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  #2481  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 7:52 PM
dfiler dfiler is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to find and post all of those updates eschaton!

Is it just me or does there seem to be much more development than in years past. There's actually so much going on that I can't keep track of it anymore.
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  #2482  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 11:52 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PITairport View Post
"In announcing the acquisition, Next Tier stated that new leases have been signed, but did not name the tenants."
Here is the complex, with outdoor track and a megaton of surface parking:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/43...!4d-79.7489699

Monroeville has been a sort of low-key positive development story for quite a while now. It has a complex up and down and (slowly) back up history, tied in part to the complex history of firms like Westinghouse, and also the redevelopment of other competing areas (it is a textbook case of how certain sorts of development more just more around certain economic activity versus actually increase the total size of the pie--for example, as retail and entertainment came back to areas like the Waterfront and East Liberty, it pretty obviously undermined Monroeville, where people from the East End used to go for such things).

But it remains the sort of "capital city" of the second-ring eastern suburbs (second ring defined as the suburbs primarily built out in the decades immediately after WWII), and its recovery has included new hospitals, hotels, redeveloped office/lab/light-industrial properties, and so on. Its population is also relatively stable.

If anyone is interested in a little well-done background reading, here is an interesting (albeit starting to age) piece on second-ring suburbs and the challenges they face, using a Minnesota example:

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/...d-ring-suburbs
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  #2483  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 12:13 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Meanwhile, the many business park locations available in the airport area also keep moving along:

https://www.post-gazette.com/busines...s/201906210112

Quote:
Al. Neyer is headquartered in Cincinnati but it is making a home for itself right at Pittsburgh International Airport. The developer has been selected to erect up to four buildings at the 30-acre McClaren Business Park, a piece of land controlled by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Authority board members voted Friday to give the go-ahead to negotiate a development agreement for the site, located at the intersection of Interstate 376 and McClaren Road.

It marks the latest venture on airport land by Al. Neyer, which also is in the process of developing five buildings at the authority-controlled Clinton Commerce Park. Mark Vella, Al. Neyer senior vice president of business development, said the company has about a dozen projects going in the airport corridor. There are good reasons it has chosen to build there, he explained.

“If you look at national statistics, there is a demand for industrial warehouse space. It usually needs to be on an interstate corridor with access to an airport and an available workforce,” he said. “The airport hits all of those things.”
I note this is all underscores the insanity of spending billions on the Southern Beltway and Mon-Fayette.

Both the airport area and the Monroeville area still have a whole bunch of development sites--and in fact the upcoming airport reconfiguration will open a massive new development opportunity right next to the airport in the former long/extended parking zone. And in terms of interstate access to both areas outside the region and into the core area, they are already well-served (with the understanding interstates are a very limited technology when it comes to core area access, due to their low peak capacity--but in off peak times, 376 allows easy rapid access).

So basically every notable public policy goal would be best served by concentrating on continuing to increase the density of use in those areas. And to the extent additional transportation policy can help that, it should take the form of rapid, convenient, high-capacity links between existing residential communities and those jobs areas.

The SB/MFE instead involves spending billions on nominally connecting those areas with limited access, low-capacity toll roads that primarily circle well outside the existing developed footprint into possible greenfield development areas. I note that's really only a nominal connection between Monroeville and the airport area, as almost always it will continue to make much more sense to just take the existing such connection--376. So really the SB/MFE is about providing limited access freeways to those new greenfield development sites.

That's to the benefit of the contractors expecting to get those billions in construction contracts, and to the developers expecting to put new developments in those greenfield areas.

But it sucks for the many existing, but underutilized, communities actually already near the airport or Monroeville. And in fact it also undermines the goal of maximizing the densification of use within the airport and Monroeville regions themselves. Instead of two maximally dense satellite city areas on either side of the central city with their own close residential rings, these billions are being spent in an effort to smear that same economic and development activity out along a low-density Southern arc.

And so that's bad for the general public too. But it sure will help dump cash into some powerful pockets.

