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  #10021  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Austinlee Austinlee is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Courtesy of Adam Shuck, great "The Digs" (PG archives) article and photos on the George Westinghouse Bridge:

http://pgdigs.tumblr.com/post/996124...ge-pittsburghs
That is such an amazing bridge. I love the Westinghousev bridge and the similar style one over I-376 near Sq Hill.
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  #10022  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2014, 10:51 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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Isn't that just a function of what you do at ground floor? I've never noticed the upper floors of residential towers doing anything for the surrounding atmosphere (in fact I have spent a lot of time looking at residential towers wondering, "Doesn't anyone ever use those balconies?").
I catch your drift. Ground level use is undoubtedly a major deal. Though a substantial residential development on those riverfront lots coupled with ground level attraction automatically creates a 24-hour dense activity zone there in a manner that an office building with a ground level "grille" simply cannot. It's not really about balconies being there, but rather about people being there (and not a few blocks away or across the street).

You just can't create a vibrant waterfront when you dedicate the majority of it to office space -- and that's what that SSW riverfront basically is/will be. That entire westernmost tract of prime waterfront property to become a squat, short 6-story building? To go along with more office buildings and a hotel with nothing on the ground floor. Yuck. Why not two slim 10-15 story apartment buildings instead? They'd fill up quick and dramatically change the SSW area from chintzy chainy land to desirable waterfront marina living locale.

Waterfront... restaurants... marina... park... 6-story suburban-looking office building. Which one doesn't quite belong?

I'd go out on a limb here and say office building, but the plans sound pretty firm, so I have to go with marina now... because there's not going to be a marina of the size that was planned now that an office building is going there. Waterfront development failure. It should be rather embarrassing that a German beer hall chain has done the best job of integrating into the waterfront environment and creating a vibrant atmosphere. But good for Hofbrauhaus.

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Originally Posted by SkyPittsburgh View Post
Some good preservation news:
I recently spoke with ELDI (East Liberty Development Incorporated) about the status of Saint Peter's and Paul's Church in East Liberty (http://goo.gl/maps/QeRI8) and ELDI is coming close to closing on the property, and is hoping to begin planning for restoration shortly.
This is very good news.
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  #10023  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 1:16 AM
George Woods George Woods is offline
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95 posts in only 5 years!
Well, when one doesn't have a job that involves being at a computer and, therefore, only gets around to looking at the forum after discussions have already taken place, one is not often encouraged to post. Furthermore, when one does occasionally post, and is subsequently ridiculed sarcastically for posting so seldom, one has even less incentive to bother. I mean, how old are you? So fucking petty. Whatever. I'll just periodically check for development-related stories that I don't have time to find myself.
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  #10024  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 1:59 AM
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Steel is going up at Schenley Place office building. If the link is not working, try: http://tinyurl.com/owtggen
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  #10025  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 4:57 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
It's not really about balconies being there, but rather about people being there (and not a few blocks away or across the street).
I have to admit, I don't understand that parenthetical at all. Thinking about the cool walkable urban areas I know about, I'm not even sure what was directly above all those ground level amenities, and it doesn't seem like a problem for people to walk across the street or to the next block to go to a restaurant, club, or so on.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the whole point of living in a vibrant walkable urban area is to make it easy get out of your own building and have a variety of choices of fun stuff to do.

Quote:
You just can't create a vibrant waterfront when you dedicate the majority of it to office space -- and that's what that SSW riverfront basically is/will be. That entire westernmost tract of prime waterfront property to become a squat, short 6-story building? To go along with more office buildings and a hotel with nothing on the ground floor. Yuck. Why not two slim 10-15 story apartment buildings instead? They'd fill up quick and dramatically change the SSW area from chintzy chainy land to desirable waterfront marina living locale.
So you have at least four variables here: use, ground floor treatment, scale, and design quality. I certainly think ground floor treatment matters. I think scale can matter, although I think that is more a density issue than a height issue per se, and blocky six-story buildings can in fact achieve enough density for vibrant neighborhoods. Design quality can mean a lot of different things, but depending on your desired demographic I can see it mattering.

