ThePittsburghChannel.com - News: "PITTSBURGH -- Four years ago, hopes were high when Lord & Taylor announced it was moving into the old Mellon Bank building on Smithfield Street.
Today, the shelves are being cleared and a liquidation sale has begun at the latest major department store to leave Downtown and take taxpayer dollars with it.
Indeed, the times have changed in terms of hopes and perceptions being put forward by the media. The mayor was on a high in 2000 and 2001, in some circles. The new stores, the big roof at the convention center, and all the other corporate welfare deals. The city was flush with building jobs too, earning support from the construction trade unions too. Jobs were being filled by out of state workers.
But to the ones who were watching with more attention to detail and better senses of forcasting, things were not so good. Some knew that these projects were going to flounder and fail.
The African-American Workers Union picked for the first weeks of construction at PNC Park. PNC Park would open just weeks before the 2001 primary.
Heinz Field was to be home to the Pitt Panthers, but the lease to use the pro stadium was not signed until after Pitt's home stadium was demolished. Some knew it wasn't smart to take college football off of the campus every day of the year. Pitt would turn into a J.V. program to the Steelers. Heinz Field's first season was the same fall season of Mayor Murphy's re-election.
The Convention Center would open too, but someone forgot to build the darn hotel. So, we've got an expensive white elephant that can't ever be put to use at capacity as we can't accomidate the convention goers. Then came the pass-throughs.
Shop to you drop has new meaning in downtown these days. Four years ago, the media got drunk on the Mayor's costly bricks and mortar efforts. But for those of us who cared to stay involved, we knew big-time trouble was at our doorstep.