The Tower at PNC. Photo by Renee Rosensteel.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) released their 4th annual State of Downtown Pittsburgh report on Thursday, a 52-page document that speaks to a “sense of vibrancy that Downtown has not experienced in decades.”

Downtown Pittsburgh has attracted nearly $5 billion of investment in the past decade, with more than $2.1 billion in the past five years. And this year’s report tells the tale—in charts and graphs and overviews—of a city seeing the benefits of that investment.

A decade ago, the word on the street was: “Pittsburgh will be a different place in ten years,” said Ethan Fellheimer, managing director of Red Rocks Group. “Now we’re there.”

Office, employment and education

  • Downtown Class A office space has a 94% occupancy rate, which has remained stable since 2013. The report says Downtown’s office market is one of the strongest in the country.
  • Pittsburgh ranks 11th in venture capital investment per capita.
  • When U.S. Steel leaves the U.S. Steel Building in 2017, it will leave 425,000 square feet of space. The new construction just up the street in the Lower Hill will be 270,000 square feet.

Housing and population 

  • From 2010-2014, the population of Downtown increased by 13% to more than 12,000 residents.
  • Of the nearly 5,000 residential units Downtown, 51% have been built since 2000.
  • While the occupancy rate has dropped the past year, to 90.8% from 95.6%, it’s due to 350 more apartments coming on the market.

Restaurants and retail

  • Last year, 23 new restaurants opened, a 67% increase from 2013. This brings the total of restaurants and places to eat to almost 300.
  • Nearly one-third of these restaurants have outdoor eating areas.
  • 85% of retail under construction—or slated for renovation—is restaurant space.

Culture, entertainment and hotels

  • The Convention Center saw a 15%  increase in visitors last year.
  • Since 2012, the attendance rates of people cheering on Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and the Riverhounds jumped by one million—from 3.96 million in 2012 to 4.98 million in 2014.
  • The arts scene Downtown pulls in $252 million a year. Art gallery visits in Downtown increased by 20% last year.
  • Total visitor spending in the region last year was $7.6 billion.

Transportation and connectivity

  • 2014 was a good year for ride sharing—it was just within the last year that Uber and Lyft came on the local scene.
  • Number of Zip Cars Downtown? 27
  • Amtrak ridership increased from Downtown by 13%.
  • Bike share begins this month, with 25 of 50 stations located Downtown.

Union Trust Building
The Union Trust Building. Photo by Renee Rosensteel.

Environment and sustainability

  • Downtown has more than ten million square feet of LEED certified space—with two million square feet certified in 2014. The first Downtown building to receive the LEED stamp was in 2000, and we’ve seen an average 26% increase in square footage each year since.
  • In 2014, the Western PA Conservancy planted flowers in 500 concrete planters, 440 hanging baskets and in Downtown gardens—a $500,000 investment.
  • Pittsburgh 2030 Downtown District—an initiative of the Green Building Alliance aimed to reduce energy, water use and emissions and to improve indoor air quality by 2030—received commitments from 60% of all eligible Downtown properties.

Downtown development

  • There are more than 110,000 salaried workers Downtown.
  • Last year, $526 million in new development was announced: that includes 350 hotel rooms, almost 150 residential units and more than 1.25 million square feet in office space.

The report features spotlight stories on Downtown success stories, such as the Union Trust Building Renovation, the economic impact of the arts, the bike share program Healthy Ride and the opening of the Energy Innovation Center. At the PDP press conference last week, Darrin Grove of TrueFit spoke about his company’s move from the suburbs to the Union Trust Building downtown, which is becoming a tech hub, and the many ways it has paid off.

Download the report here.

Woods wanderer who was an an editor at New England’s regional magazine, the research director of a Colorado newspaper and a farm hand in Vermont before returning to Pittsburgh to write about and explore her hometown.