The week that was / Saks site: Parking prevails

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Shoppers who daydream of living in a department store will have to look outside of Pittsburgh. The former Lord & Taylor building is being turned into a call center for PNC Bank, and last week developers announced they were scrapping plans to include apartments in the development of the former Saks Fifth Avenue site.

Millcraft Investments and McKnight Realty Partners had considered building 130 apartments, including 24 studio units, on the Smithfield Street site, and maybe adding a rooftop swimming pool, spa and yoga room.

The scaled-back plan sticks with a 450-space parking garage and 25,000 square feet of retail space, according to the Post-Gazette's Mark Belko. William Rudolph, a principal in McKnight, said parking "seems to be the biggest void in that area." That is, after $400 shoes.

Rig ready-to-wear

And here's an update on some clothing that certainly wasn't found at Saks. Major industrial retailers are ramping up their "frackwear" stockpiles to accommodate the nationwide drilling boom.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that major retailers such as Cabela's are sending research analysts into North Dakota's oil fields to see what fire-resistant jackets and steel-toed boots are preferred at well sites. Some companies are even scouting "testers" who will wear their brand on the rig and encourage fellow roustabouts to do the same.

Now, a work site that comes with impoundment pits might not seem like it needs haute couture. But national sales of protective clothing increased by $100 million last year to $1.6 billion, and are expected to hit $2.3 billion in 2017, according to consultants at Frost & Sullivan.

Number of the week: $6.07M

That's how much UPMC president and CEO Jeffrey Romoff made in total compensation in 2012, according to a tax return filed by the health care provider. He joins 25 other UPMC employees in cracking the $1 million club for 2012.

Don't miss this

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Business section published its "In the Lead" special section this week -- a new annual magazine dedicated to tracking the region's economy in a big-picture way. This year's theme was leadership, and the section includes executive profiles and details from the Top 50 charts of the region's most successful businesses.

The magazine went out Thursday to Post-Gazette subscribers, and Sunday-only subscribers will also receive a copy. It is available for purchase through the PG Store online at


Erich Schwartzel: or 412-263-1455.


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