Bookstore, cultural center to anchor Garden Theater block project on North Side

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City of Asylum Pittsburgh will open its Alphabet City bookstore and cafe in the three ground-level storefronts of the former Masonic Temple Building of a multi-property redevelopment on the North Side, its co-founder and president Henry Reese said today.

The non-profit's enterprise will be the anchor tenant of the project that includes the former Garden Theater on North Avenue and several buildings on Federal Street.

It is projected to open in the spring of next year.

Alphabet City was first proposed as a neighborhood cultural center to occupy a triple lot on Monterey Street between Sampsonia Way and Jacksonia Street.

The Monterey plan was challenged in court and lost, inspiring the move several blocks east.

Mr. Reece and his wife, Diane Samuels have been holding readings in their home on Sampsonia, the street where all the writers-in-residence live.

The bookstore will provide space for readings and performances, workshops and classes and include a restaurant with internet access.

"By building Alphabet City in the heart of Allegheny City Central's redeveloping commercial district, rather than in the residential interior, we are able to grow beyond our original plans," Mr. Reese said in a prepared statement.

Allegheny City Central is the new brand of the Central Northside Neighborhood Council.

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Diana Nelson Jones: djones@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1626.


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