Festival to showcase rejuvenated Alcoa property in New Kensington
A one-day festival featuring art, music and food is growing into a three-day affair for its second go ’round.
This year, the summer festival will run from Friday through Sunday.
Last year’s event was staged by the Allegheny Valley League of Artists and the New Kensington Camera Club.
This year, it’s being staged by Steve Kubrick, of Kubrick Enterprises, who owns the property.
Live bands will include Inflatable Spacestation and The Rust Project. There will be local Pittsburgh artists featuring Cara Livorio. Entertainment will include aerial silk acrobatics and a fireworks show by Tanks Fireworks on Saturday night.
Beyond everything going on inside and outside the buildings, residents will also get to see Kubrick’s progress in bringing new life to the property that had fallen into disrepair after Alcoa abandoned it in the 1980s.
The property had been vandalized and trashed and was rotting.
“It was a big nuisance to all the neighbors,” Kubrick said.
Kubrick’s been at it for about eight years — investing $3 million since buying the property from Moret Construction.
He figures he’s replaced 800 windows; the grounds are now clean, vibrant and alive with plants, flowers and wildlife.
“I called this my little project when I bought it,” he said. “It’s really come a long way.”
The roofs have been replaced on all of the four buildings on the 17-acre property, which are named for the years they were built between 1929 and 1954.
They’ve become home to a dozen businesses, and Kubrick sees the buildings and the grounds hosting a variety of events, meetings, occasions and affairs.
“Everyone loves this property,” Kubrick said. “It will be a hell of a venue.”
After working on the other buildings, Kubrick is turning his attention to Building 29, the long, imposing three-story structure facing Freeport Road designed by famed architect Henry Hornbostel that had once been Alcoa’s headquarters.
Kubrick is working with Pittsburgh architect Eric Fisher on plans to put condominiums in part of the building, which will also be used for office and event space.
Fisher said he’s been talking about the project with Kubrick for a year, and is optimistic he’ll be moving ahead on a design.
“I’m proud to be involved with the project,” Fisher said.
“Our thought is to respond with sensitivity to the context of the site,” he said. “We’re deeply respectful of the Henry Hornbostel-designed building. We’re honored that Fisher Architecture is going to be working on a building with that kind of architectural significance.
“Our idea is to let old be old and new be new,” he said. “We’ll do everything we can to preserve the look of the outside of the building. On the inside, we’ll create contemporary, spacious, light-filled spaces that respond to the users’ needs.”
Following the upcoming summer festival, the first wedding is scheduled for the following weekend on the lawn in front of Building 29.
Kubrick hopes it will be the first of many events bringing people and business to New Kensington.
“Whatever your idea is, we can probably accommodate it,” he said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .