Fear not, Pittsburghers — you can still “meet me at the Kaufmann’s clock” (corner of Smithfield St. and Fifth Ave.) as generations have done before you.
It’s just everything that’s inside the building that’s different. And on top.
Kaufmann’s, the gigantic multistory department store that dates to the 1800s, is no more. Now, the 13-story building has been transformed into 311 apartments, with amenities no other residential project in Pittsburgh has: a rooftop pool and basketball court, a movie screening room, an outdoor fitness area, a music room (complete with instruments), a game room (with a golf simulator) and even a podcast room. A full-service bar, co-working space with Zoom rooms, and an event area are also in the works.
A new-style urban, 22,000 square-foot Target store is scheduled to open at street level in 2022. Burlington Stores, the national off-price clothing retailer will occupy the second floor.
The building is more than a million square feet, so it’s a lot of space to fill.
So far, there’s a 160-room Even Hotel in the building that was up and running in late 2019, and a Waffles INcaffeinated, one of Downtown’s few breakfast spots.
However, it has been an extremely difficult project, mired in accidents (including a major electrical fire), lawsuits, work stoppages and multiple developers. Lubert-Adler Partners, the current owners, poured $40 million into the project, and it finally got its ribbon-cutting on Wednesday.
“We stepped into a project that was already underway and required an intense amount of effort to meet our standards for quality,” says Dean Adler, CEO and co-founder of Lubert-Adler Partners.
“After months of renovations, we are eager to show Pittsburgh how this iconic downtown building has come alive again as a residence for individuals from young professionals to empty nesters.”
Demand is already strong — 55% percent of the 311 apartments are either occupied or committed to new tenants.
The development is expected to bring additional foot traffic to a Downtown still struggling as many continue to work from home during the pandemic.
Lubert-Adler is also looking to add another retailer along Smithfield Street.
Lubert-Adler is in the process of buying The Pittsburgher (formerly the Lawyers Building) across the street, aiming to add 130 more apartments to the 25-story former office building.
“We anticipate that we will close soon on the Pittsburgher,” says Adler. “We are (als0) exploring an opportunity for a joint venture project on a building next to Kaufmann’s and hope to bring that to reality in the near future.”