2nd restaurant added to office-hotel complex near Market Square

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Another restaurant is headed to Market Square as part of a $95 million office, hotel and retail complex that broke ground today.

Roost Fifty New American Kitchen will join Burgatory as the restaurants committed to the Gardens at Market Square development on Forbes Avenue adjacent to the square.

State and local politicians who gathered for the ground breaking heralded the project, to be completed in 2015, as the latest example of the transformation taking place Downtown.

"We've rebuilt Downtown. We've recreated a neighborhood here," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said.

Millcraft Investments, the developer, has been the forefront of much of it, redeveloping the former Lazarus-Macy's building into condo, office and retail space, the former G.C. Murphy store into apartment, retail and fitness space, and the former State Office Building into apartments.

The Gardens project will feature 125,000 square feet of class A office space, a 197-room Hilton Garden Inn, 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 330-space parking garage.

Lucas Piatt, Millcraft's president and chief operating officer, said the new high-end restaurant will over look Market Square and offer new American cuisine from across the country. The goal is to have either a drink, appetizer, or entree from each of the 50 states each year, he said. The restaurant, with seating for 300 as well as a lounge and private dining areas, will be operated by Millcraft's hospitality division.

Mr. Piatt said Millcraft also is negotiating with "a couple" of national restaurant groups that are not in Pittsburgh about taking space in the complex, but has yet to reach any deals.

Millcraft has lined up Turner Construction Co., the general contractor on the project, to take a floor of office space in the new building. Millcraft also will move some of its Pittsburgh offices into the complex.

It also is negotiating with three to four other potential tenants to take anywhere from one floor to 90,000 square feet of space.

"Our goal is to open the doors with 100 percent occupancy," Mr. Piatt said. "We think we can accomplish that."

Millcraft is asking $30 a square foot for the office space, which is among the highest rents Downtown. But Mr. Piatt believes "they're achievable, for sure."

The Gardens project is being built with the help of a $4 million state redevelopment assistance capital grant and $8.1 million in tax increment financing.

Millcraft also is involved in a proposed redevelopment of the former Saks department store on Smithfield Street, a project that involves a parking garage and street level retail space. It also is considering other projects Downtown.

"This is a great city and we want to do more things," said Millcraft chairman Jack Piatt. "We love Pittsburgh."

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262. First Published August 21, 2013 12:45 AM


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