But basically, the thing I am questioning is whether use matters once you have controlled for these other things. Of course you wouldn't want an area to be all office, but it does seem desirable to have mixed use, including healthy amounts of both residential and office, for a variety of reasons. And if that is true, then I really still don't see why it actually matters if a given riverfront building is office and the building across the street is residential, or vice versa.

If instead what you are saying is the SSW would be different if it was a high-end 15-story area rather than a middle-market 6-story area . . . well sure, but that is about something different than which specific parcels are office and which residential.

Quote:
Waterfront development failure. It should be rather embarrassing that a German beer hall chain has done the best job of integrating into the waterfront environment and creating a vibrant atmosphere. But good for Hofbrauhaus.
As an aside, I think there has long been a bit of an overcorrection in certain circles when it comes to our riverfront areas. Of course no longer devoting them exclusively to dirty industrial uses is welcome. On the other hand, this is not Miami Beach or the French Riviera we are talking about. For most people at most times, the rivers themselves are not much of an attraction (people don't want to swim in them, don't want to smell that "great river air", don't particularly care about ogling coal barges, and so on). Rather, the most notable nice thing about being on the riverfronts is usually the unimpeded view of the stuff on the other side of the river, but often you can get that same view (or better) from an upper floor of a building off the river, or from one of the slopes near the river.

Accordingly, I think it is actually rather fitting that our riverfronts are being devoted largely to parks and trails. That is good water management, and also makes use of the relatively level riverfronts for non-car transportation, and finally makes those nice views readily accessible on demand for free. But to the extent people keep imagining parts of Pittsburgh's riverfronts resembling Navy Pier in the future, I think they are really overestimating what sort of value people will place simply on being next to a river.
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  #10026  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 2:05 PM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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Originally Posted by SkyPittsburgh View Post
I'm trying to compile a "comprehensive" map of all of the city of Pittsburgh development projects, does anyone have any things to add to the existing map? (Map here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...w.k68uIzHJHFn8)
I tried doing that couple years ago... I quickly lost interest just due to how much time and effort it took to keep it up to date. Hopefully you do better, good luck!
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  #10027  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 5:14 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
I have to admit, I don't understand that parenthetical at all. Thinking about the cool walkable urban areas I know about, I'm not even sure what was directly above all those ground level amenities, and it doesn't seem like a problem for people to walk across the street or to the next block to go to a restaurant, club, or so on.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the whole point of living in a vibrant walkable urban area is to make it easy get out of your own building and have a variety of choices of fun stuff to do.



So you have at least four variables here: use, ground floor treatment, scale, and design quality. I certainly think ground floor treatment matters. I think scale can matter, although I think that is more a density issue than a height issue per se, and blocky six-story buildings can in fact achieve enough density for vibrant neighborhoods. Design quality can mean a lot of different things, but depending on your desired demographic I can see it mattering.

But basically, the thing I am questioning is whether use matters once you have controlled for these other things. Of course you wouldn't want an area to be all office, but it does seem desirable to have mixed use, including healthy amounts of both residential and office, for a variety of reasons. And if that is true, then I really still don't see why it actually matters if a given riverfront building is office and the building across the street is residential, or vice versa.

If instead what you are saying is the SSW would be different if it was a high-end 15-story area rather than a middle-market 6-story area . . . well sure, but that is about something different than which specific parcels are office and which residential.



As an aside, I think there has long been a bit of an overcorrection in certain circles when it comes to our riverfront areas. Of course no longer devoting them exclusively to dirty industrial uses is welcome. On the other hand, this is not Miami Beach or the French Riviera we are talking about. For most people at most times, the rivers themselves are not much of an attraction (people don't want to swim in them, don't want to smell that "great river air", don't particularly care about ogling coal barges, and so on). Rather, the most notable nice thing about being on the riverfronts is usually the unimpeded view of the stuff on the other side of the river, but often you can get that same view (or better) from an upper floor of a building off the river, or from one of the slopes near the river.

