Point Park University's Media Innovation Center.
An architect's rendering shows Point Park University's Media Innovation Center. Courtesy GBBG Architects.

As part of the Academic Village initiative at its Downtown Pittsburgh campus, Point Park University is planning a $2.5 million Center for Media Innovation at the corner of Wood Street and Third Avenue.

The 4,000-square-foot center will be housed at 305 Wood St., former site of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. It’s being designed by GBBN Architects, and is expected to be completed in 2016. The Center will feature floor-to-ceiling exterior windows, giving Today Show-like views of the production studios to passersby.

“Point Park prides itself on offering a real-world, career-focused educational experience,” University President Paul Hennigan said at an event unveiling the plans. “The Center for Media Innovation will play a key role in the University’s mission to teach students to be entrepreneurs and to embrace technological change, while adding another vibrant corner to the important Wood Street corridor.”

The Center will include television and radio broadcast studios, a photo studio, a multimedia newsroom and a gallery space. It’s funded in part with a grant from the Allegheny Foundation, which was created by the late Richard Mellon Scaife, who was chairman of Trib Total Media. That media organization, which includes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Tribune-Review in Greensburg, will be an “active participant” in educating students at the new Center.

“Media has gone through a lot of changes, and it hasn’t all been bad, but it has all been disruptive,” Andrew Conte, a reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and director of the Point Park News Service said at the unveiling. “This is a place that will allow students and professional journalists to figure out the way forward.”

The Center will have editing and reporting stations open to students from the Point Park News Service; student-run public relations firm Wood Street Communications; student newspaper The Globe and student digital magazine The Pioneer.

“The media industry has evolved from individual labels such as print and television into a massive multimedia effort that requires knowledge and expertise in all disciplines,” Hennigan said. “This is an innovative incubator and collaborative space that brings together a cohesive, interactive strategy to education, while simultaneously engaging a downtown audience.”

The Academic Village initiative is a multi-phase project Point Park embarked on beginning in 2008. According to the university, the end result will be a $244 million investment in Downtown. The project has already seen several pieces completed: a former parking lot at the corner of Wood Street and Boulevard of the Allies is now a park; the former YMCA building on Boulevard of the Allies now serves as the University’s Student Center; and two buildings on Boulevard of the Allies have been converted into apartments.

Work on the $74 million Pittsburgh Playhouse, which will house Point Park’s performing arts center, is underway nearby on Forbes Avenue.

Kim LyonsRestaurant Editor

Kim Lyons is an award-winning writer and editor who spends way too much time on Twitter. Her experience includes politics, features and business reporting, and she has a huge crush on Pittsburgh.