Pittsburgh has been reinventing itself since the collapse of the steel industry.
Unlike other Rust Belt cities, abandoned factories and warehouses don’t define the city. Instead, they’ve become part of the redevelopment process.
In recent years, emerging industries, like tech, have given new life to old buildings. Google kicked things off when they moved in the old Nabisco Factory (now known as Bakery Square) in the East End. Now, neighborhoods and buildings across the city are being reimagined.
From the North Side to Bloomfield and the Strip to Downtown, here are nine redevelopment projects transforming existing buildings around Pittsburgh.
Union Trust Building
Originally constructed as a shopping arcade by Henry Clay in 1915, the Union Trust Building unveiled a $100 million renovation in summer 2016. Coming in at about 500,000 square feet, the Union Trust takes up an entire city block. The original 400-seat theater (yet to be renovated), arcade shopping level, and the 150-foot high stained glass atrium from the original structure. Eddie V’s, an upscale seafood restaurant, and Union Standard, a new venture by former Eleven chef Derek Stevens will occupy the space. Other tenants are currently tech companies, like Truefit, which moved from Cranberry.
Formerly known as Allegheny Center, a shopping center anchored by Woolworths, Sears, and many smaller national chains, Nova Place was purchased in by New York developer Faros Properties. The transformation is so stunning that it’s tough to image the space as a mall. Faros is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into turning the mostly-abandoned Allegheny Center into updated offices (PNC has an office here as well as many start-ups), the co-working space Alloy 26, restaurants, apartments, and a 10,000 square foot gym, Union Fitness.
Wilkinsburg Train Station
The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) is hoping to raise $3 million to restore the 100-year old Wilkinsburg Train Station. Built in the Beaux Arts style of the period and on the National Register of Historic Places, the station has sat empty for nearly 40 years. They’re still working out the details, but ideas from the WCDC include a restaurant or cafe, a public transit access point, a Healthy Ride bike-share location, gallery space for local artists, or a community event space. Construction is planned for the spring of 2017 with the building being tenant-ready by the summer.
An abandoned warehouse is being converted into Bloomfield’s first ever luxury condos. 4926 Cypress St. will become Bloomfield Lofts, comprising of 18 units ranging in size from 915 square feet to 1,500+. Features include stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, 15-foot high ceilings, and large industrial-style windows. Residents will also have access to a common gym area, outdoor courtyard, and on-site parking. Six of the units have already been sold, with prices beginning at $269,000.
Strip District Terminal Building
Opened in 1926, the Strip District Produce Terminal has long been a hub for shipping and merchants. Now, the Chicago-based firm McCaffery is hoping to redevelop the former train station terminal into a mix of office and retail space. Part of the plan includes turning Smallman Street into a more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. These plans include extended sidewalks and the addition of landscaping and seating. Much of the commercial space is being geared towards tech companies — Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center is located up the street. Finalized plans are still in the work but we’re excited to see what the Terminal Building becomes.
Despite setbacks including zoning issues, financing issues, and infrastructure improvements, the former Garden Theatre on the North Side is set to become a mixed-use space in 2017. It’s been a delicate balance between restoring the historic buildings on the block and building new construction between Federal and West North, but Trek Development and Q Development hope to turn the former theater into a mix of storefronts and apartments.
Alphabet City Center
On the same block as the Garden Theatre, January 2017 should see the rebirth of the Masonic Temple as the Alphabet City Center. Development is being led by City of Asylum, a group that is known for renovating vacant buildings into galleries and art houses. Alphabet City Center will include a restaurant, bookstore, and an event space for reading performances, writing workshops, and artist residencies.
Workingman’s Savings Bank
Continuing the rejuvenation of the North Side, the Priory Hotel owners are converting the 100+-year-old Workingman’s Savings Bank into an event space and brewpub. The working title of the event space is the “Priory Vault” and features a two-story atrium with a mezzanine and marble throughout, perfect for formal events and weddings. The brewery will be open to the public and have rooftop seating and views of downtown Pittsburgh. Construction is planned to begin in February or March 2017.
Grand at Fifth Avenue
After Macy’s closed in September 2015, plans began for Grand at Fifth Avenue. The former Macy’s building will have a second life as a mix of retailers, restaurants, entertainment spots, a hotel, and 312 luxury apartments. The renovation project is estimated at $100 million and will also feature 600 parking spaces, a much-needed addition to the downtown area.