Mayor Luke Ravenstahl this morning was joined by community leaders, non-profit and business leaders, for the official reopening of the newly renovated Market Square. This $5 million improvement project under Mayor Ravenstahl is the culmination of several years of public process, made possible through the leadership, vision and financial contributions of The City of Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Colcom Foundation, and the Hillman Foundation.
“Today our vision for this public space becomes a reality,” said Ravenstahl. “Market Square is the heart of Downtown and this renovation marks an important milestone in our City’s history. Workers, residents and visitors alike can now enjoy this historic and unique space that will serve not only as a Downtown destination, but a regional one.”
“I want to thank the public and the merchants for their support and patience during this extensive project, especially Prantl’s and Mancini’s for their commitment to stay in the Square and move to a more permanent, larger space. There are so many people to acknowledge, from Dina Klavon, designer of the Square, to those who shared their opinions during the public Town Hall Meeting more than two years ago, to the contractors and engineers who went out of their way to complete this project on time and on budget, and to our many fiduciary partners.”
The Market Square Project planning process has included significant public input, specifically to review three different design concepts for the space. The European piazza concept, designed by Dina Klavon, was the chosen option. This design offered expanded outdoor dining opportunities and sidewalks 21 ft. wide, in addition to a pedestrian-only interior with tables, chairs and umbrellas. Construction began in August of 2009, and a significant portion of the Square reopened early this summer in time for events and programming, including the Thursday Market Square Farmers Market.
Since then: 117,900 bricks, 3,127 square yards of terrazo sidewalk and roadway, and 20,345 square feet of blockstone have been laid; 117 lights have been installed; 1.3 miles of electrical conduit, 4.7 miles of electrical wire and 1,735 linear feet of granite curb have been installed; and 47 trees have been planted.
“The Market Square investment is already seeing tremendous returns in terms of long-time vacant spaces now leased and increasing interest in available property in and around the Square,” said Rob Stephany, URA executive director. “Forty-six residents now live on the Square in Market Square Place, demonstrating this truly is a livable Downtown.”
The long-time vacant office space above Starbucks is now leased by the Sommer Law Group. Penn Avenue Fish Market has opened their second location one block from the Square and Nola, a New Orleans-style restaurant owned by Yves Carreau (Seviche and Sonoma Grill), is moving into the former 1902 Landmark Tavern space. In addition, six buildings surrounding the Square will soon see façade improvements aided by the URA’s Downtown Façade Improvement Program and the Paris to Pittsburgh program.
To date, more than $450,000 of private business and façade improvements have occurred on the Square as a direct result of the reconstruction.
Also announced at the press event was the new “Market Square Season of Lights” project, an energy-efficient, choreographed and synchronized light show set to holiday music, made possible by Colcom Foundation. The lighting for this magnificent display and show will be provided by Blachere Illuminations, the leading supplier of LED lighting installations in the world and whose projects include the Eifel Tower in Paris and the Walt Disney World Castle in Orlando. Installation will begin over the next two weeks.
“Colcom Foundation is pleased to present a gift of holiday lighting to Pittsburgh’s residents and visitors,” said Timothy M. Inglis, president of the Foundation. “The ‘Market Square Season of Lights’ will add a new dimension to a renovated and historic space on the special anniversary of Light Up Night®. It is our hope that this sparkling display will become an annual destination during the holiday season.”
The display will include a 32 ft. tall, 16.5 ft. wide, red and white sphere tree with coordinating pole banners, over-the-street swags and other lights.
“We have worked on hundreds of lighting projects all over the globe and we’re proud to be here with you celebrating the opening of this important town square,” said Ronnie Brown, president, Blachere Illuminations. “This space lends itself very well to this spectacular display that people will enjoy for many seasons to come.”
Market Square Seasons of Light will be lit for the first time on Light Up Night® Weekend (Nov. 19) and will run through early January. The show will be programmed every night. More details will be forthcoming and available at www.DowntownPittsburgh.com.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
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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