Government
7:15 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Downtown Preservation Project Underway

A ceremonial removal of storefront tiles marked the beginning of restoration work on four different blocks in downtown Pittsburgh. The plan is to integrate old buildings with the construction of new facilities for retail and residential use.

Arthur Zeigler, president of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, said the $4 million Downtown Preservation Project will begin in earnest soon and be completed in 22 weeks.

"Historic buildings, regenerated, restored, can bring quality retail, good customers coming in and lots and lots of people living here downtown," Zeigler said.

Ziegler said they developed a plan to save the buildings that were architecturally significant while creating a "continuity."

"We didn't want open space, that's not good for retail, and then we identified block that were architecturally insignificant for new construction, because a city has to grow," Zeigler said.

Buildings involved in the restoration include 256 Fifth Avenue, the IDSA Building on Wood Street, the Thompson Building on Market Street and the "Three Sisters" building also on Wood Street. Ziegler added downtown is "very much alive and well," and the buildings themselves range from 1870 to 1922.

"So you have a wonderful continuity of wonderful, low-scale historic buildings rich to the eye and new buildings that are gong to bring economic vitality to the city along with the old ones doing that," Zeigler said.