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Pittsburgh's Station Square looking to receive upgrades

By Robyn Rudish-Laning
On December 7, 2011

Station Square owner Forest City Enterprises is discussing new development plans to help the shopping and restaurant center compete with similar nearby centers like the SouthSide Works and the Waterfront.

According to Jeff Linton, Forest City Enterprises spokesman, the company is looking to expand the selection of businesses and entertainment options for visitors.

"Station Square has always been a prime destination for visitors," Linton said. "We're looking for tourist-oriented retail and restaurants, too. We would love it to be a destination of choice."

The development would be located mostly toward the Smithfield Street Bridge, Linton said.

Possible additions would include a soccer stadium for the United Soccer Leagues' Pittsburgh Riverhounds, which could be located where Trib Total Amphitheater is currently, Linton said.

Office spaces and apartments could also be added to Station Square.

Although Forest City has discussed these options, they have not made any decisions. There is also no timeline for when redevelopment of the area will begin.

"If you know Station Square, you know there are many historic buildings from the steel and railroad industries," Linton said. "You have to approach redevelopment carefully. We have to be certain about our plans before we announce them."

Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises purchased Station Square in 1994 for approximately $25 million.

Since 2000, Forest City Enterprises has invested more than $70 million in development projects in Station Square, which have included expanding the Sheraton Hotel and adding Bessemer Court, which houses Hard Rock Café, Buca di Beppo and Joe's Crab Shack.

Eileen Manning, owner of St. Brennan's Crossing, a specialty Irish gift shop that has been open at Station Square for 32 years, thinks that new attractions would benefit Station Square.  

"We could use a nice variety of other things to round us out," Manning said. "There are a huge amount of international travelers that come here. Many come to Station Square for the historical value of it. They look for places like us."

Station Square was previously owned by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, who purchased the land and buildings from the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Company.

According to Assistant Archivist Frank Stroker, PHLF began the area's first renewal project in 1976, which "rehabilitated historic buildings," including the Grand Concourse, now a restaurant, and the Freight House, which houses many shops. The project also added the Sheraton Hotel, the parking garage, and docks for the Gateway Clipper Fleet, which moved there from the Mon Wharf in 1982.


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