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Ravenstahl to announce partnership's plans to attract retailers Downtown

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will announce a plan to attract new retailers to Downtown at a Wednesday event along a section of Forbes Avenue that might benefit from the effort.

City officials didn't provide details Tuesday, but Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership CEO Jeremy Waldrup said the Downtown Action Strategy involves a range of efforts that public and private-sector representatives have agreed will help to continue momentum in some areas of the Golden Triangle.

The efforts are designed to aid both commercial and residential growth, he said in an email, and although no specific programs will be announced, “conceptual ideas for specific corridors” will be shown. Still, the focus is on “setting a vision and implementable strategy for the entire Downtown,” Waldrup said.

The mayor's announcement said the ideas to attract and keep stores result from a Downtown Stakeholders Working Group of business, university, organization and public officials that has been meeting for the past year.

Ravenstahl will highlight the top five in a series of points in the plan, spokeswoman Marissa Doyle said Tuesday. Although the plan will involve marketing vacant properties across Downtown, it will focus on “areas that need it the most.”

The setting for Ravenstahl's news conference, the 300 block of Forbes between Smithfield and Wood streets, “is an example of an area that needs help,” Doyle said, while the renovated Market Square that has attracted restaurants and other new businesses is a success story.

Urban Redevelopment Authority and Point Park University leaders were to join in the event. In October, the URA began negotiations with developers Millcraft Investments and McKnight Realty Partners to build retail space, apartments and a garage in the block along Smithfield Street where Saks Fifth Avenue closed in March.

Several retailers have closed Downtown in recent years and Macy's, the only remaining department store, and a block away from the vacant Saks, consolidated its retail space from 11 floors to six as it tried to sell its building with the intent of leasing back space.

Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or kleonard@tribweb.com.

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