Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined representatives from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to announce that the Strip District had received a National Historic District designation from the National Park Service, adding it to the National Register of Historic Places.
“There are opportunities through this designation to make sure we can work hand-in-hand with developers to assure that the buildings aren’t only being saved, but that we’re able to leverage finance dollars in order to make it happen,” Peduto said while standing in front of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church at the corner of 21st and Smallman Streets.
While construction continued in the background on the Buncher Company’s Riverfront Landing project, Peduto singled out the Produce Terminal, which is entirely within the historic district, as a building worth saving.
“The building behind me is a gem,” he said. “It’s a part of Pittsburgh’s history and should be a part of Pittsburgh’s future.”
The listing on the National Register won’t interfere with owners of private property from altering, managing or disposing of their property, so long as none of those processes involve government funding.
The designation encompasses 13 blocks of the Strip, bounded by Railroad Street, the Pennsylvania Railroad Yards, Liberty Avenue, 15th Street and 22nd Street. A total of 64 buildings within those confines contribute to the designation, including St. Stanislaus, which itself is already on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is a major, multi-year effort of our organization,” PHLF President Arthur Ziegler said. “The National Register not only honors [the Strip] but brings incentive for development.”
In addition to those incentives, which include tax credits for projects like façade improvement, Peduto says that Pittsburgh will participate in a program with the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Architectural Foundation to help the city figure out how to best maintain and improve the area, specifically Smallman Street from the church to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Pittsburgh now has 18 areas designated as National Register-listed historic districts. About 10,000 such districts exist across the country.