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Pittsburgh commission approves plans for UPMC vision hospital

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, 6:06 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Planning Commission has approved UPMC’s plans for a vision and rehabilitation hospital at Mercy Hospital in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. The rendering provided by UPMC is how the hospital would look from the Boulevard of the Allies.
The Pittsburgh Planning Commission has approved UPMC’s plans for a vision and rehabilitation hospital at Mercy Hospital in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. The rendering provided by UPMC is how the hospital would look from the Boulevard of the Allies.

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday approved plans for a new UPMC vision hospital in the city’s Uptown neighborhood.

UPMC representatives outlined plans for a 9-story vision and rehabilitation hospital building along Locust Street between Marion and Van Braam Streets with a pedestrian bridge connecting the building to Mercy Hospital. The hospital will feature surgical and clinical facilities on the first four floors and space for clinical and academic research on the top five floors. The hospital is part of a $2 billion expansion announced by UPMC last year.

“At this location we have the opportunity to consolidate the research and clinical work of Dr. Gwen Sowa and her team at UPMC Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital and that of Dr. José-Alain Sahel a internationally recognized scientist and ophthalmologist, who has agreed to join us at UPMC with his colleagues,” said Roger Altmeyer UPMC’s director of community project development. “We think that this project will be a catalyst for all future development in the Uptown corridor.”

Plans include extension of a park fronting Mercy Hospital along Locust, an atrium, fourth-floor terrace and garden, a meeting room/visitor’s space with large windows offering panoramic views of the Monongahela River and Pittsburgh’s hills and a 1,100 space parking garage.

Construction is expected to begin next year and take 36 months.

Planning commissioners unanimously approved the project. There was no public opposition, unlike previous meetings about the proposed hospital.

Planning commissioners on Tuesday also approved a proposal for a $26.4 million “cap” and park over the Crosstown Boulevard that’s been in the works for three years. The project is basically a concrete lid over the boulevard with the park on top of it, according to Dan McDowell, project manager with LaQuatra Bonci Associates, a South Side-based landscape architectural firm.

He said the park would include rain gardens to collect storm water runoff, a performance space with historical artworks, improved pedestrian access between Downtown and the Hill District and space for an outdoor classroom.

Construction is expected to start early next year and be complete in the summer of 2021.

“Downtown Pittsburgh is getting a 3.5 acre park,” McDowell said. “We think its accessible, usable and will hopefully be a very active space.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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