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Thread: Pittsburgh has fever for downtown living

  1. #1

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    Pittsburgh has fever for downtown living

    New highrises are now appearing on the skyline
    and for the first time in the city's history they are primarily residential

    The Encore (now renting)


    Major riverfront development in Cultural District add 700 apartments/condos

    the winning submission;




    Monongahela condo highrise (UC)


    There is a huge interest in Loft apartments in the heart of the city


    Penn Avenue in the Cultural District


    Loft conversion to student housing


    Heinz Lofts


    the Armstrong Cork Lofts


    The Fifth and Forbes Avenue retail/residential District;
    The PNC Mixed use Tower (construction to begin in August)


    Piatt Place


    Market Square proposal


    And an unexpected and huge interest in the conversion of the old Banking Center of Fourth Avenue into luxury residences



    The Fourth Avenue Residential District


    The Standard Life Building


    The Union National Bank Building


    The Commonwealth Building (middle)


    The Bank Building



    The Arrott Building
    Last edited by UrbaniDesDev; 11 Jul 2006 at 1:14 AM.

  2. #2

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    Great Shots!

    UDD - I really enjoyed your pictures; I can see I'm long overdue for a visit! I haven't been there for over 30 years...I knew Pittsburgh has some great single family housing stock but didn't know about the conversions and the hi-rise stuff.

    Where are the people coming from who'll live in these buildings? From the suburbs or out of town?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I like the architecture a lot. Some good examples of tasteful postmodernism.

  4. #4

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    The word is that 60% of the downtown area residential units are being taken by newcomers to the city who are more acquainted with inner-city living than most of the locals. There are also many local empty-nesters who have opted for a simpler urban life. There seems to be many young grads new to the work force and attracted to Pittsburgh's tight concentration of theaters, restaurants and clubs. There are also a lot of people who have returned to the city after many years of life in other citys that have become overpriced. There's a great buzz about the city and it seems to be paying off in a big way.

    The South Side and the North Side, and all the neighborhoods around downtown are showing major developments that are including upscale shops and restaurants as well as residential. This is a major reversal for Pittsburgh, having been static for decades.
    The young people are quickly becoming interested in all the areas surrounding downtown as Downtown is a bit pricey for the newbys.

    Historic Northside


    Duquesne University/Soho District


    The South Side Works
    a major shopping/living district dropped in the foot print of a huge former steel mill inthe heart of the artist district of the historic South Side




    Bloomfield (East side)
    In fill housing in the heart of a neglected neighborhood that has seen new life as the rents rise in the South Side the artists migrate



    The North Side/North Shore
    The North Shore has completely been redisigned with the new staiums and major riverfront parks, offices, restaurants and soon to come residential





    East Liberty/Shadyside and Oakland are also experiencing major developments
    Last edited by UrbaniDesDev; 12 Jul 2006 at 9:45 PM.

  5. #5

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    Welcome to Pittsburgh

    Miles you must come for a visit
    Its a great walking city

    The All Star Game






    Last edited by UrbaniDesDev; 12 Jul 2006 at 9:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Glad to see the city's rebounding - I'm hoping to maybe swing by Pittsburgh in the fall if all goes well.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    It all looks very attractive and I did enjoy Pittsburgh tremendously when I last visited in the fall of 2003.

    However, Pittsburgh is suffering a loss of jobs and population from the region, it is one of the few metro areas that has actually experienced a net loss of population, even in the suburbs, and the city itself faced the real threat of bankruptcy from spending so much money on revitalization. The number of companies based in Pittsburgh has dwindled and high paying jobs (that supply the people who buy these developments) has been stagnant.

    I'm somewhat curious if all this is being built on hope and faith rather than sound economics. I love the pictures I saw, and my time in Pittsburgh, but it will hurt the city badly if all these grand ambitions fall flat in the face of reality (whatever that reality may be). I do know that Pittsburgh's downtown, compared to most other cities, has to its advantage that it holds a higher share of jobs for the region, and downtown Pittsburgh doesn't have any real suburban edge cities to compete with (thanks to the lack of a beltway, most likely). If someone can educate me on the current economic climate of Pittsburgh, I'd appreciate it.

  8. #8

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    I understand that Philly has also suffered a tremendous loss of population yet there are enormous luxury residential towers all around center city going up. It has been projected that it will take 18000 new affluent residents in center city to fill all these new towers.

    http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/...27/story2.html

    All citys are taking chances. It's sort of the name of the game.

