60 projects outlined by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

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Several major developments in the Golden Triangle will get started or completed this year -- part of a group of 60 projects in the pipeline totaling an estimated $2.2 billion in investment, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Among the developments to get started this year is the Gardens at Market Square, a $95 million hotel, office and retail project to be built on Forbes Avenue near Market Square. Lucas Piatt, president and chief operating officer of Millcraft Investments, the developer, told those gathered for the PDP's annual meeting this morning that Millcraft plans to break ground on the project in June.

The Gardens will feature 125,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of retail, a 335-car parking garage, and a 197-room Hilton Garden Inn. Burgatory, a hamburger haven, and Jackson's Social Bar and Restaurant already have signed on as tenants, Mr. Piatt said.

While the Gardens is getting started, PNC Financial Services Group hopes to complete the conversion of the former Lord & Taylor department store on Smithfield Street into a call center in November.

Gary Saulson, PNC executive vice president and director of corporate real estate, said the call center will be home to 850 employees, providing a shot in the arm to a section of Smithfield Street near the former Saks department store, which also is being redeveloped.

Also this year, Continental Real Estate Cos. plans to get started on a new three-story office building on the North Shore near Stage AE and Heinz Field. Continental already has lined up Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill to take a corner spot office Stage AE, creating a music and "eatertainment" venue, said Barry Ford, Continental president of development.

The launch or completion of the new projects will coincide with the end of renovations to the Point State Park fountain, which will splash to life as part of a June 7 celebration. A renovated Mellon Square on Smithfield Street also is expected to reopen this year.

"It's a critical component of the revitalization of Smithfield Street," said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP president and CEO.

The PDP also will kick off a new public art initiative this week with the group Zany Umbrella Circus offering free performances, workshops and a traveling museum in Market Square. Another group, The Sisters of the Lattice, also will offer a film and other entertainment in a parking lot on Liberty Avenue in the Cultural District.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com


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