Friday, March 7, 2014

Pittsburgh almost built an "Asia on the Allegheny".

From a February 20, 1989 Pittsburgh Press article.

Looking online for something else brought us to articles in local papers about a late-1980s plan to build an "Asian Trade Center" on the North Shore, part of a redevelopment effort that would soon bring the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center to the area. In 1988 and 1989, the plan was to construct apartments, hotels, and Asian retail in the blocks between on what is now the site of the Morgan at North Shore Apartments. An excerpt from a February 20, 1989 Pittsburgh Press article:
Plans for Asian center advance on North Side

A date for a ground breaking has not been set, but city officials and developers of a proposed Asian Retail Center on the North Shore agree on a general site plan.

Both sides are attempting to devise a parking solution before the final touches are put on the project, according to architect James D. Brown.

They are deciding just where on the site parking belongs.

Just two years ago, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh began acquiring property between the Seventh and Ninth Street bridges. The organization began acquiring property between the Seventh and Ninth Street bridges. The organization thought housing would be the best project for those 8.8 acres.

But a group of investors had a different dream. They wanted to bring a touch of the Orient to this region, which is home to 8,000 Chinese-Americans.

They convinced URA a neighborhood consists of more than housing. Create a market within the neighborhood to give people a reason to live there, the developers said.

Since then, Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp. of Pittsburgh and the North Side Civic Development Council, with architect Brown, have been negotiating the details of the project.

The $25 million project includes a 120-unit hotel with moderate room rates, 114 market-priced apartments facing across the Allegheny River to Downtown, and a retail center with four restaurants and specialty Asian shops.
An August 22, 1988 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial, "Asia on the Allegheny", called the project "a novel idea reminiscent of the highly successful Victorian theme at Station Square on the South Shore," and a URA board member said an Asian theme was chosen "[because] we wanted to create a sense of place and a sense of identity that was unique." The project was abandoned in October 1989 after what the URA chairman called "a failure to perform" on the part of Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corporation.