Accordingly, I think it is actually rather fitting that our riverfronts are being devoted largely to parks and trails. That is good water management, and also makes use of the relatively level riverfronts for non-car transportation, and finally makes those nice views readily accessible on demand for free. But to the extent people keep imagining parts of Pittsburgh's riverfronts resembling Navy Pier in the future, I think they are really overestimating what sort of value people will place simply on being next to a river.
Reclaiming former industrial waterfronts for public space, recreation, entertainment, and residential uses provides a connection to the waterfront areas and results in benefits that office buildings just cannot do. Doing so has proven to be a highly effective means of increasing recreation, environmental quality, property values, and what is arguably most important, further monetary investment and civic engagement in riverfront redevelopment.

There is a psychology prominent among planners (particularly strong among those who are engaged in industrial land redevelopment) that we humans just have a much stronger connection to and interest in the places we reside, play, and relax, than we do to the places we work. Therefore, the more "living" space we create on our waterfronts, the more active we become in further enhancing those living spaces. This is proven over and over again

People, by and large, do desire to live on the water... no matter whether it is an ocean, lake, river, pond, or detention basin in the middle of suburbia... the premium prices people pay everywhere to do so proves it. And Pittsburghers absolutely do want to live on the river (the successes and premium prices associated with apartments/condos/townhomes at Lincoln North Shore, Riverside Mews, Cork Factory, Washington's Landing, Aspinwall, Waterfront, etc.) and obviously love spending time on or along them (the activity on them in the summer is tremendous, particularly compared to other river cities), muddy and stinky at times or not. I don't think anyone is truly imagining Pittsburgh's riverfronts to become Navy Pier or anything, but I do think you are actually vastly underestimating the value people place on living on a lot with unimpeded views and access to waterfronts. And I know we are not talking about "Miami Beach or the French Riviera" here... but we're also not talking about those enviable locales in Queens, DC, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Portland, Cincinnati, etc... and they have been developing waterfront residential, smelly rivers and all.

I'm certainly not saying that every single piece of riverfront land be developed with residential -- we have lots of riverfront land to go around. Though, the SSW has 2 waterfront lots left, with none of the existing waterfront space dedicated to residential... why devote more to office space when there is ample land in the overall tract still available and better suited in terms of access and overall square footage for office space? Can't we realize the absolute mistake made when we see the massive blunder made by creating the waterfront dead zone right across the river? Put more office space in the SSW, just put it behind the condos please.
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  #10028  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 5:23 PM
Private Dick Private Dick is offline
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While this is definitely not my favorite design... why can't we get it right? From the left... river, residential/restaurant/retail/entertainment, hotel, office. It's a tried and true method. Why are they set on doing it backwards in the SSW?

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  #10029  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 6:32 PM
BrianTH BrianTH 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).

Last edited by BrianTH; Oct 11, 2014 at 8:37 PM.
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  #10030  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 6:49 PM
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Some pictures have finally emerged about the final Three Crossings Design in the Strip.

Picture of the apartment buildings:


Not too bad, but I wish we were looking at something more creative.

This is the office portion of the project: (still ugly)


And finally, there is some good news here, there is a good amount of riverfront access:
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  #10031  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2014, 9:24 PM
WillyC WillyC is offline
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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
As an aside, I think there has long been a bit of an overcorrection in certain circles when it comes to our riverfront areas. Of course no longer devoting them exclusively to dirty industrial uses is welcome. On the other hand, this is not Miami Beach or the French Riviera we are talking about. For most people at most times, the rivers themselves are not much of an attraction (people don't want to swim in them, don't want to smell that "great river air", don't particularly care about ogling coal barges, and so on). Rather, the most notable nice thing about being on the riverfronts is usually the unimpeded view of the stuff on the other side of the river, but often you can get that same view (or better) from an upper floor of a building off the river, or from one of the slopes near the river.
I usually agree with what you post here, Brian, but this has to be the most moronic thing I have ever seen you say. Most people don't consider the rivers an attraction? I understand you spend most of your time looking at the buildings, so I guess it is excusable that you don't notice the other things going on, but the past few summers the rivers have been filled with people. From boaters to kayakers, their numbers are growing each year. Almost every person I work with spent some time on the rivers this year, be it boating with friends, a cruise on one of the ferries, or kayaking, they spent time and highly enjoyed it. Do you think they would be building such a massive marina in the South Side if there wasn't significant demand? From my understanding after a friend put down his deposit for a slip, phase one is already almost completely sold out and they haven't even started work yet or done much to raise awareness that it is coming.

