The P-G would like Buncherland to turn out “attractive and well-designed.”
We already assume all new architecture will be scrupulously cost-engineered to be squat, featureless, rectangular and modular, constructed from faux-sandstone, vinyl and Plexiglas — giving new life to the phrase, “They don’t make things like they used to.” It’s either that or build nothing new, ever.
I just confess a real ignorance as to how the housing market works. Given that our city is about half-vacant and with seriously high-quality housing stock, most of which is available at ridiculously low rents and prices, how is it that Buncher Company sees a market for 750 new residential units on this stretch of river? Is it that younger upwardly-mobile types desire to club together to show off their wealth, education and freshness on a fresh new campus? At the expense of having a backyard of their own, and a park you can lose yourself in with real trails nearby? Are these for people who aren’t planning on staying very long? If so, will the freshness keep to attract replacement generations? And is there enough of this market to sustain alongside the North Shore Apartments, the Heinz Lofts, the Cork Factory, Bakery Square 2.0, Piatt Place and Whatever’s Going Into Penguinsland?
It all seems so gossamer. Maybe somebody can explain it. Do we really, honestly have enough yuppies to make it all work?
The Allegheny Institute
points out some ironies (I think that’s the word) involving a bank moving back into “the Lord and Taylor building.” One certainly must credit PNC Bank for helping to inflate Pittsburgh’s disposable wealth coefficient — remember, they haven’t even begun constructing that green exclamatory tower
yet. Somebody asked me recently — don’t they have a lot of unused office space already in Allegheny Center Mall? Will we be demolishing that soon to restore the Federal Street grid with solar-powered bulldozers, even as we construct a new skyscraper Downtown with cranes that run on vegetable oil? And what will replace the improvidently designed mall — upscale mixed-use housing?
Meanwhile, Early Returns sees evidence that Mayor Ravenstahl was right about our city drilling ban having a negative effect on Downtown real estate — heeding Oxford Development Co.’s desire to maybe build a new skyscraper, but maybe not, because ugh, drilling ban.
Of course, there’s always a downside.
Null Space points us in the direction of Cleveland’s conceptualizing of regionalism as a services buffet.
Are all three or four branches of state government (depending upon how you care to count) firmly in Republican hands? Is the potentially pivotal race for Attorney General barely on the radar screen? Ladies and gentlemen, PoliticsPA gives you Prettygate.
For all the talk about the Gates, Heinz, Grable and Pittsburgh foundations, the outfit that really seems to stick in the PURE Reform community’s craw for whatever reason is the Broad Foundation.
Tomorrow, one key battle in the epic interstellar war between austere conservatism and organized labor will finally be decided in Wisconsin, at the ballot box, by ordinary people feeling somewhere in the middle and believing both sides to be making sound points. It’s close, of course. UPDATE: Maybe not that close.