There are always questions when a moving van pulls up, bringing a new family into a community. Will they be good neighbors? Will they take care of their property? Do they have kids?
In the case of UPMC Children's Hospital, which will move from its Oakland headquarters to a new building in Lawrenceville, the answer to that last question is obvious. More than 100 children will be carefully transferred to the hospital's new home on May 2.
It's becoming equally obvious that the addition of Children's could be very good for the new neighborhood.
Lawrenceville's transformation is not singularly attributable to Children's. In recent years, young people have been moving to the area as an alternative to higher-rent districts in the East End, and storefronts along Butler Street have been filling up.
This year, though, there's been even more of a bump, with recent home-sale prices up 10.2 percent and few homes remaining on the market for long. At the same time, there are proposals for three new hotels nearby, and the Ronald McDonald House will move into an adjacent high-rise, where larger, apartment-style rooms will be available for relatives while out-of-town patients undergo treatment.
Children's move will spur the revitalization of Lawrenceville at the same time that it benefits the old neighborhood by subtraction, given that Oakland's educational and medical facilities are bursting at its seams.
It's too soon to say goodbye to the old and put out the welcome mat in Lawrenceville, though. The immense chore of packing up for this complicated move still lies ahead.
Correction/Clarification: (Published Oct. 30, 2008) Liberty Avenue is not in Lawrenceville. This editorial as originally published on Oct. 29, 2008 about development in the neighborhood should have referred to Butler Street.