Next summer, take a ride down 18th street to the park on a weekend and look at the line backed up for an hour or two of people wanting to put their boat or jetskis in.

I tend to agree PrivateDick on this one, this is a massive waste of what should be residential development. The more residential in the SSW, the better, and if it is waterfront residential, even better!

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. More people are going to hear from those who enjoyed a Saturday or Sunday kayaking or an evening cruise on one of the ferries and want to do the same.

We should be fighting for proper development that will fit with that future.
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  #10032  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 12:14 AM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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I heard through neighborhood sources that a fairly major development is going in on Butler Street towards the river across from 53rd Street. Right around here.

The following details of the project seem to have been outlined:

1. There will be new storefronts with loft apartments above along Butler Street (presumably filling in the huge gap in the street wall).
2. The old truck/bus terminals further behind Butler are being converted into office space.
3. 53rd Street may be continued towards the river, breaking up the superblock somewhat.

Hopefully the plans are properly dense. This has a major potential to be transformative for Upper Lawrenceville however, eliminating the main issues with contiguity of the business district, along with potentially adding hundreds of units (given the Butler-side space takes up most of two city blocks).

Last edited by eschaton; Oct 12, 2014 at 2:37 AM.
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  #10033  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 12:27 AM
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SkyPittsburgh SkyPittsburgh is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I heard through neighborhood sources that a fairly major development is going in on Butler Street towards the river across from 53rd Street. Right around here.
Hopefully the plans are properly dense. This has a major potential to be transformative for Upper Lawrenceville however, eliminating the main issues with contiguity of the business district, along with potentially adding hundreds of units (given the Butler-side space takes up most of two city blocks).
Did you hear whether or not the development will extend all the way to the river?
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  #10034  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 2:06 AM
PITairport PITairport is offline
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Stabile is open to having one of the two towers as residential:

http://triblive.com/business/headlin...#axzz3FtLhGNUW
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  #10035  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 2:37 AM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Did you hear whether or not the development will extend all the way to the river?
The comments I saw were that it may tie into the (planned) McCandless Greenway, and "River Park may happen."

I do remember as part of the Upper Lawrenceville Master Plan there was an idea to make a McCandless riverfront recreation area. I also note that the same historic property owner for these lots also owns the bus/truck parking on the opposite side of McCandless towards the river.

There has been no recorded change in property ownership on any of the major parcels since the 70s. It may be that the holding company for all these properties was bought out, or alternately that the long-standing property owner decided to become a developer.
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  #10036  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 3:30 AM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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I understand you spend most of your time looking at the buildings, so I guess it is excusable that you don't notice the other things going on, but the past few summers the rivers have been filled with people. From boaters to kayakers, their numbers are growing each year.
I walk the riverfronts quite a bit. The number of people walking or biking the riverfront trails on a daily basis is a large multiple of the number of people boating or kayaking.

Quote:
Almost every person I work with spent some time on the rivers this year, be it boating with friends, a cruise on one of the ferries, or kayaking, they spent time and highly enjoyed it.
And how does "some time" compare to their overall leisure time this year? I spent "some time" in a cabin in a state park this year. That doesn't mean I want an apartment there.

Quote:
Do you think they would be building such a massive marina in the South Side if there wasn't significant demand?
As I understand it, when fully built out, there may be 320 slips. That is tiny compared to the amount of parking in the South Side.

Quote:
More people are going to hear from those who enjoyed a Saturday or Sunday kayaking or an evening cruise on one of the ferries and want to do the same.
Yeah, like once or twice a year.

Look, the rivers are in fact a recreational amenity. However, for the vast majority of people, that's an infrequent, not regular, sort of thing--as opposed to using the riverfront trails, which can be a weekly or daily thing. So you are not going to be able to fill up apartment building after apartment building with avid kayakers.

