Anyone who has grown up in Pittsburgh has a memory of Allegheny Center Mall. Grandma worked at the Sears, Your first photo of the Easter Bunny, or that this is where you ate lunch during your elementary school trip to Buhl Planterium. As a college student at Art Institute in the late 90’s this was the way you walked to class from the student apartments. Then it only housed a wendy’s and most of it was empty. It was the mall that was forgotten. The roof leaked and it was just a building that the general public forgot or felt sorry for the way it ended up.
But the new vision for Allegheny Center mall is Nova Place. A green tech space that construction has already began on. Renovations started on the 1.2 million square foot mall and parking area to make it a tech hub that will have co-working space, incubator, fitness center and the return of some retail space and restaurants.
Currently the “mall” houses a few big name businesses like AT&T and PNC. At this time they all have no plans on moving. They are getting new neighbors with Innovation Works moving into temporary offices this summer and more permeant ones in the fall with a lease of 12,000 square feet. They are aiming for 95% occupancy.
At the helm of this reconstruction is Faros Properties whom already transformed the apartment building that surround the mall. When they bought them they were 50% occupied and they did some renovations, cleaned them up and they are now at 100% with a wait list occupancy.
Mayor Bill Peduto is looking forward to the transformation to open a walkway from the North Side to the North Shore. I personally hope that is begins a transformation up to the Mexican War Streets.
As I was snapping pics of the plans the owner of Cool Beans came up and I asked him how he felt about the changes and he expressed that they had all positive talks with Faros.
“So it is going to be big for your business?”
“Yes it seems like it is going to be REALLY good for my business.” He smiled.
“In science, a nova is an explosion in a star that creates a bright light. We’re hoping that Nova Place becomes a beacon of innovation and a catalyst for entrepreneurship in this region,” Jeremy Leventhal said for the reasoning behind the new name.
Clearly this is the beginning of something spectacular.