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Old March 15th, 2006, 04:36 PM   #61
ohpenn
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Duquesne University broke ground Tuesday on a $30 million recreation center and retail complex in Uptown - the first phase of a development that eventually could cost more than $70 million and complement investment in the Fifth-Forbes corridor, Downtown.
"This new facility is a catalyst for Uptown," Mayor Bob O'Connor said at the ceremony yesterday.

The first floor will host a Barnes & Noble Booksellers, a campus-themed restaurant and other retail space. The upper floors will have basketball and racquetball courts, deck hockey, fitness facilities, locker rooms, exercise and dance studios, ballroom, kitchen and roof-top deck.

"Young people today are health-conscious," said Duquesne President Charles Dougherty. "It's part of their social life."

Duquesne University expects to open the 125,000-square-foot recreation center on Forbes Avenue by the end of 2007. A pedestrian bridge will connect the center to the other side of campus. The second phase of the project could involve student housing, other university offices and classrooms, a pharmacy and other retail development.

The university had planned to develop the remaining commercial part of the site on its own but now is open to the possibility of working with a developer, Dougherty said. No timetable has been set for starting work on that portion of the project, he said.

City officials have focused their redevelopment efforts in the Fifth-Forbes corridor, Downtown. Duquesne's project at the other end of Forbes is not being coordinated with the city's.

"However," Dougherty said, "the mayor in his campaign stressed how important the area between Downtown and Oakland is to the Forbes-Fifth corridor. We think this is contributing to developing that corridor."

O'Connor has opened the city's Fifth-Forbes project Downtown to other developers, in addition to Madison Marquette, a Washington, D.C.-based company that was invited to develop a dozen city-owned properties in the area.

PNC Financial Services has announced plans for a $170 million project in the area, with offices, a hotel and condominiums. And Millcraft Industries, of Washington County, plans to develop the former Lazarus building into retail shops and luxury condominiums.

Downtown developers and government officials welcomed the launch of the project.

"Duquesne University is a real important part for what Downtown has to offer," said Mike Edwards, chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. "The other piece of the Duquesne investment is we realize we need to be surrounded by healthy neighborhoods, so Duquesne's investment in Uptown is pretty important."

Ralph Falbo, chairman and chief executive officer of Falbo Corp., a developer of Downtown condos, also endorsed the project.

"We think anything that creates activity in and around Downtown is a good thing," he said.

Dean McHolme, president of McHolme Builders in Elizabeth Township, said he likes to see projects, like Duquesne University's recreation center, energize blighted areas of Uptown. His company is converting old Downtown buildings into student housing.

"Any development along that corridor is going to help in any fashion," he said. "Hopefully, it'll turn around like the South Side did."

About a year and a half ago, the Urban Redevelopment Authority designated Uptown as a neighborhood for redevelopment.

"We're delighted that they're spreading their campus into the Uptown area," said redevelopment authority Executive Director Jerry Dettore.

"The Uptown area fits between Oakland and Downtown," he said. "Both areas are inching their way into the area."

About one-third of the cost of the recreation center will come from loans; another third from gifts; and the remainder from other money in the university's budget.

Duquesne University spent $8.5 million for eight properties on the 2-acre site. The dilapidated buildings were razed, and the block converted into a landscaped parking lot.



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Old March 16th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #62
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Since no one else brought this up on this thread I thought I would. Due to continuing out migration as well as the number of deaths exceeding births last year, the Pittsburgh area continues to bleed population. According to Census estimates released yesterday the population of Allegheney County declined by 11,671 or approximately 1% during the past year. In actual numbers this loss was exceeded only by Cook (Chigago), Wayne(Detroit) and Cuyahoga(Cleveland) counties. As a percentage only Cuyahoga County lost a larger amount of population during the past year.

So far this decade Allegheny has lost a population of 45,825 or 3.58% of it's 2000 total.
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Old March 16th, 2006, 11:55 PM   #63
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Since no one else brought this up on this thread I thought I would. Due to continuing out migration as well as the number of deaths exceeding births last year, the Pittsburgh area continues to bleed population. According to Census estimates released yesterday the population of Allegheny County declined by 11,671 or approximately 1% during the past year. In actual numbers this loss was exceeded only by Cook (Chigago), Wayne(Detroit) and Cuyahoga(Cleveland) counties. As a percentage only Cuyahoga County lost a larger amount of population during the past year.