But if you want to insist on calling that view "moronic", feel free. But the truth is that if a lot of people really did put a large premium on a riverfront apartment, meaning they were actually willing to pay substantially more in rent for otherwise similar properties, then developers would be filling that demand.
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  #10037  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 9:52 AM
WillyC WillyC is offline
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I walk the riverfronts quite a bit. The number of people walking or biking the riverfront trails on a daily basis is a large multiple of the number of people boating or kayaking.
So more people biking or walking equates people enjoying the river is meaningless? More people drive to work downtown than those that take public transport. Does that mean we should ignore public transit and focus on parking garages?

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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Look, the rivers are in fact a recreational amenity. However, for the vast majority of people, that's an infrequent, not regular, sort of thing--as opposed to using the riverfront trails, which can be a weekly or daily thing. So you are not going to be able to fill up apartment building after apartment building with avid kayakers.
Real stretch there. Only kayakers are going to want to live in riverfront property? I guess every single unit of the other riverfront residential complexes must only be filled with avid kayakers.

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Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
But if you want to insist on calling that view "moronic", feel free. But the truth is that if a lot of people really did put a large premium on a riverfront apartment, meaning they were actually willing to pay substantially more in rent for otherwise similar properties, then developers would be filling that demand.
It is moronic, you dismissed an entire point by another poster because of your personal preferences, ignoring a growing community in the city. Now you are falling back to a ridiculous argument that if there was demand, it would be filled, as if that has ever been the case with development areas in the city. I guess it must be "demand" as for why Hot Metal was scaled back. It must be "demand" that is causing such a craptastic development on the former civic arena site. "Demand" is why we have been getting three story BS in the north shore.

You're a smart guy, but the way you jump at people that disagree takes you out at the knees and makes people root against you even when you are correct. I mean really, dismissing river residential development because of "river smell" and accusing people of being plants for Point Park? That only alienates. You're smarter than that.
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  #10038  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 1:16 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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So more people biking or walking equates people enjoying the river is meaningless? More people drive to work downtown than those that take public transport. Does that mean we should ignore public transit and focus on parking garages?
No. That's a clear strawman argument in light of what I have written.

Quote:
Real stretch there. Only kayakers are going to want to live in riverfront property? I guess every single unit of the other riverfront residential complexes must only be filled with avid kayakers.
Again, you seem to be deliberately avoiding my actual points. Riverfront offices and residences will both be desirable, but I would suggest for most people, that will largely be because of the views of the other side, and again such views are not necessarily limited to the parcels immediately adjacent to the river.

Quote:
It is moronic, you dismissed an entire point by another poster because of your personal preferences, ignoring a growing community in the city.
I'd suggest it is you who have taken this personally, not me. If you were actually reading my posts you would realize I have not ignored your community, but apparently any sort of attempt to put the importance of the rivers as recreational amenities into proportion to other values is simply too much for you to handle emotionally.

Quote:
Now you are falling back to a ridiculous argument that if there was demand, it would be filled, as if that has ever been the case with development areas in the city.
Isn't it? Individual parcels can have complex histories, but overall developers have responded to the demand for new apartment units by providing a lot more units, with many more in the pipeline. So what is keeping them from focusing more on the riverfronts, if those are in fact such premium locations for most people?

Quote:
It must be "demand" that is causing such a craptastic development on the former civic arena site. "Demand" is why we have been getting three story BS in the north shore.
I agree when land is handed out to sports teams on a no-bid basis, that is not reflective of market outcomes. That still doesn't answer the question I raised--what is systematically forcing developers to put new units so many other places besides the riverfronts if you are right?

Quote:
You're a smart guy, but the way you jump at people that disagree takes you out at the knees and makes people root against you even when you are correct. I mean really, dismissing river residential development because of "river smell" and accusing people of being plants for Point Park? That only alienates. You're smarter than that.
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.
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  #10039  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 3:37 PM
Minivan Werner Minivan Werner is online now
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What's this 10 story residential tower Contintental is apparently considering? And how likely is it to happen?
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  #10040  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2014, 4:06 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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What's this 10 story residential tower Contintental is apparently considering? And how likely is it to happen?
This article has some details:

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/...s/201406190066

Apparently they want the public to build them more parking garages first, but the City is looking into doing that. So I think something will likely happen, but I would not necessarily bet on Continental delivering the full 10 stories.
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