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The developer has committed to spending 200 million to revitalize the building. I would say that's much different then investing as little as possible.
Why does Pittsburgh hate having city views. These buildings all have amazing views of Downtown. The North Shore lost the opportunity of having residential neighborhood with views of Downtown, instead opting for some generic office buildings.
This massive, unappreciated property needs someone with vision and not someone who is just trying to eek some profit out of it while investing as little as possible.
Wasted assets. It is the key to North Side revitalization. I can't believe it still sits in this condition. Shame
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I completely disagree. I love the sign and watching it from my house on the Northside is sometimes mesmerizing at night. Do NOT tear it down. It's a great part of city history, even if it is a little commercial. There is nothing wrong with it, it just needs a little refurb!!!!
Yes, it is amazing how that neon works, how the sign gets programmed. We have all liked it. But the thing is ugly by day, and represents Code violations by its owner.
Billboards do not increase property value, thus do not generate increased tax revenue. However the very low rates for billboards are assessed, a company cannot let its property rot and then try to leverage that into turning it into massive income generation at the expense of the public.
Unlike other ads, billboards don't "bring us" anything: programs, news, magazines. They only mooch from the public thorofare, employ few or no local employees, cause distracted traffic accidents, and create ugliness.
If the sign cannot be repaired without replacing 50% of it - the rusting poles, rusting support frame, rusty face - then we obviate any grandfathering. And spraying a coat of paint over the frame and slapping a new LED face over the old one is way more than 50%. Therefore, if the City would enforce the Code, Lamar's mounting fines may prove too burdensome, and they will sell it or demolish it.
Great piece, but his name is "Zenas," not "Zenus."
Very nice article.
Being from Pittsburgh myself, it caught my eye.
I love the beautiful cartoon subject matter of Patterson.
Happy art makes the viewer feel happy
My own art is cartoonish also.
Hence I call it "Soft" Abstract Expressionism artbykathymitro.blogspot.com
Kudos to Charles Rosenblum on his current article (Building Busts) and kudos to Pittsburgh City Paper for having an architecture critic who so impressively covers issues relating to our built environment. Pittsburgh is having a building boom without the city planning needed to demand better quality design, among other things. To add insult to injury much of the development is happening at the cost of older buildings that were built to last and incorporated better design principles and quality materials. Today’s building materials and design are mainly used to maximize profits for developers and whether these buildings will last 20-50 years is unclear (thereby canceling any sustainable benefits when they go to the landfill). Thanks to Charles for speaking up and naming names. I hope this inspires our leaders – if not the developers – to demand more and abandon the “any development is good development” credo that has been in place for so many years.
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"Catala has "rebranded" empathy" you wrote. I am unaware that empathy is Catala's to rebrand. Catala's work may add to the current attention paid to empathy. However, 'rebranding' it is on a par with rebranding intelligence, vision, or taste.
Developers keep hiring the same horrible architect which is Strada. No vision and boring none of their work stands out and very bland colors. All their work looks the same.
Walnut Capital designs the most ugly, concrete, bland buildings in the city. A few flower pots or trees on the sidewalk would make a world of difference. Walnut Capital over prices all of their properties and units too.
I would love to know who developed the idea that apartments at Bakery Square are too cheap. The buildings are unimaginative, but it's a far stretch of the imagination to say that $1,295 a month is too cheap for a 500 square foot studio and $2260 is too cheap for a two bedroom apartment.
Arbitrating good taste is not a simple matter. When plans come before the Planning Commission with odd amenities, such as the recent shell of sheet metal with round holes of varying sizes all over it, the most effective thing might be to simply ask, "Are the holes so the pigeons can land and better poop upon the windows?" When yet another building (and another and another) comes through with concrete block, corrugated metal, and a couple bricks, just ask, "What is this style called? It seems so Third World."
And when yet another building - especially a planned residential apartment building - asks for three or four lit signs, each larger than the other, mounted on various places also against Code, and all are at least thrice the Zoning Code limit, just say "no." Variances should only be granted to address some hardship to the property, not some greed or selfishness on the part of the owner.
Another note - why are architects and real estate speculators still designing individual homes that are not accessible to folks with disabilities? Why should a brand new home have to be retrofitted to be accessible?
We can do better on all of this. We know some great architects.
While I'm encouraged by the collective mentality of the new members of the planning commission, their actions so far give me pause. In public meetings they're willing to push back against bad architecture/development with pointed questions and suggestions, but when the vote comes, they capitulate. I can't wait for the group to put its foot down on a project with a definitive "no".
another building that very few will be able to afford living in ... and boxy/ugly and un-inspired looking, to boot .
"Good enough is not Good enough" was the rallying cry from Mayor Peduto at the P4 conference; Every public official needs to take the time to read this and take time to understand make sure subsidies and incentives as well their bully pulpit are leveraged for better design. Oxford in particular must be called out. Trek and Mosites show that it can be done. Project proformas (cost per SF and public subsidies) can reveal much and need to be opened up to pressure better design. Of course hiring better architects and giving them the resources would help ;).
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