Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today showcased record development numbers before announcing restoration plans for Pittsburgh's historic Market Square during the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's (PDP) Annual Meeting held this morning at the DoubleTree Hotel Pittsburgh City Center.
More than $4 billion in investment is currently planned or already underway in Downtown's Central Core which includes projects in the categories of office/retail, residential, mixed-use, educational/civic, park/trail and transportation.
"While many cities across the country are struggling, Pittsburgh's story is one of success and growth, as recognized by national media over the past year, and recognized here today," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "Record numbers in residential and commercial building permits point to the fact that Pittsburgh is experiencing its Third Renaissance."
Speaking to an audience of more than 350 during the meeting, the Mayor pointed to data indicating the City's positive position.
And, the good news continues. About 5,000 people now call the Golden Triangle home, up from 2,128 in 2000. That figure will only increase as 288 new units are set to come online over the next year.
Downtown is also one of the most sought-after office addresses with 1,650 new employees between Siemens Power Generation, Equitable Resources and UPMC - companies who've relocated or expanded to Downtown.
The cultural community is thriving with more than 1.5 million visitors in 2008. Broadway shows drew 300,000 people which generated an economic impact of $30 million for the City. The four-week run of Jersey Boys attracted 90,000 visitors and generated a $12 million impact (400,000 in parking and amusement taxes).
Point Park has begun work on its Academic Village - a $210 million investment in Downtown that will include 10,000 square feet of green space, 27,000 square feet of retail space, 10 renovated buildings, three new theaters, 50 new trees along Wood Street and 1,200 students housed in residence halls.
Market Square Renovation
One project scheduled to break ground this year is historic Market Square. After a public-process period that began last spring, Mayor Ravenstahl announced details on the new Market Square design and timeline.
"Neighborhoods throughout the City are experiencing record growth, and Downtown is at the forefront," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "Market Square is at the center of much of this development and investing in this asset is critical to Downtown's continued growth."
The final Market Square design is a hybrid of the three proposals offered to the community in May: Minimal, Oasis and Historic.
"I want to thank the residents, business owners, and stakeholders for their input on this very important project," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "I believe that picking the best aspects of each design will transform the Square from an already booming place, to an international model for public spaces."
The single-level piazza design removes through-traffic and dramatically slows traffic around the perimeter of the Square, providing for more flexibility and usable space. Twenty-seven parking spaces will be retained, along with loading zones and ingress and egress routes to support businesses. Outdoor dining is a key component of the design.
Wilbur Smith Engineers will work with Market Square designer, Dina Klavon, to bid out the $5 million project early this summer. Construction is slated to begin in August and completed by the end of May 2010 with a grand reopening and extensive programming and entertainment next summer.
So far, $4.5 million has been secured for the project, which includes a $2 million commitment from the City of Pittsburgh, with support from Governor Rendell and State R-Cap funds and $2.5 million combined from RK Mellon, Colcom Foundation and Heinz Endowments. The Mayor and the PDP will seek $500,000 from other foundations and local corporations that will benefit from the renovated Market Square.
"Thanks to Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen Zappala, Mayor Ravenstahl and the City Police Department for their work in reducing crime in the Square which allows this next phase of improvements to happen," said Michael Edwards, President and CEO, PDP.
The District Attorney and City Police's efforts to improve Downtown's safety has resulted in the elimination of three nuisance establishments. With the Mayor's leadership, there are now eight beat and three bicycle officers Downtown; two beat officers are dedicated to Market Square.
Mayor Ravenstahl concluded, "These tremendous efforts to keep Market Square safe, along with the PDP's safety ambassadors and Clean Team has given Downtown a solid foundation from which to grow and attract more investment."
Downtown: 2009 and Beyond
Celebrating its 15 years of progress and looking ahead, the PDP will continue its legacy of keeping Downtown clean and safe. Thanks to the support of Colcom Foundation, the PDP in 2009 will commit $375,000 in grants through its Paris to Pittsburgh Program with the goal of completing 15 projects by year-end. The PDP will also provide $2 million in funds to transform vacant upper floors into residential spaces, furthering its efforts to make Downtown a livable neighborhood.
About the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is a dynamic, nonprofit organization comprised of business and community leaders, property owners, civic organizations, foundations and residents who provide energy, vision and advocacy for Downtown Pittsburgh. Working collaboratively with its partners, the PDP strives to create a positive Downtown experience for residents, workers and visitors alike. The PDP's strategic initiatives include clean and safe services, transportation, housing and economic development and advocacy. For more information, visit www.DowntownPittsburgh.com.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687