    Here's an article explaining a bit on the downtown work force
    "More than 180,000 suburbanites flow into Downtown, Oakland and other city neighborhoods each day to work, boosting Pittsburgh's population by 41 percent, the fourth-highest proportional "day surge" among large cities in the nation."
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06015/638256.stm

    A decline in population doesn't necessarily mean a decline
    " In seven of 22 cities studied by planning professors William Lucy and David Phillips, population declined from 2000 to 2004 but the per-capita income of residents went up compared with those in the suburbs — a sign that smaller populations don't necessarily mean cities are dying. Only two cities lost people and showed no improvement in income: Detroit and Philadelphia."

    "This shift is fueled largely by demographic changes. For example, a family of six with an annual household income of $65,000 moves from the city to the suburbs and a single, young professional who earns $80,000 moves in. The city ends up with five fewer people who need government services while the per-capita income of that household soars."
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...0-cities_x.htm

    The succes of the frist condo building has inspired more construction. It has become less of a gamble and more of how much can we absorb. Construction of the first condo building has just started construction this summer. It has raised it's prices 5 times due to interest and is already 50% sold.
    http://www.popcitymedia.com/developm...firstside.aspx

    From Pittsbrgh Business Times, May 3rd;
    FirstSide developers find raising condo prices doesn't deter buyers
    Prices have gone up an average of 26 percent
    Pittsburgh Business Times - April 21, 2006by Robert Sandler
    Living Downtown is proving to be far more popular than even some of its biggest supporters thought.

    The 82 condominiums under construction at 151 FirstSide have been so popular that the developers have raised prices five times in the year the sales office has been open. While prices at most new condominium buildings typically increase 10 percent or 15 percent during construction, prices at 151 FirstSide have gone up by an average of 26 percent.

    "We've raised them, but not necessarily equally across the board, so that the increases have reflected the market and the market's preference for the units," said Carole Clifford, a Coldwell Banker Pittsburgh agent who leads the 151 FirstSide sales office.

    A person who bought the smallest one-bedroom condominium with a view of Downtown when sales started in March 2005 would have paid $188,000. Almost all of those small units with city views have sold.

    The least expensive unit still available costs $290,000, while it originally was listed below $260,000, Clifford said. The penthouses, which started at $1.4 million, are now asking $1.8 million, she said.

    And the steel has barely come out of the ground.

    Developers expect that with any new condominium construction, prices will increase as time passes. Some of that is due to higher prices of materials, but much of it is because of demand. As the building rises out of the ground, the theory goes, more people will see it as a potential home and not a construction site.

    Buyers also will pay more because there are fewer units available -- "kind of like the market economy," Clifford said.

    But the price increases on 151 FirstSide, especially for the lowest-priced units, have exceeded all expectations.

    Clifford, a veteran residential real estate agent Downtown, said she's seen housing prices increase that fast one other time.

    "About five years ago, right around the time PNC Park was being built, values at Gateway Towers shot up 37 percent almost literally as they broke ground," she said. "If you look at that experience and what we're seeing now, it seems that people need to be reminded that there's a residential neighborhood called Downtown Pittsburgh."

    The FirstSide building, developed by O'Hara-based Zambrano Corp., Strip District-based EQA Landmark Properties and Downtown-based Ralph A. Falbo Inc., is expected to welcome its first residents in late spring or early summer of 2007.

    "To have gone through the winter (and) had the kind of sales we had, we're elated," Ralph Falbo said. He said he expects sales to increase even more when the building's structural steel comes out of the ground in late May or early June.
    Last edited by UrbaniDesDev; 16 Jul 2006 at 7:05 AM.

  9. #9

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    $1 Billion in development

    "$1 Billion in Developemnt Pumps up City's Volume"
    interets in downtown opportunities soar!
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_462084.html

  10. #10
         
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    Da Burgh is probaly one of the most UNDERATED cities in US, it has a lot of urban treasures. Eveyone I know who visits it for the first time really likes it, and they are really surprised and say things like," wow, it is really cool and clean", or it's downtown is really neat', " I did'nt think it had so many cool nieghbourhoods", etc. I went there for the first time in 2002 with a friend who went to U of Pitt and he gave me a really comphrehensive tour. We saw it all, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, went up the mountain trams, the strip district, Bloomfield (I think was the name) had Iron City beer, Braddock and had a Pramanti Bros sandwich, drunk at 2 a.m. Cole Slaw inside the sandwich of course!!!
    Overall, a really cool city and home of one of my fav skyscrapers- PPG Place.

  11. #11

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    I'm glad you liked it. True it has been underated for a long time. It has been busy digging out from the collpse of Industrial America. It has been a long slow battle. We really seem to have turned a corner, Now we have to let the rest of the country see how great it is. All this new attention tells me thir is interest again.

