ShareThis Page

Pittsburgh Playhouse in Downtown OK'd by city planners

| Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, 6:38 p.m.

Point Park University's plans to build a Pittsburgh Playhouse in Downtown received approval Tuesday from the city's Planning Commission despite objections from preservationists.

Point Park plans to begin dismantling the facades of historic buildings at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes Ave. in March, and it will demolish the buildings to make way for a playhouse to replace the one in Oakland, said university architect Elmer Burger.

The facades will be incorporated into the $54 million construction project.

“I'm disappointed with Point Park's plans,” said Ellen Kitzerow, chairwoman of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, noting the three doomed buildings contribute to the Fourth Avenue Historic District, once the city's center of finance and banking.

Kitzerow was one of four people who voiced opposition to the project at a Planning Commission hearing.

John Valentine, executive director of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp., said, “It takes an area that had very few people and turns it into a very vibrant neighborhood.”

The plans include a 550-seat main theater, 200-seat adaptive theater and 100-seat black box theater. The facility would include a large outdoor terrace and adjoin the existing University Center. Point Park plans to refurbish the adjacent Pittsburgh Stock Exchange building.

“With over 220 nights of activity annually, this stretch of Forbes Avenue will be a critical connector for Market Square and the Grant Street corridor,” said Jeremy Waldrup, executive director of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

The Planning Commission approved a request to require permits to park between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on sections of Melwood and Morewood avenues, along with Denver and Broughton streets, in Oakland and Bloomfield. Signs will be posted. A city survey found that, on average, 97 percent of the area's 129 on-street spaces are occupied between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with about two-thirds being used by nonresidents.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.