N. Shore complex name is Stage AE

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American Eagle Outfitters has found a way to cement its presence on a second Pittsburgh shore.

The South Side-based company has secured the naming rights for the new entertainment complex being built on the North Shore. Stage AE, as it will be called, is set to debut this fall just east of Heinz Field.

Terms were not disclosed. American Eagle, which is headquartered in the SouthSide Works complex, has been seeking to raise its local profile in recent years, and the naming rights deal will give it the opportunity to do that.

"Music is an important part of our customers' lives, as well as the AE brand experience," Fred Grover, executive vice president for American Eagle Outfitters, said in a statement Thursday announcing the deal.

Construction of the $12 million indoor-outdoor venue started in late March and is expected to be completed by fall so that it will be up and running during the Steelers' regular season.

The Steelers and Columbus developer Continental Real Estate Cos. will own the building. The Steelers and Columbus-based PromoWest Productions will be the operators and will get the naming rights revenue, Continental Chairman Frank Kass said.

Stage AE will consist of an indoor venue that will hold up to 2,400 people, an outdoor amphitheater with room for 5,500 people, and a small rock club that will hold 350 to 400 guests.

The complex is expected to play host to 100 major events a year, with half of them scheduled during the summer.

Mr. Kass said Thursday there also would be numerous other shows to fill out the bill, adding there's "always going to be some little group playing almost every night of the year."

"The place is going to be rocking and hopping," he said.

However, Stage AE might not be the only entertainment venue to stake a claim to the North Shore.

Mr. Kass said Continental, which is developing the land between Heinz Field and PNC Park, is working on another entertainment venue that would be adjacent to the complex.

He described the proposed venture as a "national brand" but stressed that it would not be a music venue and would not compete with Stage AE.

"It will be different than that," he said, declining further comment.

Mr. Kass said Continental also was considering two other possible restaurants on the North Shore to supplement existing offerings that include Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, Jerome Bettis Grille 36, McFadden's and Calico Jack's Cantina. Rivertowne, a local restaurant and bar, also opened recently.

Continental also has started to look at the potential for apartments or condominiums on another site between the stadiums. The developer will probably start with apartments because the condo market is not strong right now, Mr. Kass said.

However, for the residential component to work, there will likely be the need for another parking garage on the North Shore, Mr. Kass said, a task that would fall to the city, Allegheny County and the Sports & Exhibition Authority to handle.

Mr. Kass said the overall goal was to fill North Shore Drive, the main thoroughfare near the riverfront, with entertainment and restaurants options that will create activity throughout the year.

"We're just trying to look at who the players will be and what goes where," he said.

One component that doesn't appear to be in the cards right now is another office building to supplement two existing ones.

Mr. Kass said there didn't appear to be much interest right now in new space. Those who are looking are more interested in being Downtown, he said.

"When there are tenants, we'll talk about [another building]. There are no tenants," he said. "Right now, it's a tough putt."

Another Continental project, the $25 million Hyatt Place Hotel, is expected to open on the North Shore in late September.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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