative? Maybe mixed use with a smaller hotel but also residential?
While it would be nice if the scattered hotel concept could work, the reality is that, for the convention business this is a non-starter. Its a pie in the sky viewpoint that has no legs.

Many convention organizers are checking the box. 500 room hotel - check. No 500 room hotel - off the list. For example my company's annual conference requires a hotel with at least 1,000 rooms. We will not go to a city that does not have a convention hotel with at least that many rooms. This is true for many organizations.

To get the convention business to change their model is not just about making Pittsburgh's marketers more creative - it would be about a total change in the convention business, which isn't going to happen.

I'm not trying to advocate for or against a convention center hotel, but too often people spout off without thinking about the practical realities of what they are spouting about.
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  #10049  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 2:01 PM
Wiz Khalifa Wiz Khalifa is offline
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Originally Posted by WillyC View Post
The future is talked about a lot on this forum. The rivers are only going to get cleaner as time goes on, which will lower the resistance of holdouts that aren't keen to try and have fun on them.
Not if the unregulated fracking industry has anything to say about it!

Last edited by Wiz Khalifa; Oct 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM.
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  #10050  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 2:22 PM
Wiz Khalifa Wiz Khalifa is offline
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I would just much rather see (and it would ostensibly make more sense based on the size and configuration of the tract) a residential "tower" with ground floor restaurant/bar/patio on the site than an office building with the same. Put the office building where the residential developments are going and bring a quality residential project to the still vastly-underutilized Pittsburgh riverfronts.

You shouldn't have indifference about this -- at least not if you are interested in modern best practices in urban waterfront design. People sitting inside a closed-off office building does very little for the exterior atmosphere compared to the residential alternative (no matter how long people may be sitting inside at their desks -- and the vast majority will certainly not be sitting inside that office building on the weekends, nor at night). This is a
This argument is ridiculous. Yes, two 15 story buildings would obviously be better than one six story structure right on the river. However, if you change those floors to residential from office it is going to have very little overall effect on the activity around that site. You are simply shifting the times of activity of the people in the building from during the day to the evening.

Also, caring about people "sitting in their rooms" on the weekend is meaningless, as those people are doing nothing for the activity along the river. Once the huge apartment projects go in a block from the river, many of those people will walk a block to hang out at the restaurant below this building. Just staying in the room won't be as attractive of an option since they won't have panoramic river views to gawk at all weekend long. You really want people to spend less time inside if you are trying to maximize use in the surrounding urban environment.
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  #10051  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 3:09 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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Originally Posted by Wiz Khalifa View Post
This argument is ridiculous. Yes, two 15 story buildings would obviously be better than one six story structure right on the river. However, if you change those floors to residential from office it is going to have very little overall effect on the activity around that site. You are simply shifting the times of activity of the people in the building from during the day to the evening.

Also, caring about people "sitting in their rooms" on the weekend is meaningless, as those people are doing nothing for the activity along the river. Once the huge apartment projects go in a block from the river, many of those people will walk a block to hang out at the restaurant below this building. Just staying in the room won't be as attractive of an option since they won't have panoramic river views to gawk at all weekend long. You really want people to spend less time inside if you are trying to maximize use in the surrounding urban environment.
First bolded comment... completely false.

Second bolded comment... who is talking about "people sitting in their rooms"? Not me. It seems you are grossly misinterpreting things.

Third bolded comment... this is where I lose all ability to take your contributions seriously.
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  #10052  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 3:13 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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While it would be nice if the scattered hotel concept could work, the reality is that, for the convention business this is a non-starter. Its a pie in the sky viewpoint that has no legs. Many convention organizers are checking the box. 500 room hotel - check. No 500 room hotel - off the list.
Keep in mind this was the second column in a series. Here's the first:

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/...s/201410090187

I'm sure it is true certain conventions would not consider Pittsburgh without the hotel, but as the first column points out, there are many, many cities chasing those same conventions, and none of those cities are getting the return they hoped for.

What this second column is doing is also pointing out that adding an attached hotel might well subtract value from the conventions that Pittsburgh is already getting. So if it doesn't bring a lot more in conventions, and subtracts value from existing conventions, and costs the public serious money that could be spent in more useful ways--that's not such a hot idea.
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  #10053  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 3:19 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Private Dick,

I believe you said you had proof that it matters, once you control for other factors, whether there is office in the upper floors next to a river and residential in the upper floors a block in from the river, or vice-versa. I really think it would help move this conversation forward if you could show us that proof, because I think a lot of us find that a non-obvious proposition.
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  #10054  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 3:19 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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IMHO, it's not so much a question about residential versus office being better but that if you want to have the healthiest business districts, you need a balance of both. An area too strictly residential will be sleepy/dead at any time except the evenings and weekends. An area too strictly office based will be dead except around the lunchtime rush. Add both together and you get a more relatively constant number of people out walking, which creates a steady daily revenue mix for local businesses, and probably helps certain types of businesses consider locating there which might not have otherwise.
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  #10055  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 3:39 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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You claim it is proven that it matters whether the upper floors in the riverfront parcels are residential or office. OK, I'd be interested to see this proof.

