Holiday windows may return to former Downtown Pittsburgh Macy’s site

Downtown s Macy s may be gone, but the Discount Holidays © holiday window displays that have captivated so many over the years could live on in some form for at least one more season. Core Realty, the Philadelphia developer that bought the Macy s building for $15 million in July, is talking to a couple of local groups about doing displays in the department store s big street level windows, where Discount Holidays © holiday presentations many of them animated have mesmerized generations of shoppers and visitors.

This year we do want to try to maintain some Discount Holidays © holiday windows, so we re working on that right now, said Randy Mineo, Core s executive vice president. He couldn t say how elaborate the displays might be or what windows could be involved. But some type of Discount Holidays © holiday treatment might provide solace to shoppers and others saddened by the closing of the former Kaufmann s store1, which shut its doors for good Sunday.

Core will take control of the 13-story building Oct.

1, with plans to convert it into a major mixed-use destination. Floors filled with clothing, home furnishings, appliances, shoes, salons, candy, cards, books and other store goods or services will give way to 311 apartments, a 155-room hotel and about 130,000 square feet of new retail. While the venerable old building at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street won t house a department store anymore, Core is considering a mix of soft goods, hard goods, entertainment and restaurants for the first two floors. Among the options are fashion retailers and perhaps even a bowling alley.

Mr. Mineo said the developer already has had conversations with 10 to 15 retailers about taking space in the Macy s redevelopment, although it probably won t be engaging in serious discussions until next month after it has finalized its marketing materials. The project, he said, has generated strong interest, particularly from national tenants. There are certain anchor-type tenants that we want in the building. Once we get to them and have discussions, we ll know where we re headed merchandise-wise, he said.

Downtown has seen an explosion of new restaurants in the past five years, but little in the way of new traditional retail. Core is committed to the latter, Mr. Mineo said.

We are focused on those types of tenants. I would say that s kind of our first tier that we re going after, he said. The city of Pittsburgh also is negotiating with Macy s to get the rights to the names of Tic Toc restaurant and Arcade Bakery, both of which were store mainstays, in the hopes that they will be resurrected in some fashion in the redevelopment.

Meanwhile, another former Macy s tenant, Purebeauty Salon & Spa, has moved to the Park Building at 355 Fifth across the street from the store. Core added the retail component to its redevelopment plan after Macy s decided to close the Downtown store. The plan originally was to keep the department store on the first four floors and add the hotel and apartments above. That changed when Macy s suddenly decided to pull the plug this summer.

Under the new plan, the retail will be on the first and second floors. The basement and the third and fourth floors will house 600 parking spaces. Floors 5-6 will be reserved for the hotel and floors 7-13 for apartments. The developer is finalizing agreements with Reception Hotels and Resorts for the hotel, Mr. Mineo said.

Reception made up of the same principals that had wanted to put a 200-room luxury hotel on top of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown plans to bring an Even Hotel, a relatively new brand created by InterContinental Hotels Group, to the project. Matthew Shollar, Reception s Pittsburgh-based partner, said he hopes to have a formal announcement on the hotel in a couple of weeks. We re not quite there, but we re getting there, he said. Core expects to start demolishing interior walls in the building to make way for the apartments and hotel before the end of the year.

Apartment amenities will include a fitness roof with two full-size tennis courts and a running track, a rooftop pool and deck area, and green roofs. The developer also is planning to create two large atriums to bring more light into the building.

We re just anxious to get started, Mr. Mineo said.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

References

  1. ^ former Kaufmann s store (www.post-gazette.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*