So far this decade Allegheny has lost a population of 45,825 or 3.58% of it's 2000 total.
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Old March 17th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #64
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more good news for PIT

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06076/671812.stm

JetBlue to fly out of Pittsburgh to N.Y., Boston
Growing carrier to bring lower fares to Pittsburgh
Friday, March 17, 2006

By Dan Fitzpatrick and Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Discount carrier JetBlue Airways is arriving in Pittsburgh this summer, with six daily flights to Boston and New York starting as low as $64 each way.

The fast-growing, six-year old airline will unveil its plans this morning, ending a four-year, on-and-off courtship with local officials. The first flights will leave Pittsburgh International Airport on June 30, with four a day to JetBlue's home base of New York, where it operates from John F. Kennedy International Airport, and two daily to Boston's Logan Airport.

Both East Coast routes now have little competition and are among the most expensive for Pittsburgh-area passengers.

JetBlue said tickets to JFK will start at $64 one way and go no higher than $129 and flights one way to Boston will start at $74 and go no higher than $139.

JetBlue, an industry darling that was profitable its first five years before losing money in 2005, offers assigned seats and satellite-equipped TVs for all passengers, distinguishing itself from the no-frills approach of discount king Southwest Airlines, which started service from Pittsburgh last year.

The dramatic downsizing of US Airways, which once offered more than 500 flights out of Pittsburgh and now has about 200, created openings for both Southwest and JetBlue.

Southwest, a low-fare pioneer, has been around for more than three decades. JetBlue is more of an upstart, founded in 2000 by industry veteran David Neeleman.

It employs 10,000, but unlike Southwest and US Airways, it has no union workers. A non-union work force allows JetBlue to operate with a much lower cost structure than larger carriers such as US Airways, United Airlines and American Airlines, not to mention the bankrupt Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Lower labor costs, in turn, allow JetBlue to charge cheaper fares and still have a chance at making money -- although even it is suffering from the industry's persistently high fuel prices, a key factor in its $42 million in losses last year.

As it tuns out, the Forest Hills, N.Y.-based airline has been watching Pittsburgh for a number of years but talks with the airport heated up in the last six months, according to spokesman Todd Burke. The draw was a city "that has been plagued with high fares," he said.

The flights out of Pittsburgh will be flown on new Embraer 190 jets, which seat 100 and offer each passenger a choice of 36 TV channels and 100 channels of XM Satellite radio. JetBlue recently took delivery of 10 new Embraers, which are feeding the airline's expansion into new cities.

Today, it also scheduled to announce new service from Jacksonville, Fla., and in coming months, it will begin service from Richmond, Va., Bermuda and Portland, Maine. Pittsburgh will be its 39th city.

Pittsburgh International Airport chief Kent George predicted last May that there was a "very, very strong possibility" of JetBlue's arrival this spring.

For Mr. George, the announcement culminates a courtship that began nearly four years ago, as the airport tried desperately to recruit low-cost alternatives to US Airways, which then had a lock on the local market.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority, headed by Mr. George, stepped up the pressure last fall, after the airline began taking delivery of the new Embraer jets. The airport finally got a firm commitment from JetBlue Tuesday.

"We're elated that they made the decision to come in," Mr. George said. "It provides an additional alternative for the business traveler and the discretionary traveler in the southwestern Pennsylvania region and it does so with lower fares."

The Airport Authority has been trying for some time to stimulate competition on the New York and Boston routes. In fact, US Airways is still the only carrier that flies non-stop to Boston from Pittsburgh.

As part of its deal with JetBlue, the airport authority will provide the airline with reduced landing fees -- half the normal rate -- on four of the six daily flights and a $50,000 allocation to market the service. Mr. George said the incentives are the same as those offered to any airline that provides new service on non-competitive routes.

The authority also is trying to generate more competition on the Washington and Dallas routes. Since the demise of Independence Air earlier this year, walk-up fares for flights to Washington have jumped from about $220 to $700 or $800, Mr. George said.

The landing of another low-cost carrier also could help the Airport Authority's efforts to generate more local traffic, he said. The authority has launched a $370,000 campaign this year to do just that.

"With Boston and New York, it really helps with the competition, and will continue to drive down the cost for the consumer and to increase our [local] traffic," county Chief Executive Dan Onorato said.

