Developer weighs North Shore project
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A Columbus, Ohio, developer is considering additional expansion on the North Shore after the Damon's restaurant chain took the last retail space available between Heinz Field and PNC Park.
Frank Kass, chairman of Continental Real Estate Cos., said Tuesday that his firm was thinking about adding more entertainment-related development on North Shore Drive next to Stage AE in what is now a parking lot.
Mr. Kass expects any new development to be at least 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in size. Others have estimated the expansion at as much as 80,000 square feet. Mr. Kass said the developer had already talked to several prospective tenants.
"We're just starting through the process. We'd like to continue that area as an entertainment district," he said. "We're just thinking the street frontage on North Shore [Drive] ought to be entertainment."
Expansion is under study after Damon's Grill and Sports Bar grabbed the last existing retail slot in the Del Monte and Equitable office buildings between the two stadiums. It will take a space next to Jerome Bettis Grille 36 in the Del Monte building.
The casual dining restaurant is expected to open in late summer or early fall, just in time for football season, which packs the bars and restaurants to the rafters, particularly during Steeler home games. It will occupy 7,800 square feet of space.
"If you are a restaurant with a sports bar and restaurant theme, you cannot envision a better location than between the two stadiums and Stage AE, which will have over 140 events a year," said Herky Pollock, the executive vice president of CB Richard Ellis who helped to broker the deal.
The news about Damon's committing to the North Shore came about a month after Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed sports pub featuring female servers in skimpy plaid kilts and white tops, opened in the former Calico Jack's Cantina space in the Del Monte Building.
Mr. Pollock, for one, welcomed Continental's plans to add more entertainment-related venues.
"Since the two new stadiums have been built, there has never been more activity and excitement surrounding the North Shore as there is now. It would be an ideal time to consider expansion," he said.
However, before any additional development takes place, there may be some thorny parking issues to resolve.
Mr. Kass said there were 3,450 parking spaces available between the two stadiums, about 400 to 500 fewer than the Steelers and Pirates are guaranteed under their agreement with the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority.
New development would take even more spaces out of service. That will necessitate more parking, most likely the construction of another garage. But the SEA, which would be responsible for the parking, does not have the money to build another garage.
Mr. Kass said Continental and the teams had begun discussions with the SEA about parking issues.
"With one hand, we're saying what we want to do next. With the other, we're saying we can't really build anything without any additional parking. That is the conundrum," he said.
First Published May 4, 2011 12:00 am