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  #41  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 3:42 AM
Dale Dale is offline
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What do Pittsburghers think about UPMC. I must confess that it took me awhile to get acclimated. But I'm inclined to think that it's a handsome building. A worthy tallest.
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  #42  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 5:48 AM
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After laying off virtually everyone... the Cleveland Fed is selling its Pittsburgh Branch building. Probably only a matter of time until the Cleveland Fed eliminates the Pittsburgh Branch completely, vacating the Fourth District's largest and strongest economy... and largest financial center.


http://postgazette.com/pg/11353/1197976-100.stm

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Federal Reserve Bank here checks out

Monday, December 19, 2011
By Len Boselovic , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Federal Reserve Bank is selling its Pittsburgh branch headquarters Downtown after eliminating the jobs of all but 25 of its 320 employees.

The bank said in February it would eliminate about 200 jobs because of its plans to discontinue the paper sale of U.S. Savings Bonds and other securities. Bank spokeswoman June Gates said about 240 of the Pittsburgh branch's employees were involved in those sales, which will conducted electronically. Those operations were consolidated into the central bank's Minneapolis branch.

The other 55 jobs eliminated in Pittsburgh were in human resources and other functions that supported paper bond sales, she said.

Ms. Gates said the branch has about 60 to 65 employees and that will be reduced to 25 sometime early next year. She did not have a timetable.

Those whose positions were eliminated took early retirement or were given severance packages based on length of service as well as help finding other jobs, she said.

"Remaining in our current building just is not a viable option," she said.

The seven-story branch headquarters at 717 Grant Street was originally built in 1931 and a 10-story addition was completed in 1958. The building contains about 200,000 square feet of usable space, Ms. Gates said.

She said the remaining staff will need 12,000 to 15,000 square feet.
They include bank examiners, accountants, auditors and human resources.

Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


wikipedia.org
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  #43  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 5:54 AM
Gilamonster Gilamonster is offline
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More victims of the paperless economy.
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  #44  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 11:28 AM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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Originally Posted by Gilamonster View Post
I have always thought the BNY Mellon Client Services Center was a beautiful building. Came out a little dark in this shot but anyways here it is:
I never paid much attention to it until my wife started working there a couple years ago (she's on the 13th floor), but I agree. A nice looking building though it is a bit overshadowed from most angles by US Steel and the big Mellon building.
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  #45  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 2:45 PM
themaguffin themaguffin is offline
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It's get a little arbitrary with these star ratings. The Fairmont is very high end.

Not just upscale or high end, but really high end. Pgh shouldn't feel like it's lacking. While I think there's room for another like I mentioned before, my only complaint is how long it took to get something like the Fairmont.

So in the current banking landscape, Pittsburgh is in the top tier when you consider how large PNC is now (maybe not "top" tier if you consider how large the top 3 or 4 banks are or how much is in top markets etc, but still a very significant level right now) so are there any markets comparable where the Fed is essentially going away...?
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  #46  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 5:39 PM
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Pittsburgh employment at an all-time November high (despite the Cleveland Fed's darndest efforts!):

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/SMU42...a_tool=XGtable
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  #47  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 5:59 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale View Post
What do Pittsburghers think about UPMC. I must confess that it took me awhile to get acclimated. But I'm inclined to think that it's a handsome building. A worthy tallest.
I like it. It is not only tall, but massive (no tapering). The external design also communicates strength, and the whole thing ends up having an imposing, almost topographical, feel to it. And I have a soft spot for any of the Pittsburgh buildings which are de facto advertisements for local products (steel in this case, glass for PPG, and aluminum for the old Alcoa HQ).
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  #48  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 6:03 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Random comments:

I really love the Fed's building--I hope it gets a worthy tenant (maybe a boutique hotel!).

I agree the Mellon Service Center is a decent design. And if you look at the Penguins' proposals for the Lower Hill, it may be joined by some similarly-scaled office buildings on that end of the development site, which could help bring it to somewhat greater prominence.
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  #49  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 7:27 PM
PGHFan PGHFan is offline
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Apropos of nothing, I thought I would add a suggestion for reuse of either the Lord & Taylor building, the Saks building, or possibly the Federal Reserve (this may reaching however). Pittsburgh has become the location for many film productions. I wonder if a Pittsburgh Film Museum could be developed using props, wardrobe, etc. from films filmed in and around the 'Burgh? It might develop into an attraction if its intimate and reasonably priced, with creative programming. I suggested it to the Film Office but they didn't respond.
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  #50  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 8:54 PM
TBone7281 TBone7281 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale View Post
What do Pittsburghers think about UPMC. I must confess that it took me awhile to get acclimated. But I'm inclined to think that it's a handsome building. A worthy tallest.
Perhaps because I'm a stubborn bastard it will always be either US Steel or USX Tower, never UPMC to me. Much like they are currently demolishing the Civic Arena. (Though, that is technically correct once more since Mellon's naming rights expired anyway.)