Last edited by BrianTH; Jun 22, 2019 at 12:46 PM.
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  #2484  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 1:21 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post
Is it just me or does there seem to be much more development than in years past. There's actually so much going on that I can't keep track of it anymore.
Victory lap for Ray Gastil:

https://www.post-gazette.com/local/c...s/201906210082
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  #2485  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2019, 1:46 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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More really interesting background reading, Brookings has a report out about perceived jobs density, or what I would call weighted average density. The report explains the concept, but basically rather than looking over the whole area and calculating the average jobs per unit of land, you use a weighting calculation to figure out how clustered the jobs are within that broader area. Here is the report in both interactive graphic and PDF forms:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/w...s-and-regions/

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content...rt.pdf#page=14

There are many interesting observations in the report, but as to Pittsburgh specifically--apparently by this measure, as of 2015 Pittsburgh ranked as the 7th highest weighted jobs density metro area, after NYC, SF, Honolulu, Chicago, Seattle, and Philly. Next after us in the top 10 are Minneapolis-Saint Paul, LA, and Las Vegas. Not bad!

But I note for data reasons, three major metros, Boston, Washington DC, and Milwaukee are not included (and it is probably a good bet the first two of those would rank above us). But otherwise we still ranked ahead of cities like Denver, Portland, Cleveland, Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Phoenix, Miami, and many others.

On the bad side, we were one of the metros where as of 2015 this density measure was falling, despite the national average increasing. And we were specifically well below what they called the expected change, which is basically what would happen if new jobs were being added where the old jobs were already located.

So from a big picture development standpoint, we currently have a pretty good set up in terms of weighted jobs density. Which is good because more jobs clustering leads to all sorts of economic and policy efficiencies that fosters better overall outcomes.

But we should be worried we are slipping. Which again means we should be thinking about how to help get more development within existing jobs clusters, versus investing public capital in opening up new site locations in greenfield areas.
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  #2486  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2019, 1:19 AM
ks2006 ks2006 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
A flat neighborhood right between Downtown and Oakland, and adjacent to Duquense and the soon-to-be-expanding Mercy hospital complex, should be a top residential location. Hopefully highrise means at least 10 stories.
Yes that area should be prime for development now. Although its got competition from the Strip, and station square and north shore areas, and soon to be from the lower Hill. but it seems like the trend is moving in all of these areas, its gotta be an exicting time for the fringe of downtown Pgh!

Really Pgh just has an embarassment of prime locations that are due/trending for development with really great views as well. What I'm wondering is, can any other city in the nation match it for that? Any contenders?
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  #2487  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2019, 4:16 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Looks like the city was thinking along the same lines I was. City Planning has a new page (still not much content) calling for a new master plan for Oakland. Looks like the goal is to have a completed master plan within a bit less than two years.
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  #2488  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2019, 7:00 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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I'm not the best photographer, but here's some recent ones I've taken.

First, yesterday my wife and I had dinner at the new restaurant at the top of the Tryp Hotel in Lawrenceville, Over Eden. The food was good, but the panoramic view of the city absolutely has to be experienced:





Some sets of townhouses under construction in Deutschtown:





A facade restoration of a historic apartment building in Allegheny West:



I also took some photos at Carrie Furnace, but they aren't really development related.
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  #2489  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2019, 7:17 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I also took some photos at Carrie Furnace, but they aren't really development related.
Hopefully they will be some day!
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  #2490  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2019, 7:19 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Century III to be razed for redevelopment:

https://www.post-gazette.com/busines...s/201906210117

Quote:
The owners hope to demolish the nearly vacant mall and redevelop it into a site with multiple buildings that will feature “office, residential, hotel, entertainment and restaurant uses,” according to court documents filed Friday afternoon. The sole remaining tenant in the mall, J.C. Penney, features in the proposed plan. The owner intends to keep the portion of the mall where the department store stands, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Construction will take place over a five-year period. In addition to loans, the undertaking would be partially financed through tax-increment financing — a deal in which the borough, West Mifflin School District, and Allegheny County would agree to forego a portion of the tax revenue.
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  #2491  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2019, 7:30 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Century III to be razed for redevelopment:

https://www.post-gazette.com/busines...s/201906210117
PBT has more details behind the paywall. The developent is supposed to happen over five years, and will include up to 14 buildings. These include a 185,500 square foot office/retail building, another at 89,000 square feet, a 209,340 senior living facility, an entertainment complex, and "a number of restaurants."

I don't anticipate that a new, mixed-use community in that area will be all that desirable. It's far from the city, not close to any rapid transit, not near a highway, and in a mediocre school district.

