City and state officials gathered Wednesday to mark the ceremonial groundbreaking of The Gardens at Market Square development in downtown Pittsburgh.
Millcraft Investments is behind the $100 million project, which will include 140,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space, as well as a 187-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel.
This is Millcraft's fourth major downtown project, and it's the third to use public funds. The funds come in the form of a $4 million Economic Growth Initiative grant from the state of Pennsylvania and is one of 54 grants recently awarded, totaling almost $125 million.
City Councilman Daniel Lavelle called Millcraft a "shining example of what it means to be a good neighbor," noting that the firm has taken into account both socio-economic and environmental factors.
"Not only is this development going to go up, and it's going to look beautiful, but it's going to provide sustainable jobs not only for those building it, but for those working inside the building once it's built," he said.
The project is expected to create up to 750 direct jobs in the downtown area.
Lucas Piatt, president and CEO of Millcraft and son of chairman Jack Piatt, told the crowd that the Gardens will be LEED Silver certified. The development's flagship restaurant is Roost 50, which Piatt said "will offer sustainable, local, organic and GMO-free options, unique cocktail options, and a rustic yet sleek and contemporary interior."
The Gardens at Market Square is part of an ongoing revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh.
"There's no doubt that businesses are moving back and residents are moving in to downtown Pittsburgh," said state Sen. Wayne Fontana. "The Gardens is proof that downtown is alive and is growing."
Gov. Tom Corbett called Pittsburgh "the best kept secret in the country," and said people from all over the state and the country tell him they are surprised by the recent growth and development in the city.
Millcraft's partnership with the city began in 2006 under then-Mayor Bob O'Connor, with completion the Fifth & Forbes project, now known as Piatt Place. Other Millcraft projects include Market Square and River Vue Apartments on Liberty Avenue.
Piatt said the Gardens will "fill one of last areas of blight between the newly renovated Market Square and what is happening at the Point Park University Academic Village."