In any case, if you're talking about the building, I'm a big fan and I really hope they seriously consider opening the top to the public some day.
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  #51  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 8:59 PM
Dale Dale is offline
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Thanks for the feedback on, ahem, US Steel/USX Tower.

It does convey strength.
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  #52  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 9:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBone7281 View Post
Perhaps because I'm a stubborn bastard it will always be either US Steel or USX Tower, never UPMC to me. Much like they are currently demolishing the Civic Arena. (Though, that is technically correct once more since Mellon's naming rights expired anyway.)

In any case, if you're talking about the building, I'm a big fan and I really hope they seriously consider opening the top to the public some day.
It still is called the US Steel Tower. UPMC just has their crappy logo on top of it, just like Reed Smith has their logo atop Three PNC Plaza for their global headquarters.

I have always loved that building. My mom used to work there on the 55th floor from c1978 until 1998 when her company at the time moved to 6 PPG Place. I used to go into work with her occasionally, mainly on Saturdays when she had some additional things to take care of. Some folks would probably be bored to go into the office with their parent, but how can you be bored when they have an office that might as well be in the stratosphere?!

"Hey kiddo, I have to go into the office. Wanna come?"
"HECK YEAH!"

As far as the Federal Reserve and Cleveland are concerned. They can have our branch. We acquired their main financial institution when PNC bought National City.

Regarding the BNY Mellon Client Services Center and potential lower hill development. I really hope they consider something taller than 16 stories. Yeah, the building is a neat design, but I still think it's too short for that particular parcel. 25 to 30 floors would be awesome!
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  #53  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 10:19 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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The market may change by the time they get to those parcels, but right now I suspect they would have a hard time finding someone willing to finance 25-30 floor buildings in that location. Note the Mellon Service Center is still huge--something like 750,000 square feet, about the same as Fifth Avenue Place (at 31 stories). Future Lower Hill office buildings are likely to have large footprints as well, so you'd really need to be able to fill an enormous amount of square footage to justify building high.
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  #54  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2011, 10:42 PM
acenturi acenturi is offline
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Originally Posted by themaguffin View Post
It's get a little arbitrary with these star ratings. The Fairmont is very high end.

Not just upscale or high end, but really high end. Pgh shouldn't feel like it's lacking. While I think there's room for another like I mentioned before, my only complaint is how long it took to get something like the Fairmont....
Actually the premier rating system in the U.S. is AAA. Pittsburgh's higest rated hotels are the Renaissance (Marriott) and the Fairmount - both at 4 Diamonds - which is an excellent, but not a Top (5D) rating from AAA. Not all Fairmount Hotels are 5 Diamond properties, just as not all Ritz Carlton or 4 Seasons hotels are 5D.
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  #55  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 12:27 AM
Gilamonster Gilamonster is offline
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I'm very sure I read somewhere a while back that the BNY Mellon Client Services Center is as tall as it can be from a structural engineering standpoint due to it being built over the Gateway T station and rail lines. Speaking of PAT Transit, whenever we mention how poorly run it is and how much money is wasted, let us not forget the disaster that is the Penn Station line.
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  #56  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 6:53 AM
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I told yinz the North Shore Connector would be marketed as a parking lot shuttle for suburban motorists.

http://postgazette.com/pg/11355/1198281-53-0.stm

Quote:
Free 'T' on subway to North Shore in works

Benefit could ease Downtown parking


Wednesday, December 21, 2011
By Jon Schmitz and Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh's Stadium Authority board is expected to vote today on a deal with the Port Authority that would provide free light rail rides on the North Shore Connector.

The Stadium Authority and a private parking operator would pay the transit agency an annual lump sum to underwrite free service between Downtown and the new North Side station, situated next to PNC Park, said Mary Conturo, executive director of the Stadium Authority.

The three-year deal calls for a $160,000 payment in the first year, increasing by $5,000 per year. Alco Parking, which manages or controls most of the parking on the North Shore, will pay half of the subsidy, Ms. Conturo said.

The parties have a mutual option to extend the contract for two years.

The agreement requires approval from the Stadium Authority board and the Port Authority board, which next meets in January.

Transit rides -- buses and subway -- currently are free in the Golden Triangle. Crossing the river to the North Shore or Station Square costs $2.25.

Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, said he hopes the free rides will promote commuter parking on the North Shore, freeing up Downtown spaces for shoppers and other midday visitors.

"Right now, if you come Downtown on a weekday, you're hard-pressed to find a space if you're here after 8:30," he said.

About half of the 130,000 regular Downtown commuters drive to work.

He said free rides also might stimulate development of office space on the North Shore.

