Share This Page

Point Park hopes to retain facades

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

Point Park University will try to preserve the ornamental facades of three early 20th Century buildings on Forbes Avenue, Downtown, if the city approves demolition for construction of a new Pittsburgh Playhouse, officials said on Tuesday.

Contractors plan to remove tile, stone and other architectural adornments and reuse them as decorations in the $53 million playhouse complex, said university architect Elmer Burger. He said the other buildings at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes Ave. would be torn down.

“As much as we can save, we want to save,” Burger said.

He said the decorative material could be incorporated into doorways, courtyards and a grand staircase in the new building.

University officials briefed the Pittsburgh Planning Commission on the project. The commission, which must approve demolitions in the Golden Triangle, is scheduled to vote on the matter July 23.

The project includes a 500-seat main theater, two smaller “black box” theaters totaling 350 seats, a sound stage and space for classrooms, scene construction, painting and props. Point Park intends to renovate a former bank building at 414 Wood St. and the former Pittsburgh Stock Exchange at 333 Fourth Ave. as part of the project, said Mariann K. Geyer, the university's vice president for external affairs.

The bank building houses the university library and cinema digital arts program. The stock exchange could house a cafe, among other things, Burger said.

Geyer said demolition, if approved, should start this year and construction in 2014 or 2015. The university plans to relocate the Pittsburgh Playhouse from Oakland.

“A lot of (the timing) will depend on fundraising,” Geyer said.

The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation dates the Forbes Avenue buildings to 1910, 1911 and 1915. The building at 320 Forbes was built as the Royal Theater and later housed the former Honus Wagner Co. sporting goods store. Burger said its facade would be used in a public courtyard on Forbes.

“We like the fact that they're trying to maintain the architectural character of the neighborhood and incorporate as much of the facades as they can,” said Karamagi Rujumba, project director for the foundation.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.