I might note that people are also paying premium rates for new or newly renovated apartments all over Pittsburgh, not just at riverfront locations (e.g., throughout Downtown, BKSQ/EL, the Strip outside of the Cork Factory, and so on).
Putting a handful of floors of office space about a ground floor restaurant on a desirable waterfront parcel does not effective land use make. This is the best deal for Soffer (and Highwoods) right now because this size office market is relatively hot in Pittsburgh -- that's why it is being proposed vs. other, better alternatives for the site. One look at the haphazard SSW development on its riverfront parcels clearly displays the lack of a cohesive plan and Soffer's painful lack of expertise in this area.

I'm not quite sure how someone can stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that waterfront property is more desirable than non-waterfront property (yes, even in Pittsburgh!... though you disagree)... and not realize the connection that maximizing the desirability of the most valuable property thus plays in maximizing the desirability of the surrounding area. The "proof" you're requesting is available in cities all over the place, with great examples in a number of projects I'm working on. I'm not going to share our company's "proof" with you here, but there is ample available research on best practices in waterfront design which you are welcome to research. I can guarantee you will not find one instance of adding a 6-story office building to a waterfront parcel with zero residential and with an existing, adjacent short office building, a poorly-designed and out-of-place hotel, and a 1-story, stand alone restaurant in any best practice examples.
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  #10056  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 8:14 PM
Wiz Khalifa Wiz Khalifa is offline
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
First bolded comment... completely false.
Yet no additional comment or facts to back it up... sounds about right.


Quote:
Second bolded comment... who is talking about "people sitting in their rooms"? Not me. It seems you are grossly misinterpreting things.
Sorry, I misread the post it said sitting inside at their desks.

Quote:
Third bolded comment... this is where I lose all ability to take your contributions seriously.
Yeah, I misread the post. I'm sure you've never made that mistake before. Please continue, I certainly don't want to knock you off of your high horse.
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  #10057  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 8:31 PM
Wiz Khalifa Wiz Khalifa is offline
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
Putting a handful of floors of office space about a ground floor restaurant on a desirable waterfront parcel does not effective land use make. This is the best deal for Soffer (and Highwoods) right now because this size office market is relatively hot in Pittsburgh -- that's why it is being proposed vs. other, better alternatives for the site. One look at the haphazard SSW development on its riverfront parcels clearly displays the lack of a cohesive plan and Soffer's painful lack of expertise in this area.
Ok, great. Source? Small offices may be "hot" but the residential market is literally exploding right now. There is no comparison. Soffer and Highwoods must be looking at the market data for the wrong city if they think office will do better on this site.

Quote:
I can guarantee you will not find one instance of adding a 6-story office building to a waterfront parcel with zero residential and with an existing, adjacent short office building, a poorly-designed and out-of-place hotel, and a 1-story, stand alone restaurant in any best practice examples.
I think it is well know at this point that Soffer had no real "master plan" with any real thought or design involved for the SSW beyond the retail core.
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  #10058  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 9:07 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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I'm not expecting a major waterfront development with the scale and big-time density like this in Pittsburgh anytime soon (though I still hope we can do it someday), but the same principles apply from this project I'm currently involved with in Boston. See that the waterfront tracts are residential (with ground floor space dedicated to bar/restaurant), and one building on the marina being mixed use office/hotel/residential. The office buildings are situated behind the residential buildings, not on the water.

Lease commitments from various med-high to high-end businesses for the ground floor spaces throughout the development were contingent on the waterfront tracts being dedicated to residential. Initial proposals for one of the tracts to be office resulted in lease commitments from these dropping off by 65%. Why? Because they know that if the most valuable parts of waterfront tracts are dedicated to residential, it results in the overall development becoming that much more desirable to everyone. And the more desirable of a waterfront neighborhood that is created, the more people come to visit and return again and again to visit.








In the case of the SSW, putting a small office building on the waterfront and residential behind immediately results in residential units that are not as desirable as they would be if located on the water... and the overall success of the development as a destination in the city cannot reach its potential. Better residential = better neighborhood. It's as simple as that. At the least, I would like to see this building mixed-use.
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  #10059  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2014, 9:35 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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Ok, great. Source? Small offices may be "hot" but the residential market is literally exploding right now. There is no comparison. Soffer and Highwoods must be looking at the market data for the wrong city if they think office will do better on this site.



I think it is well know at this point that Soffer had no real "master plan" with any real thought or design involved for the SSW beyond the retail core.
Hey, I thought you were going to let me continue and not knock me off my high horse? There is nothing personal in any jabs I may take on here, so please don't ever take my posts too seriously, even ones where I might be making some sense.

To the bolded portion of your comment above... I agree with you. So then why do a suburbany office building there? I think Soffer needs cash quickly and Highwoods (as a commercial leasing company) is all too happy to oblige in a chance to develop a riverfront parcel much cheaper than they could likely do elsewhere. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Highwoods hasn't done this before -- they're primarily a leasing services and developer in more suburban-styled office parks.
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  #10060  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2014, 1:35 AM
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Here's an idea about the proposal Stabile has and regarding the desire for residential. How much trouble would it be to add 5 or 6 floors on top of the 11 or so floors of office space? That would increase the height of these buildings to 17 floors, which are on top of a 5-level, 1200-space parking garage, giving you a couple of buildings that are roughly the size of Three PNC Plaza. Plus, you're helping to satisfy the demand for both office use and residential use...

Then on the other hand, I'm sure a project like that becomes very difficult to finance if you don't have any anchor tenants for the office space(es) beneath the residential units...
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