It feels like the bottom of the ninth for the North Shore, which is finally starting to resemble a neighborhood after decades of slow, incremental development has replaced most of the ocean of asphalt between Heinz Field and PNC Park.
Now, a revised plan to replace some of the last surface lots across from PNC Park is in place.
Continental Real Estate Companies is proposing a six-story, U-shaped building with more than 100 apartments and first-floor retail, alongside a Pirates-themed “entertainment plaza,” facing the northwestern (home plate) entrance to PNC Park. Continental will present the new plan to the city planning commission on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
Given the success of Stage AE as a concert venue, and the riverfront offices (attracting the likes of German tech giant SAP), it seems like this cautious, steady approach to developing the North Shore has been effective, if slow.
A new 445-space parking garage was recently completed nearby.
In the preliminary renderings for the new site, the wall of the parking garage facing the plaza is emblazoned with the retired numbers of Pirates legends (and Jackie Robinson’s ubiquitous 42). A sign beneath it reads “Pirates Plaza Cinema Series,” which indicates at least one idea for how to use the space.
The plaza will feature a performance stage, a wooden pergola with tables and a central grass public gathering space, with a giant golden “P”-shaped seating structure in the middle. The grass is framed by tree-lined pathways with three different brushed concrete finishes.
Earlier plans from Columbus-based Continental had proposed a much different mixed-use approach to the site, with several floors of offices added to 49 condominiums and retail. With many companies rethinking their office needs post-pandemic, and housing demand up sharply, the adaptation is perhaps unsurprising.
Just north of the development site, a parking lot (partially covered by the highway overpass) will get a screen of trees, plantings and decorative pavement to make it appear a bit more attractive.