Updated 2/27/20: The Planning Commission has asked Continental Real Estate to provide more information about its plan to utilize the city’s performance-based points system under RIV zoning before returning for a hearing on the project in two weeks.

The developer wants to gain points for high-performance design factors, including the use of public art in the “Pirates Plaza” portion of the project, that would allow it to have a 130-foot-high mixed-use building, which is more than double the allowable height.

Since the point system under RIV is relatively new, planners must determine how the public art points are defined and whether they can be transferred from one portion of the project to another.

“Some of the bonus points are straightforward and have been verified by staff. However, three of the bonus points requested would be for dedicating 3 percent of the budget of a later phase of the project, the plaza site, toward public art in accordance with the standards in the code,” says Zoning Administrator Corey Layman.

The commission wants “more information and more commitment regarding the design of the plaza and the plan for integration of public art, or a better mechanism for ensuring that the points will be followed through with if they need to begin construction of the building that is utilizing the three points before they have provided a final design of the plaza phase.”

Here’s the story that ran on 2/24:

One of the last undeveloped North Shore sites soon could be transformed into “a unique experience … at the front door of PNC Park.”

So says Strada Architecture in a presentation on behalf of Continental Real Estate Companies that will go before the City Planning Commission on Tuesday. The proposed development at the corner of Mazeroski Way and North Shore Drive could become “the future flagship to the North Shore experience,” the architects say.

Currently, the site is the Gold Lot 4 parking lot.

The proposal includes an eight-story building that would have up to 49 condominiums — the first residences on the North Shore — a parking garage with 445 spaces and an undefined entertainment complex with an outdoor plaza and water feature.

In a nod to its next-door neighbor, the open-air space is dubbed Pirates Plaza.

The idea is to “interweave an immersive sports fan experience and an embracive North Shore business sector with premier residences,” says the proposal.

Aerial view of the mixed-used complex that Continental Real Estate Companies plans to build on the corner of Mazeroski Way and North Shore Drive.

Construction of the garage fronting General Robinson Street would begin this summer. That work would be completed by spring 2021, when construction of the entertainment component would begin.

Crews would start construction of the mixed-use building this fall, finishing it and the entertainment building by spring 2022.

Public art is part of the design for the garage and entertainment complex, and the plan includes space outside the garage for kiosks and a zone for food trucks. A pedestrian alleyway would run between the buildings from the ballpark to Hyatt Place.

The architects propose using building materials that complement those of PNC Park and nearby offices and restaurants.

The mixed-use building would include ground-floor retail space of about 18,000 square feet. The second, third and fourth floors would have offices — about 75,000 square feet total. Condominiums would be on the fifth through eighth floors, though the total number and their square footage is undecided. The rooftop would have terraces for both office workers and residents.

Continental has been working with the Steelers and Pirates on the master plan to develop the North Shore. Another site, Lot 2 behind the North Shore Place I and II office-retail complex, is also undeveloped. The Stadium Authority has given Continental until the end of 2024 to develop that site.

Sandra Tolliver

Sandra Tolliver is a freelance writer, editor and public relations professional in Upper St. Clair.