That said, that swathe of suburbia is really lacking any sort of intact walkable business district, due to the sorry state of much of the Mon Valley (basically nothing south of Homestead and a little bit of commercial vitality in Brentwood). So maybe in the absence of nearby real traditional neighborhoods a "fake" one will suffice.
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  #2492  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2019, 1:19 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Article on the proposed Forward and Murray project:

https://www.nextpittsburgh.com/city-...e-development/

Quote:
The proposed Flats on Forward will include ground-level retail and three floors of affordable housing, with two floors of office space on top. The development will take up space currently occupied by a vacant lot and the long-shuttered Squirrel Hill theater, which ACTION-Housing formally purchased in May. All units will be priced to be affordable to residents making 60 percent or less than the area’s median income. . . .

Speaking to NEXTpittsburgh, Linda Metropulos, ACTION-Housing’s vice president of real estate development, says the nonprofit organization was inspired to expand their footprint following the popularity of the 33 affordable residences at Krause Commons, which opened in December. “There was a huge demand for those units, just incredible,” says Metropulos. “And so, we just thought, let’s just keeping going with creating opportunities for lower-income individuals in Squirrel Hill.”

As Metropulos explains, rising market rates have made affordable housing a pressing local need across our city, but the problem is especially acute in neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill. “As the whole marketplace has changed in Pittsburgh, predominantly in the East End, those more affordable options are fewer and fewer,” says Metropulos.
Given that it is affordable housing, I think the design is pretty nice:



Also, because of the slope it basically becomes a 7-story building at the corner, which would also be nice.

Meanwhile the project going into the wedge of land between Forbes and Murray to the southwest is also coming along. So if they get their housing credits and this gets built, that whole corner south of Forward will have been radically transformed:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mu...9!4d-79.923588

Last edited by BrianTH; Jun 25, 2019 at 1:37 PM.
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  #2493  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2019, 8:23 PM
BobMcKelvin BobMcKelvin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
PBT has more details behind the paywall. The developent is supposed to happen over five years, and will include up to 14 buildings. These include a 185,500 square foot office/retail building, another at 89,000 square feet, a 209,340 senior living facility, an entertainment complex, and "a number of restaurants."

I don't anticipate that a new, mixed-use community in that area will be all that desirable. It's far from the city, not close to any rapid transit, not near a highway, and in a mediocre school district.

That said, that swathe of suburbia is really lacking any sort of intact walkable business district, due to the sorry state of much of the Mon Valley (basically nothing south of Homestead and a little bit of commercial vitality in Brentwood). So maybe in the absence of nearby real traditional neighborhoods a "fake" one will suffice.
I think it will be interesting to see what happens with this site. Given the overall decline of shopping malls in America, this will be the Pittsburgh area’s first attempt at rethinking all of that space and seas of parking lots, but certainly not its last. (Edit: not the first; Washington Mall has been sitting vacant for years)

There are already tons of stores and restaurants in that immediate area, so they will have to create something truly unique to pull people in.

I know I wouldn’t want to live there but I imagine if they build something new and market it, people will come.

I would really like to see some green infrastructure and stormwater controls put in place. What a great improvement it would be for that whole area if that sea of concrete and giant building were replaced with alternatives that capture stormwater on site.
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  #2494  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 10:48 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Pittsburghers for Public Transit has a new survey/website where it uses your survey answers to help design an East Busway extension proposal:

https://eastbusway.pittsburghforpublictransit.org/

Ultimately they intend to use the data gathered through this tool to help support proposals to policymakers.
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  #2495  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 12:30 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Pittsburghers for Public Transit has a new survey/website where it uses your survey answers to help design an East Busway extension proposal:

https://eastbusway.pittsburghforpublictransit.org/

Ultimately they intend to use the data gathered through this tool to help support proposals to policymakers.
This looks like a really cool survey. But I spend so little time in the survey area (I barely ever travel east of Wilkinsburg/Regent Square) that I couldn't intelligently fill out the survey.
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  #2496  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 1:30 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
This looks like a really cool survey. But I spend so little time in the survey area (I barely ever travel east of Wilkinsburg/Regent Square) that I couldn't intelligently fill out the survey.
That makes sense. As a denizen of Wilkinsburg/Regent Square, who also goes out to Monroeville and other inner eastern suburbs sometimes, I had some feelings to share. But I think even I probably contributed most just by being an example of someone currently using the East Busway, the idea being more people could be like me if it was extended.
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  #2497  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 4:28 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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It has often been reported that Pittsburgh is a bargain in terms of housing costs, but this is an interesting way of putting it:

https://triblive.com/local/pittsburg...d-city-in-u-s/

The cited report creates a model to estimate what housing is expected to cost per square foot, based on a number of factors (apparently including weather!), then compares it to actual observed cost. And Pittsburgh ranks at the top in terms of the difference between expected and observed prices, by over $158/sqft.

