Park and pride: If Saks lot becomes a garage, it must be attractive
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If there's one thing Downtown needs more than quality retail outlets it is ample parking, so plans for a new, 500-space garage on the site of the former Saks Fifth Avenue department store make sense for Pittsburgh.
Given Saks' departure, the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority is making the best of a bad situation with its purchase of the vacant building on Smithfield Street for $4 million. The URA wants to demolish it, along with two nearby structures, and replace them with an L-shaped garage that connects to Fifth Avenue.
The parking spaces are needed because an existing shortage will become more acute with all the construction and renovation work in the offing for that section of Downtown, including PNC Financial Services Group offices in the former Lord & Taylor building, apartments and hotel space planned nearby and a proposal by Oxford Development Co. for a project a block away.
Given its prominent location, this garage must not be a bland, concrete stack with vehicles visible from the street. Fortunately, URA board chairman Yarone Zober said officials are committed to a green certified building that will also be "an architectural statement about Pittsburgh's rebirth, Pittsburgh's renaissance."
First Published June 20, 2012 12:00 am