"Every time a new airline comes in, it sends a signal across the industry that Pittsburgh is a market they should be in or where they should expand," he added. "It's the best PR we can have."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Dan Fitzpatrick can be reached at dfitzpatrick@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1752. Mark Belko can be reached at mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.)
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Old March 19th, 2006, 07:46 AM   #65
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Don, thanks for being a part of this thread and reminding us of everything wrong with our city.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 03:36 AM   #66
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Since no one else brought this up on this thread I thought I would. Due to continuing out migration as well as the number of deaths exceeding births last year, the Pittsburgh area continues to bleed population. According to Census estimates released yesterday the population of Allegheney County declined by 11,671 or approximately 1% during the past year. In actual numbers this loss was exceeded only by Cook (Chigago), Wayne(Detroit) and Cuyahoga(Cleveland) counties. As a percentage only Cuyahoga County lost a larger amount of population during the past year.
I know the results usually come out this time of year, but I haven't seen them yet.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:13 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by AaronClark
Don, thanks for being a part of this thread and reminding us of everything wrong with our city.
To the contrary I think Pittsburgh is a great town. What's better then cominh through the tunnel and seeing the golden triangle? Or sitting on the hill in Schenley Park looking towards the Cathedral of Learning and downtown? If you have ever heard the song "Ode to a Pittsburgh" by Louden Wainwright III, then you know how I personally feel about Pittsburgh. If you do not know the song it would behoove you to get a copy of it. It is not enough to read the lyric you must hear the vocal to appreciate it.

I went to college there and now cover it. It is a part of my territory along with western Ohio from Youngstown up to Cleveland and upstate NY all the way through Albany, check my profile for more details. It is truly amazing to see how similar Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cleveland are. They are all on the same road with minor variations. Pittsburgh has the added problem of older demographics with deaths outnumbering births. This poses a problem when trying to lure certain typed of businesses into town. On the other hand to locals have a better self image than their counterparts in Buffalo and Cleveland. All three are once grand ladies whose rebirths have been greatly exagerated and do not have the raw data to back up the rebirth myth.

The other cities I cover lack the stature and are really considered third tier markets. I.E. Youngstown, Erie, Rochester and Syracuse. Of all that I cover only Albany has a healthy growth rate although there are some signs that Syracuse is starting to have some real growth as well.

Last edited by donbuy; March 20th, 2006 at 11:41 PM.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 05:45 AM   #68
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It's good to see that you like Pittsburgh. Realize that this is a development thread though. What does bringing up negative population trends have to do with these projects? It doesn't belong in here. If you want to discuss it, why not start a thread on it somewhere else?
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:45 PM   #69
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I respectfully disagree with you. One of the largest factors leading to economic growth is population growth. An increasing population drives an economy, conversely a declining population can stop any economic revival dead in it's tracks.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 12:47 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donbuy
I respectfully disagree with you. One of the largest factors leading to economic growth is population growth. An increasing population drives an economy, conversely a declining population can stop any economic revival dead in it's tracks.
Is a declining population going to stop these projects dead in their tracks even though they're already approved and some under construction? I wonder if these developers know about the declining population? Somebody should tell them so they can cancel everything! I mean, why would they want to build all of this stuff in a metro area of roughly 2.4 million people that is slowly leaking population? Since 45,000 people left the entire metro region recently there surely can't be anyone within the other 2.4 million that stayed here that would actually want to live or work downtown. Now that you've enlightened me with these facts I suddenly find myself not wanting to live or shop anywhere. You're so right Don!

This stuff is going to happen whether or not Pittsburgh is declining or increasing in population. Population trends have nothing to do with these projects or this thread.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 03:17 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronClark
Is a declining population going to stop these projects dead in their tracks.

Fifth and Forbes, 'nuff said.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 04:38 PM   #72
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The population issue (and its root, jobs) is a major concern, but when looking at it - it doesn't mean that people aren't moving to Pittsburgh. In the late 90s, 150,000 people left the metro and 100,000 came to the metro. It's a significant net loss, but the loss will continue with the unusually high senior population. The area did make some minor gains in the early 90s and the trend is not like it was in the 80s. The economy has diversified and improved, but it needs to gain much ground to overcome the demographic gap.

As for Fifth Forbes, it's coming together. There has never been a time downtown where so much housing has been planned or developed.


The two big projects recently announced will deifinitely be catalysts for improving the corridor...

3 PNC





Piatt Place:


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Old March 23rd, 2006, 05:37 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohpenn
The population issue (and its root, jobs) is a major concern, but when looking at it - it doesn't mean that people aren't moving to Pittsburgh. In the late 90s, 150,000 people left the metro and 100,000 came to the metro. It's a significant net loss, but the loss will continue with the unusually high senior population.

