Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Plan for face lift of Downtown's shopping district emerging

Plan for face lift of Downtown's shopping district emerging 'We will be building a comprehensive effort,' he said. An early step will be understanding how Market Square, the Cultural District, and the Fifth and Forbes corridor interact, architecturally and economically.
Mayor, how they interact architechturally is only a bricks and mortar element that needs to be discounted. We've been too, too heavy on facades and hardware.

I'm happy to see a breath given to the connections among the economic realm. But, to make the project one that is able to florish -- the now "modest" susbsidy should be taken off the table. Make the subsidy ZERO. Then we can start to talk about who really wants to be here and what is really a sustainable effort.

Downtown needs to pull not only its own weight, but the weight of the city and region. And, downtown needs to perform -- NOW. So, we can give valuable spaces any free passes. Otherwise, the subsidy comes right out of the opportunities for the kids that are on our streets today and in our schools today.

And why not call the Fifth and Forbes area, since you want a new name, something that ties in the re-naming of the Parkway West with the same number as the Parkway East.

Fifth & Forbes could be "Junction of 376."

Or, 376's Middle-Point Rest Stop.

Or, Subsidized Shopping.

Or, Rich Get Richer Ville while Poor Get Poorer and NEVER any free lunch in Market Square.

Or, Bubble Zone Off Ramp.

The real news of this timeline article, if you ask me, is the hint that we're going to get to have a new branding exercise and a new name to dream upon. We've already gone through Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and D, E, F. Fitting, "F" came as Murphy was at a total failure.

Shall we start with the GREEK alphabet now under O'Connor's watch? Does that go, "Alpha, Beta, ????" (Excuse me, I'm preppie deprived as I went to Ohio U and didn't study the Greek A-B-Cs.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Plan for face lift of Downtown's shopping district emerging

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor detailed his timetable for redeveloping Downtown's shopping district yesterday, and said he is even casting about for a new name for the dowdy corridor.

His comments came shortly after a meeting in his office with James S. Bennett, a top executive at Washington, D.C.-based developer Madison Marquette. Under former Mayor Tom Murphy, the developer had floated a $50 million to $60 million Downtown revamp, which relied on $24 million in state and local subsidies.

After taking office Jan. 3, Mr. O'Connor opened the door to other concepts. Local developers Millcraft Industries Inc. and Ralph Falbo, both of which are building Downtown, have said they'd like to get pieces of the retail revamp.

That has led to talk that Madison Marquette might pull out. The mayor said that hasn't happened.

"They seem very interested in Pittsburgh," he said. "By being here [for the meeting], I think they want to be involved in discussions on the process.

"They're probably looking at something more realistic" than their original concept, he said, adding that any new plan would involve "a more modest subsidy."

A Madison Marquette spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Bennett's "message to us was that they're very interested in doing something Downtown, and in the vision the mayor has," said city Chief of Staff B.J. Leber.

That vision, which seems to involve a mix of stores, housing and a high "wow" factor, will jell into a process over the next week or 10 days. During that time, the mayor plans to work with the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and developers to chart a path by which a consensus Downtown plan can be reached.

"We will be building a comprehensive effort," he said. An early step will be understanding how Market Square, the Cultural District, and the Fifth and Forbes corridor interact, architecturally and economically.

The O'Connor administration plans to have a plan in place by midyear.

"That's a master plan. That doesn't mean announcing retailers," said Ms. Leber.

There's also an administration-wide effort to find a new moniker for the Fifth and Forbes corridor. That name still carries a stigma from the political battles surrounding Mr. Murphy's failed $500 million raze-and-rebuild plan, officials say.

The mayor said early ideas for a new name include the Fifth Avenue District, the Fifth and Market District, or the Market Square District.

Last week the mayor formally claimed the lead role in Downtown development. It had previously been spearheaded by the Pittsburgh Task Force, an ad hoc group led by Mike Edwards, chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Mr. Edwards could not be reached for comment.
(Rich Lord can be reached at or 412-263-1542. )