Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today along with the Central Northside Neighborhood Council (CNNC) and other stakeholders held a “come-back” celebration for the Central Northside, announcing the $17 million "Garden Block Revitalization” project. The Garden Block comprises about 10 mostly vacant buildings along West North Street in the Central Northside neighborhood and is anchored by top institutions such as Allegheny General Hospital, the National Aviary, West Commons Park and the flourishing Mexican War Streets neighborhood. At its center lies the ubiquitous Garden Theater and Masonic Hall buildings, both of which will soon transform from long-time eyesores to destination restaurants and loft-style living.
“Today is a great day for the Central Northside and for all of Pittsburgh,” Ravenstahl said. “When we talk about Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance, we’re often in Downtown or in the East End. Today, we’re in yet another neighborhood that is seeing more jobs and economic opportunity thanks to the hard work of so many dedicated stakeholders."
Newly constructed market-rate homes on Federal Street have been built and sold, with 12 more under construction. A Crazy Mocha coffee shop and the Deli On North have recently opened and are flourishing. Right next door, the owners of the Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville will open a taquerio by Spring and are looking to open another destination restaurant in 8 West North.
“Folks here in the neighborhood have been itching for this block's renewal for decades, and we're so excited that this Mayor helped us push through every hurdle and ultimately succeed,” said Chris D'Addario, CNNC president. "There's still more work to do, but I'm convinced that the momentum is so strong that the sky's the limit for this block's renaissance."
Solidifying the Garden Block’s momentum, last Thursday, one of Pittsburgh’s most successful restaurants, Nakama, announced it will be opening a second Japanese sushi bar and hibachi grille in what is now the vacant Masonic building.
“This announcement will help us land other top-name restaurants who have already signed letters of intent,” said Wayne Zukin, of Zukin Reality, the project's lead developer.“
The Garden Block Revitalization project will take part in three phases. Construction is already under way at two buildings on Federal Street that are being stabilized and turned into new commercial space. Rehabilitation on the Garden Theater and Masonic Hall will take place this summer. Lease agreements for two other restaurants along West North Avenue have been signed by the owners of the Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville and the former Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District. Patrons will have additional parking behind the Garden Theater and at the 500-space parking garage on Federal Street.
“Our development plan intends to preserve as much of the existing structures as possible while developing a mixed-use project that will be sustainable into the future," said Zukin. "To this end, we will restore and expand the existing storefronts along West North Avenue and Federal Street and fill them with retail operations that will serve the Central Northside and attract shoppers from the surrounding City neighborhoods. We feel the site is also attractive to those from the regional suburbs due to the site's incredible interstate access and parking opportunities."
Other retailers such as a yoga studio, photography studio, bakery, dry cleaners, boutique clothing and more coffee shops are showing interest in the area.
The $17 million project will create approximately 130 jobs.
Garden Block Revitalization Project, Phase I:
Rehabilitation of Garden Theater to create 3,500-square-foot restaurant and bar with a 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio; second floor office of 2,000+/- square feet; rear demolished for additional parking and loading
Rehabilitation of 1113-15 Federal Street into approximately 3,000 square feet of retail space with four apartments.
Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687