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Jonathan Barnes

Seems like one of the most biased pieces I've read about North Side development in a while. But I guess if you're looking to criticize North Side development, it's as good as any story in that vein.
The story doesn't mention the new businesses that have been opened along East Ohio (look into it if you don't believe me), nor does the reporter talk with anyone from those businesses. Schram's was always a dive, and E. Ohio Street for many years has been filled with dive bars and crackhead prostitutes. I know this because I worked there for a few years several years ago(in a bar/restaurant), and also because I'm from that side of town and I grew up going down there.
What about the long-standing businesses like Ludwig Floral, Bernie's Photo or the Park House? I guess the Trib kid didn't have time to talk to them.
When was the last time you were in North Side? Do you have any historical perspective on how bad it was down there? To argue that those stadiums and the development around them haven't helped the area is just silly. Take a walk down there and look around. The area around the old Three Rivers was once a wasteland of asphalt.
The money spent on the stadiums can't be unspent, like it or not.

Sam M

Jonathan,

Fair enough. Perhaps I AM way too biased against these kinds of projects. But I do think they deserve a very close look in terms of what they promised.

Yes, the exact footprint in which the stadiums rest looks a whole lot better than it did. And so might the area directly adjacent to it. But the idea is that these kinds of things are supposed to bring redevelopment to an entire section of the city. Think of what supporters promise when they talk about the convention center hotel, or the Forbes Fifth Corridor. It's never, "Hey, let's fix this block." That would be fairly straight forward and honest. But no one is going to support spending $250 million on a block. So they talk about redevelopment writ large. This is going to fix the city. Bring in young people. make Pittsburgh cool.

Does that ever really happen? I suggest that it doesn't, or only in very rare circumstances. And there are places that support that suggestion. I bring up Baltimore a lot because I see a lot of parallels. And I lived there for years. Taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions (Is it over a billion yet? I wonder.) in a VERY concentrated area: the Inner Harbor, Camden yards, a convention center, hotels, Ravens Stadium, etc. Many of these are considered popular venues and, speaking from a redevelopment perspective, huge successes. Yet neighborhoods directly adjacent to these projects are still "undeveloped." Dangerous, even. Prostitutes. Drugs. Boarded up buildings.

Maybe they can sustain the political will to buy the entire downtown and effectively municipalize entertainment and retail. It looks like they are on their way. But that was never part of the deal. In each and every case, the NEXT project was the one that was going to tip the scales and bring in "organic," private or any other sort of investment does not involve tax dollars and backroom deals.

I agree that downtowns offer a good measure of a city's health. But it also seems to me that these kinds of projects focus on moving marks on the measuring stick rather than addressing the city's overall economic vitality.

Does that come across as too harsh in this instance? I have admired your posts and arguments in the past, so I am open to the possibility. My tone notwithstanding, though, I think that the stadiums will hardly be an exception to the rule if they fail to revitalize areas within a ten-minute walk.

No, we can't unspend the money. But we CAN question whether we should spend any more in this fashion. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars in a city of 300,000. Thousands of dollars per resident. We ought to expect a lot for that kind of money.

Jonathan Potts

Let's not forget Triangle 2, which opened across from PNC Park and is now closed, as well as Castelano's, neither of which was a dive. The point is not that the money can be unspent. The point is that city, county and state officials continue to tout this kind of government-drive redevelopment, as they've done for 50 years. It doesn't bring long-term prosperity.

Equitable Resources simply moved from Downtown, just like Deloitte, which also is building a new headquarters on the North Shore. Same with Alcoa. We're just shifting around dollars.

Mark Rauterkus

When DelMonte moved this time, from various downtown spots -- what happened to the downtown spots now? If we build up the North Side and vacate Downtown -- do we have enough new business to move into the downtown (no empty) spaces?

I don't think so.

So, we'll end up needing to knock down a few downtown office buildings. That lessens the density.

We don't need green spaces as a priority in downtown. Nor do we need glass roofed T-stops as is expected (proposed) in Gateway Center.

Jonathan Barnes

The glass-roofed "T" stop at Gateway Center will be paid for with private funding, according to Port Authority officials.
Rental rates in downtown have been flat for some time, but that's not out of the ordinary for this market. Downtown office space still fetches a high dollar, but Oakland is the best sub-market around here. Also, the North Shore and the South Side are extensions of the downtown central business district. Some would say that N. side and S. Side development is inherently good for the city by bringing in new taxes.
And there have been some new companies coming into South Side Works, including Butler County-based American Eagle Outfitters, which is moving from a lower-tax area to a higher one.

Jonathan Barnes

As far as the crime numbers go, you ought to consider unemployment and the Drug War as the two main culprits there. Those things, plus cutbacks in police service, have made the mean old North Side even meaner.

E. Manheim

Quote Sam M: This is going to fix the city. Bring in young people. Make Pittsburgh cool. Does that ever really happen? I suggest that it doesn't, or only in very rare circumstances.

Maybe I am a rare circumstance. I'm a person that happened to choose to move to Pittsburgh because I thought it was a damn cool place. I can't recall the numbers from your previous posts about population increase/decrease, but do they account for the age of the peopel flowing in and out of downtown and the surrounding areas. Perhaps you should look into just how many young people move here. I know the colleges have recently shown drastic growth and even the ones whos actual #s aren't increasing are seeing a major increase in number of applications.

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