"For us, a free ride from Downtown to the North Shore will effectively expand the boundaries of Downtown."

Port Authority CEO Steve Bland called the agreement "a win-win, offering both cost savings to the participating agencies and a host of benefits to Port Authority riders and the community as a whole. Free T rides between North Side station and Downtown will encourage more people to use public transit, provide a convenient link between these two areas and contribute to the continuing development on the North Shore."

At the current $8 daily rate, the stadium agency's West General Robinson Street Garage, which sits atop the North Side subway station, would have to attract 40 new customers per weekday to cover the agency's share of the subsidy.

The Stadium Authority sees the opening of the station as a boost for the garage, which is now about 68 percent occupied on average.

"We think it makes a lot of sense for people from the north to consider parking at that garage and taking the T into town," Ms. Conturo said.

Providing the free rides will be cheaper and the service more frequent than using shuttle buses, she said. "We think it's a great deal all the way around."

Because of low occupancy, the authority has struggled to make the debt service payments on the facility.

On Tuesday, the Sports & Exhibition Authority board authorized a refinancing that would cut debt payments on the garage by about $500,000 a year.

The refinancing would reduce the interest rate on the garage from a high of 7 percent to about 3.8 percent.

With the savings, the garage would come "close" to breaking even, Ms. Conturo said.

Whether it actually does so could depend on the traffic generated by the new station, she said.

Alco is participating because it sees potential customer growth on its surface lots near the station, Ms. Conturo said.

The $523.4 million North Shore Connector project extends the Light Rail Transit system by 1.2 miles from a new station in Gateway Center to new stations at PNC Park and Heinz Field.

Test trains are expected to start operating this month and passenger service is scheduled to debut in late March.

For now, the agreement covers only rides to the North Side station, not to the Allegheny station next to Heinz Field.

Mr. Waldrup and Port Authority spokeswoman Heather Pharo said their organizations still are pushing hard for sponsorships that would extend the free-fare zone on the rail system to Station Square and Heinz Field.

The Downtown Partnership has hired consultants who are contacting businesses and other potential sponsors. They are asking them to consider buying naming rights to any of the seven stations or pay to attach their name to the free-fare zone.

"We are having conversations daily with folks. We're hoping [the deal with the Stadium Authority] will open up the gates and other people will hop on," Mr. Waldrup said.

Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic. Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

Read more: http://postgazette.com/pg/11355/1198...#ixzz1h9Kzsro6
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  #57  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 8:43 AM
Captain Crash Captain Crash is offline
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Originally Posted by acenturi View Post
Actually the premier rating system in the U.S. is AAA. Pittsburgh's higest rated hotels are the Renaissance (Marriott) and the Fairmount - both at 4 Diamonds - which is an excellent, but not a Top (5D) rating from AAA. Not all Fairmount Hotels are 5 Diamond properties, just as not all Ritz Carlton or 4 Seasons hotels are 5D.
Oddly, the highest rated hotel in the region is in Fayette County of all places... Nemacolin's Falling Rock sits at a 5 Star and 5 Diamond rating. You'd be surprised how many wealthy travelers with business in Pittsburgh actually stay there rather than in the city proper, despite the hour+ distance.

Interestingly, the Fairmont has made an effort at the 5 star rating. Before opening they actually sent their potential staff in bulk to Nemacolin to give them a first hand look in the employee methodology needed to get that top tier ranking. Maybe they'll practice more before the next round of rankings haha
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  #58  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 8:47 AM
Captain Crash Captain Crash is offline
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Originally Posted by Dale View Post
What do Pittsburghers think about UPMC. I must confess that it took me awhile to get acclimated. But I'm inclined to think that it's a handsome building. A worthy tallest.
I find its greatest characteristic is how dominating it is. Seen from every angle of the skyline, and just so massive that it seems to have pure dominion over its surroundings, almost in an ominous way yet still so alluring.

People don't realize just how far away it can be seen from. You can get a good look at it from the county airport and I've even seen it on clear days in the area of Elizabeth Township while visiting family. Believe it or not, some of the ridgetops of the Laurel Highlands in the vicinity of Ohiopyle actually afford views of the US Steel Building on very clear days. It's a really incredible sight on the horizon from the overlook at the peak of Pine Knob on clear days... a distance of about 50 miles!
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  #59  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 3:37 PM
themaguffin themaguffin is offline
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It's not that unusual that a resort would get the highest rating, as some of the highest rated hotels in the world are resort hotels which focus even more on service and amenities than city hotels where guests presumably do many things outside of the hotel etc.
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  #60  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2011, 4:20 PM
BrianTH BrianTH is offline
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Just my two cents, but if it is "merely" four-star service keeping the Fairmont at four stars, I don't see that as a huge problem.
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