A New York developer unveiled plans Thursday to reinvent long-dormant Allegheny Center Mall into a commercial hub for technology and innovation.
Dubbed Nova Place, the 1.2 million square-foot former retail complex was redesigned to accommodate offices for new and existing tenants, a conference center, gym, parking, restaurants, coffee shops and other facilities. Demolition has already begun, owner and Faros Properties managing partner Jeremy Leventhal said.
Mayor Bill Peduto likened the behemoth, four-building campus to a wall separating Pittsburgh's North Side from its North Shore.
"Take a look around you," Leventhal said. "This is all about to change."
More and more growing businesses are looking to the North Side for future development and expansion, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
"(Businesses) need another place, but they want to stay in the city," he said. "Their workers want to be where there's action. Where there's a coffee shop. Where there's restaurants. Where there's viability. Where there's biking. Where there's that kind of livibility. They're not looking to move far away. They want to stay here."
Leventhal said Nova Place is at about 50 percent commercial capacity now, with goals set for 95 percent in the next 24 months. The adjoining Park View Apartments are full with a growing waitlist, he said.
Rich Lunak, president and CEO of Hazelwood-based technology investment group Innovation Works, just signed a lease for a 12,000-square-foot space at Nova Place. His own growing company and a long list of promised amenities topped his list of reasons to make the cross-town switch.
"It's places like the large incubator and co-working space that will be added here; the campus-like park element; its close proximity to the North Shore and Downtown; and many, many more elements that really attracted us," he said.
Leventhal said no taxpayer funds will be used. No tax breaks, either, Peduto said.
"But you do get a bike lane," Peduto said.