Pittsburgh soon could be getting its first "convertible" restaurant.
At least that's the way Page Thomas, a city planning commission member, on Tuesday described a proposed Downtown restaurant that will feature a retractable roof, the better to catch the views of the skyline.
The restaurant is one of three planned in a two-story building at 942 Penn Ave. in the heart of the Cultural District acquired by Nick Nicholas, the Nicholas Coffee owner, in December for $920,000.
Mr. Nicholas is leasing the space to Tom Certo, owner of Sienna Sulla Piazza, to develop the concept in a building that previously housed the Trombino Piano Gallerie, which left Downtown in late 2011.
The new venue, to be called Sienna Mercato, which is Italian for "marketplace," will feature three distinct restaurants -- one on the first floor, one on the second, and one that basically will be built on the roof. The latter will be constructed with a glass front and sides and a retractable clear polycarbonate roof.
Mr. Certo said the owners decided to add the feature so that patrons could gaze at city skyscrapers while dining.
"It's one of the best views in the city of Pittsburgh, looking back toward the Grant Street properties," he said. "It would be an injustice not to expose that view in a project like this."
Mr. Certo would not discuss the types of restaurants he has planned for the building. He said all would be of the sit-down variety.
"[They will be] new venues that I think Pittsburgh will be excited about," architect Doug Sipp said.
Mr. Certo hopes to have the first floor restaurant open by October and the other two by the end of the year or early 2014. He has a long-term lease agreement with Mr. Nicholas.
He added that multiple restaurants in the same building are common in cities like New York. "The goal is to bring people to the building itself. People can roam throughout the building to any of the three different venues," he said.
He declined to discuss the cost of the project.
Mark Belko: email@example.com or 412-263-1262.