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Sports-oriented restaurant seeks special exemption

| Wednesday, March 7, 2001

A sports-oriented restaurant to be called Benchwarmer is scheduled to open in early April near PNC Park on Pittsburgh's North Shore.

Before it does, the developer of the facility at 200-204 Federal St. must obtain special exemption approval from the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment.

A public hearing on that request is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Thursday in the John P. Robin Civic Building, 200 Ross St., Downtown. The exemption would allow the restaurant to open despite the lack of on-site parking. The developer has arranged for 50 places in the new 900-car garage at 14-36 E. General Robinson St., said Kerry Solomon, architect on the project.

'The restaurant will have a look similar to Mario's on the South Side, but contain sports memorabilia and up to 65 TV screens,' he said.

Solomon was selected as the architect by Tim Fenner, of 200-204 Federal Street Associates, owner of the three-story building. He said Fenner, of Chicago and an acquaintance of Kevin McClatchy, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, purchased the building and arranged for Benchwarmer Management Group to operate the restaurant.

The first and second floors will accommodate up to 650 customers, and the basement level will be used for storage. No use of the third floor is planned.

Fenner has a similar Benchwarmer restaurant in Chicago, near Wrigley Field, Solomon said.

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