As for Fifth Forbes, it's coming together. There has never been a time downtown where so much housing has been planned or developed.
I agree that the population decline will continue for the next 15 or 20 years until the older population dies off. The massive exodus of the young in the 80's and 90's left Pittsburgh with one of the lowest birth rates in the entire country.

With the continued decline and in City population I don't expect the Fifth and Forbes project to succeed as a retail venture. Look at the Lazarus failure, throwing public dollars to attract retail was foolish. The housing must come first, but even at that you can expect a continued decline in downtown retail. The population numbers and 21st century shopping habits are just not going to support it as it did in days gone by.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 07:42 PM   #74
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I agree with the above 100%. Population density, jobs, tourists, and high incomes are what will make the retail work downtown. Specifically, 10,000 downtown residents seems to be a trigger point. People will not put up with the inconvience of making a trip downtown just to go shopping.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh are similar (Except you have a better football team - FOR NOW!) Damn. Durning 2005, our mayor commissioned a national study of retail specifically focusing on downtown. I read the report, and it mentioned the money you guys used to subdize the two department stores that are now closed.

Unfortunately, I can no longer find the entrie report on line. It was very interesting to read because it was so National in scope. I did come up with the press release which gives some insight to what retailers are after when they locate stores. Here is a link to it. It is only 3 pages long, so it's a quick read. Enjoy.

http://www.godowntownbaltimore.com/P...il_handout.pdf

By the way, we recently reached the 10,000 housing unit mark. A new Best Buy and two new Office Max stores just oppened. Urban Outfitters just announced a new downtown store two weeks ago. Apparently quite a few other stores are coming!
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 08:48 PM   #75
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Well.....the plans for downtown aren't very retail heavy. It's all about housing this time. With housing follows retail. It won't be down for long now that the population downtown is supposed to double within the next few years.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 11:58 PM   #76
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Yeah the money for L&T and Federated was a waste.

Though Kaufmann's (now Macy's) has done well downtown for years and so has the Sax downtown. I really don't see a need to have any more dept stores there anyway. hell, Pittsburgh is fortunate to still have two dept stores downtown, when you look across the nation.

However Nordstrom just announced that it is coming to town... though to a suburban mall. It's unfortunate because it would be great to have a unique (one location) store like them downtown, but oh well.

The shift of development Fifth and Forbes and around downtown is largely residential.

Piatt place and PNC will have some street level retail, but nothing too big to be risky anyway. While PNC will have some office space, both buildings will be home to many condo units. Additionally, Piatt plans on having a grocery store as well, which is a significant boost to living downtown. Of course many more are needed.

This report lists current/planned activity:

http://www.pghliving.com/images/prop...tus%202005.pdf


I'm glad that Baltimore hit that threshold. It appears that a lot is happening there and its only the beginning. I can't wait to see the new tower get underway there.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #77
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For those who haven't seen this before, here is a video from the Isle of Capri/Pittsburgh Penguins group that shows their vision of what the lower Hill District will become.

http://boss.streamos.com/wmedia/peng...pghfirst-1.asx
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Old March 27th, 2006, 11:47 PM   #78
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That's interesting. I hadn't seen that. I love what Uptown will look like. The issue I have with the whole plan is actually having a casino there (it just doesn't make sense to me), but the arena is badly needed as is a facelift for that area (plus this will build more housing and offices) So far Harrah's hasn't compared (though I think that Station Square makes sense for a casino, but the other aspects don't compare).
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Old March 30th, 2006, 05:41 PM   #79
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Point Park University buying Downtown properties for expansion
Thursday, March 30, 2006

By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Point Park University said yesterday that it is poised to acquire five properties along Forbes and Fourth avenues as part of a new Downtown expansion.




The university plans to use the properties for classrooms, housing or even athletic facilities.

The school's acting president, Paul Hennigan, said Point Park expects by today to close on a $2.5 million deal that has been in the works for about a year.

The properties are owned by Central Parking Service of New York City, university officials said.

They are just east of Point Park's University Center on Wood Street, formerly the Library Center, and include 322, 326, 328 and 330 Forbes Ave., as well as a parking lot on Fourth Avenue.

The parcels' location could enable Point Park to connect whatever it builds to the University Center, which houses the school's library, an auditorium and academic space. And the land's proximity to the Fifth and Forbes avenues redevelopment site offers an additional strategic advantage, Dr. Hennigan said.

"Whoever is the developer of the Fifth-Forbes corridor will need to interact with Point Park in terms of development of that parcel," he said.

Unable to fill its existing high-rise residence halls a decade ago, Point Park has seen its enrollment grow over the last nine years from 2,400 to 3,400 students, who have filled those halls and prompted the school to lease dormitory rooms from Chatham College to accommodate overflow.

Point Park already is constructing a new performance space and dance studios along the Boulevard of the Allies and, by the fall, expects to complete its first housing expansion in 40 years by moving 160 students into two buildings near campus. It will lease those buildings and operate them as suite-style residence halls.

Point Park, which has been acquiring properties Downtown for several years, is in the midst of a strategic planning initiative that will include a study of what academic areas are most prime for growth. Dr. Hennigan said Point Park is confident there is enough demand for significant campus growth in the years ahead.

"We're going to build what I consider a dynamic urban university," he said.

The Forbes Avenue buildings being purchased house a pizzeria and nail salon. Dr. Hennigan said the school plans to demolish them in advance of settling on an exact use for the land.

Central Parking Service could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Point Park has previously indicated that it may one day use a Downtown parcel as the new home for its Playhouse, now in Oakland. Officials said, however, that is not part of this property acquisition plan.

The land to be acquired is next to the Forbes Avenue building that houses the Honus Wagner sporting goods store, a property that is currently not available to the university for purchase, said Point Park spokeswoman Ginny Frizzi. If the property were to become available, Point Park would be interested in acquiring it.


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Old April 10th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #80
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Quote:

Piatt Place plan grows

By Sam Spatter
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, April 8, 2006


The developer of Piatt Place, the $49 million mixed-use project slated for the former Lazarus-Macy's department store building Downtown, plans to purchase, raze and expand into the adjacent Revco building on Fifth Avenue.
Millcraft Industries Inc., of Cecil Township, Washington County, also wants to talk to officials of Saks Inc. to determine its interest in moving its Saks Fifth Avenue store Downtown to its expanded development site.

"We also will be contacting Saks to determine if it wants to use part of the site to expand its store," said Lucas Piatt, vice president of real estate for Millcraft, which in January completed purchase of the Lazarus-Macy's building from Federated Department Stores Inc.

As reported, Saks' lease at its Downtown store, at the corner of Smithfield Street and Oliver Avenue, is due to expire in 2011, according to Herb Burger, former chairman of the Pittsburgh Task Force, a private group that under the administration of former Mayor Tom Murphy had been spearheading efforts to reinvigorate the Fifth-Forbes corridor.

Mayor Bob O'Connor has expressed a desire to keep upscale retailer Saks Downtown.

"They (Saks) are good neighbors and I want to make sure, as mayor, they stay here," O'Connor previously told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Revco building is one of close to 20 properties acquired in recent years by the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority along and around Fifth and Forbes avenues with the idea to attract a master developer for the corridor.

Millcraft, which has had an option on the Revco site, has recently expressed interest in expanding its role to other properties beyond Piatt Place, a project that is to include 50,000 square feet of first-floor retail space that could include a specialty grocer, restaurant or other merchants, 47 luxury condos and rooftop town homes and 180,000 square feet of class "A" office space.

It is scheduled to present its plans for the Fifth-Forbes corridor to O'Connor on April 18, according to Piatt. The concepts the firm is considering for Downtown include a movie theater and a 1,000-seat venue near Market Square for live music.

Millcraft's will be one of at least three proposals for the area to be presented within the next two weeks, said Dick Skrinjar, spokesman for the mayor.

Others interested in Fifth-Forbes include local developer Ralph Falbo of Ralph Falbo Inc. and Madison Marquette, a Washington, D.C.-based firm recruited by the Pittsburgh Task Force.

Falbo said he has not scheduled a meeting with the mayor to present his plan, but hopes to do so soon.

"I would be interested in acquiring most, if not all, of the buildings owned by the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority)," Falbo said.

While declining to reveal his complete project plans, Falbo in the past has said those plans would include a grocery store in the former G.C. Murphy building, some retail, and perhaps up to 200 housing units offering a mixture of condominiums and apartments.

Madison Marquette recently met with O'Connor and voiced continued interest in Downtown. However, the company has declined comment on its plans.


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