Of course many will point out there is an issue with older housing stock and depreciation (although for those of us who like old houses, this can be a good thing). And also an issue with property tax rates, which are higher in part precisely because the assessed values are so low.

But still, I have zero doubt this is basically true--you are saving not just a little but a lot by buying in Pittsburgh versus many other more expensive cities.
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  #2498  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 4:36 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Pittsburgh was one of the few cities where transit ridership actually increased in 2018. And it was all thanks to buses--rail ridership actually dropped a bit:

http://transitcenter.org/2019/02/27/...hese-7-cities/

That article goes into more detail about why that might have happened:

https://grist.org/article/why-is-bus...pt-pittsburgh/

As noted there, though, we're still well below where we were before funding and service were cut. On the plus side, I think we are identifying ways ridership can efficiently be increased. Combine that with more funding again, and we could end up with a more robust AND efficient system.
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  #2499  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 4:49 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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This data about Pittsburgh's office rent premium for "significant walkable urban places" (WalkUPs) has been making the rounds (headline, we rank 12th among the nation’s 30 largest metro areas with a 60% premium). But O'Neill did some nice followup reporting:

https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion...s/201906270018

Interesting passage:

Quote:
And the trend is the WalkUP’s friend — particularly in Pittsburgh. Christopher Leinberger, the George Washington University scholar who co-authored the study, “Foot Traffic Ahead,” says this metro area far outstrips any other in the percentage of walkable office, retail and apartment space that’s been added.

He pointed to something called our WalkUP absorption rate. That only sounds like what Rosie might do with her Bounty towels when she gets home from work. In real estate terms, if more people sign leases than give up leases, you’ll have positive net absorption. And in Pittsburgh, the absorption rate for urban WalkUPs is 126%, far ahead of Denver and Boston, nearly tied for second at 99%.

“You’re the only metro area that went over 100% net absorption,’’ Mr. Leinberger said. . . . Pittsburgh’s been adding new product in its walkable areas and vacating business parks and strip malls since 2010, he said.
This is the measurable outcome of all the successful office developments we track here going into our WalkUP areas, which for the record are:

Quote:
There are only 13 WalkUps in the seven-county Pittsburgh metro area, all but one in the city that bears its name. The first dozen spots shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone — but the 13th might. In mostly alphabetical order, they are: Bloomfield, Central Oakland, Downtown, East Liberty, North Oakland, the North Shore, the North Side, Shadyside, the South Side Flats, Squirrel Hill, the Strip, Uptown/Soho — and downtown Uniontown.
As noted there as well, Lawrenceville might have made the list if it wasn't divided into three neighborhoods (putting each below the required scale level), and suburbs like Mt. Lebanon are getting close.

Anyway, this is yet more confirmation the Pittsburgh market still very much wants this sort of development activity. And really, it fits into the bigger picture of many of these different pieces, as it has implications for transportation/transit policy as well--not least where we should be investing, and what we should be investing in, in order to help support this trend.
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  #2500  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2019, 8:32 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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New Planning Commission schedule up for 7/02. Three new items for next week:

1. Sign permitting for Heinz Field. Specifically, a little bar facing Art Rooney Avenue which will have sidewalk seating.

2. An entrance renovation to Fifth Avenue Place, often called "the Highmark Building." It's basically just modernizing the entrance on Penn Avenue, eliminating the fake bronze/gold and making it a much simpler aluminum and glass front.

3. The final plan for next week is a reskinning of 2 PNC Plaza (620 Liberty Avenue) The plan is essentially to brighten up the building by replacing the current black panels with lighter grey glass. Honestly it will make the building a lot less distinctive overall, but I'm guessing it will help with summer air conditioning at least.
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