Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pittsburgh's Produce Terminal Building Granted Historic Status, Demolition Delayed

From today's Tribune-Review:

Produce Terminal marked historic, delaying demolition plans

Developer Buncher wants to construct a $400 million mixed-use development in Pittsburgh's Strip District, a neighborhood once known for trucking and wholesale that today functions as a tourist and retail destination.  This new development will bring commercial use and additional residential units to a neighborhood already ripe with residential development.  In order for this development to go through, however, Buncher wants to demolish a portion of the Produce Terminal Building, which it was built in 1929 and expanded in 1931 as the Pennsylvania Railroad Fruit Auction and Sales Terminal.

While Buncher has the development rights to the surrounding land, it has yet to acquire the historic building from the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority.  Just yesterday, the Pittsburgh Historic and Landmarks Foundation granted the building as historic, which means Buncher cannot make any changes to the architectural character to the building which would include demolition of the roughly one-third of the building to make way for its development.

While I am not entirely in favor of this building (or part of it) being leveled for development purposes, I do believe it is necessary to restore as much of the street grid as possible in order to reconnect the Strip with the Allegheny River.  About seven years ago someone drew renderings of how this building could look with the intact street grid in place while having a minimal impact on the structure.  In this series of computer-aided drawings, much of the building remains intact while just enough of the structure is removed to allow for traffic to pass through it.  The link to these images is pasted below.  I came across them while participating in an on-going discussion of Pittsburgh development over at skyscraperpage.com.

Pfaffman's renderings