  12. #12

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    Are you familiar with a pro-urban website called New Colonist? One of the editors is a big Pittsburgh booster.

    The site is also a more rational, less hsitrionic discussion of peak oil than one would find on Kunstler. I also like the one editor's philosophy of life.

    http://www.newcolonist.com/vox/vox.html

  13. #13
          bross's avatar
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    I went to Pitt my freshman year of college. I kept in touch with most of my good friends and a good majority of them found jobs in the city after graduation. They were attracted to the low cost of living in the city.

    Although I was only in Pittsburgh for a year, I was impressed with the cleanliness and potential of the city. However, I felt that the city was investing too much in downtown development and not enough in other parts of the city. Instead of focusing on these massive commercial and residential projects in the city's downtown (which by the way is completely dead after 5PM), Pittsburgh should invest more money in spurring gentrification in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown, since many neighborhoods in the city are historic and have potential to be aesthetically pleasing.

  14. #14

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    Most of the areas around downtown have their own redevelopment going on. The South Side is booming. The Strip is beginning, with the Armstrong Cork Lofts opening soon and other lofts begining. The biggest surprise is East Liberty. It is the midst of a complete turn around. I take it it's been a few years since you've been here Bross. That was the old argument here. The entire city seems to be upswing. The closer to downtown the better. Even the Hill is in play. The Historic North Side is lagging mostly due to gang violence.

    BKM, I have met him. I've lost touch with the New Colonist. It became very quiet for a while. I will have to look at it again.

  15. #15

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    Riverfront


  16. #16

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    The new Childrens Hospital going up in Bloomfield/Lawrenceville


  17. #17
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I spent 5 days, as a tourist, in Pittsburgh back in May. I did it all by bus and train (and one taxi ride). A few things struck me while i was out there.

    One of the first things that seemed weird to me was how many people were just standing around downtown. People in work clothes, professionals, blue collar, everyone. Then i realized they were waiting for the bus. In Philly most people go underground to get home so they're out of sight, out of mind. You'll still see people waiting at bus stops but 3 or 4 people not 30 or 40.

    The second thing that hit me was just how big the downtown was. I've seen plenty of pictures of Pittsburgh's skyline but you don't get a feel for the scale until you're down there on the street walking around. Especially for a city that size.

    After getting to just about every neighborhood in the city it reminded me more of Northwest Philly. Towns separated by hills and valleys. Manayunk, Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown. Pittsburgh is a lot more detached housing than rowhome and i guess that's not really what i was expecting. Downtown Pitt, the southside, and northside reminded me a lot of Philly or Baltimore. The other neighborhoods were a lot more midwestern in feel and seemed more like a Columbus, OH or Rochester, NY

    The other thing, and i guess the most important is . . . I expected to see some bad neighborhoods. I certainly did see some run-down neighborhoods but nothing like what i expected. There was no where near the level of abandonment and decay that one sees in parts of Philly or Baltimore. We were never put off by any of the places we walked and we definitely walked through some of the seedier parts of town. Despite looking for it we just didn't see the poverty that we live with in our South Philly neighborhood
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_B...,_Pennsylvania
    The only thing i could think of was that, while industry abandoned Philly and Balitmore starting in the 60's it didn't happen until 20 years later in Pittsburgh. Now there's renewed investment. It's a lot easier to rehab a house that's abandoned for 10 years than one that's been abandoned for 30. It's a lot easier to stabilize a neighborhood that lost its blue collar jobs 15 years ago as opposed to 40 years ago.

    Pittsburgh has a lot going for it in that regard. It could just as well be in the same boat as Cleveland but i didn't see Cleveland at all. I saw a city that tripped rather than tumbled and it's picked itself up quite nicely and dusted itself off.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  18. #18
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    Incentive taxation

    I understand downtown Pittsburg keeps the tax on buildings low and high on land; this two rate tax system serves to encourage development - it is also known as site value taxation. It is one of only two or three cities in the U.S. that use it as far as I know; another is somewhere near Detroit. It is also used in at least one large city in Australia.

    I spent a week in Pittsburg in the summer of 1984.

  19. #19

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    Hey, jresta. Welcome back.

    Have you followed the "Mutualism" thread that our favorite "vulgar libertarian" jaws started? I'd love to hear your input.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM View post
    Hey, jresta. Welcome back.

    Have you followed the "Mutualism" thread that our favorite "vulgar libertarian" jaws started? I'd love to hear your input.
    thanks. i've been following some threads. i've just been going through a career change, i got a new house, and i'm getting married next week. It's been a pretty busy year.

    I think i'll take this respite to post of few of those Pitt. picks.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  21. #21
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    Someone needs to clue Richard Florida in...

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