December 15, 2009 |

One bar gains approvals for SouthSide Works, two restaurants on hold

The monthly LTV report headlined the brief meeting of the South Side Planning Forum on Dec. 8.

In the report, Judy Dyda, manager of community planning at the South Side LDC, reported that Toby Keith's country-themed "I Love This Bar & Grill" was approved by the Planning Commission. Its design was approved by the SSLDC's Design Committee.

Construction should begin in early 2010. The establishment is set for a location west of the Hofbrauhaus where a hotel was originally planned.

In other news, the restaurants, Adobe Gila's and Shady Grove, are on hold. They are planned for the same building at the corner of Sidney and 28th streets.

An extended-stay, four-story hotel is in the works in the vicinity of Hot Metal and Water streets. Officials will fine-tune the design and return to the Design Committee for review.

The hope is to start construction in early 2010, and which will last one year.

"It takes advantage of the riverfront view as much as possible," said Ms. Dyda.

There is no plan to have a restaurant inside the hotel, although there may be a breakfast bar for guests. Parking strategies are being developed.

Also, since the hotel would be adjacent to the trail, a bike washing service is being explored by hotel officials.

Ms. Dyda also reported the URA Board approved a $15,000 study, through the South Side LDC, of East Carson St., SouthSide Works, and Station Square to make sure businesses are not competing with each other, but are complementing one another as they compete with the region as a whole.

Road construction season is over. The construction season will start up again in the spring. So far, the work has been on schedule.

"There were complaints on the impact on businesses, but not as bad as it could have been," she said.

In other news, forum Chair Hugh Brannan said the UPMC South Side Steering Committee met at UPMC Mercy with Will Cook, CEO of UPMC Mercy, and Merle A. Taylor, executive director of UPMC South Region and administrator of the UPMC Mercy South Side campus.

The committee again reviewed information the management is willing to share with them on the utilization of the former South Side Hospital, said Mr. Brannan.

"UPMC is making a valiant effort to promote the facility and keep it active," said Ms. Dyda. She also said the operating rooms are working to capacity.

Mr. Brannan reminded forum members to ask their respective groups if they wanted to take action on any of the 150 recommendations presented at the Oct. 12 forum meeting for managing the South Side's nightlife.

The proposal, presented by Bryan Woll, relies on responsible hospitality practices, many of which have proven successful in other cities.

Mr. Woll prepared his report while a staff intern in the office of city Councilman Bruce Kraus this past summer.

Mr. Brannan said the matter will be further discussed at next month's meeting.

He also announced that the Brashear Association's annual Holiday Open House will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 at the Brashear Center, 2005 Sarah St.

Attendees are asked to bring new toys or gifts. There is a high need for toys for boys ages 10 to 12, such as basketballs and sporting goods.

Earlier on Dec. 8, the U.S. Marines brought Toys for Tots contributions for distribution. South Side Community Council also donated toys.

More than 500 families signed up for help, said Mr. Brannan.

The next forum meeting will be on Jan. 12.

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