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Creating more outdoor dining options will heighten the North Shore's appeal, developers say

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:19 a.m.

Creating more outdoor dining options will heighten the North Shore's appeal as an entertainment destination when there isn't a game at PNC Park or Heinz Field, developers of a pair of office-and-retail buildings said Tuesday.

An alley between the planned three-story buildings, dubbed North Shore Place I and II by developer Continental Real Estate Cos. of Columbus, Ohio, would have room for outdoor dining on each side, with space in the middle for pedestrians strolling between parking lots and North Shore Drive.

The concept is to establish a piazza-type atmosphere where visitors can see and hear others enjoying meals, talking and listening to music at up to five restaurant and retail spaces on the first floors of the buildings, which will have 80,000 square feet of office space.

The City Planning Commission voted Tuesday to authorize the project, as expected.

Construction could begin as early as March. The development is scheduled to open in April 2014. Continental officials want to enclose the outdoor areas during cold-weather months.

“Our goal is to transform the North Shore and this development into a 24-7, 365-day-a-year event place where people can come and eat, drink and dine and have special occasions,” said Herky Pollock, an executive at commercial real estate services firm CBRE Group Inc., which is working with Continental.

“We don't want it to be just for the Pirates and Steelers games and going to Stage AE and the casino.”

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grille and a restaurant by North Park Lounge owner Mark Baranowski are set to open on the first floor of the development. Pollock said there is interest in the other spots, but deals haven't been signed. He said the emphasis will be on serving food, rather than alcohol.

“The places that have done the best on the North Shore are those that really feature food and not the bar, and the ones that are the least successful focus on the bar with food being an afterthought,” Pollock said.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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