Planning Commission talks historic buildings, renovations


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Pamela Smith, Contributing Editor Tuesday’s planning commission meeting.

By Pamela Smith, Contributing Editor

The Pittsburgh City Planning Commission held a meeting over Zoom on Tuesday afternoon to hear development and redevelopment proposals for various projects in the city. The Planning Commission discussed three proposed projects during the briefing portion of the meeting, two historical nomination proposals and a plan for renovation. The public could not comment on these projects during this part of the meeting.

Sarah Quinn, a city planner, discussed plans to nominate 412 Blvd of the Allies in downtown as a historic landmark. Quinn said the nominator for this nine-story building built in 1927 felt it was “skillfully designed.”

“The nominator felt that this property was significant as a visual landmark, a distinctive visual feature in that part of town,” Quinn said. “For almost a century it remained nearly unchanged, anchoring the south side of the Boulevard of the Allies between Smithfield and Grant, [it’s] so important, aesthetically as a representative of relatively uncommon commercial, Gothic architectural style.”

Quinn also proposed an expansion of the Murray Hill Historic District in Northern Squirrel Hill to include two more properties owned by Chatham University. These properties were part of the “original plan” for Murray Hill Avenue, according to Quinn.

“The nominator felt that these two properties should be included in the district because they are part of the original plan of lots for Murray Hill Avenue, one of those first street plans for Squirrel Hill in 1890,” Quinn said. “These folks have been complying with the preservation ordinance for many, many years, with their properties not having been included in the final legislation.”

Daniel Rothschild, a representative for architectural firm Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, discussed their application for renovations to the exterior of 239 Fort Pitt Blvd in Downtown, calling it a “complete redo.”

“We’re planning to clean the brick, restore details…we’re gonna be using color to pull out detail but there’ll be different colors,” Rothschild said. “This is a complete redo.”

The City Planning Commission will revisit these proposals to vote in two to four weeks.

Plans for new wall signs at the Oxford Centre started off the hearing and action portion of the meeting. A representative for Kolano Design, the applicant for this project, described multiple proposals for a “PWC” sign at the top of the building, representing PriceWaterhouseCoopers. According to the representative, this sign would be “considerably smaller” than the BNY Mellon and UPMC signs Downtown. 

All commissioners voted unanimously to pass this project.