October 19, 2010 |

Owner of new bar/restaurant on Carson comes to planning forum

Two new projects were the focus of presentations at the Oct. 12 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

In the first, Adam DeSimone, who co-owns the Diesel nightclub at 1601 East Carson St., unveiled a new enterprise: the "Local Bar + Kitchen" that he plans to open at 1513-1515 East Carson St. It has an occupancy limit of 175.

The site previously housed the Cuckoo's Nest and the offices of Dr. Thomas Kraczon.

It will offer a full menu, with weekend hours of 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and until midnight on weekdays. A Sunday brunch will be added.

"About 30 jobs will be created by this business," he said.

While there will be no music or disc jockey, the establishment will have a jukebox.

"We're paying homage to the steel industry with the decor," said Mr. DeSimone of the metal finish tables and bar tops. Menu selections also reflect the area's past and its location: the SS Works burger; Isaly's chipped ham ‘n cheese; plain Jane Street pizza.

Mr. DeSimone has received approval from the South Side LDC Design Committee and the city's Historic Review Commission (HRC). He has all the zoning permits. No variances are required.

While he has applied for a liquor license, the application is being contested by six neighbors, city Councilman Bruce Kraus, state Rep. Harry Readshaw, and state Sen. Wayne Fontana.

He said he hopes to open for business even without a liquor license.

To a question about the ticketing by police of illegal parking over the past weekend in the South Side, Mr. DeSimone said it won't solve the violence problem. But he likes the police crackdown.

"There are a lot of undesirables coming into South Side," he said.

He would also like to see more clean-ups and more officers on back streets.

A new group formed by South Side bar owners, South Side Responsible Hospitality Partnership, is planning to pay for police patrols and extra cleanup crews. Group members and other bar and restaurant owners met that day with Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper.

"There is solidarity among all owners and neighbors," he said.

In the other presentation, Allison Berger discussed parking plans for an office building she owns at 24 South 18th St. She has one tenant, with two vacant floors.

She wants to purchase a vacant lot from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) for parking. The lot is located between South 18th and 19th streets, and Wharton St. and Fox Way.

"It would make our area more marketable," she said.

The 10-space lot would be turned into a green parking area for the building, said landscape architect Fred Bonci of LaQuatra Bonci Associates on the South Side. The lot would be gated.

Ms. Berger said she would like comments and suggestions from member forum groups in the near future on her plan.

Next, Susie Puskar delivered the forum's Exploratory Committee report.

Ms. Puskar represents the planning forum on an exploratory committee to determine the feasibility of the South Side as a "Neighborhood Improvement District," or NID, or some other strategy. At its recent meeting, the committee discussed these top three issues: crime and vandalism; trash and litter; and aging infrastructure.

Forum Chair Hugh Brannan said the goal is for the exploratory committee to report back to the forum in January with recommendations, which will be taken to the forum organizations to determine if there is a consensus.

In the LTV report, given by Ms. Puskar: Toby Keith's country-themed "I Love This Bar & Grill" is on hold again.

The new Hilton Summerfield Suites, extended stay, will be six stories with 134 rooms. Its design was reviewed by the LDC Design Committee, Dept. of City Planning, and the URA, with the recommended changes being incorporated.

The retail study of East Carson St., SouthSide Works, and Station Square to make sure businesses are not competing with each other is complete. A $20,000 invoice was submitted to the URA for reimbursement for the study.

The South Side Riverfront Park - Marina is moving forward with design and financing. A parking strategy is being worked developed.

The URA approved a parcel sale to Giant Eagle for a proposed Get-Go. Federal agencies have no issue with the proposed gas station. However, variance must be sought from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Misi Bielich said calls are still received at Mr. Kraus' office about SouthSide Works employees continuing to park in the neighborhood despite reduced rates in the garages.

The ALDI discount supermarket at South 27th and East Carson streets is on track. The Goodwill offices have moved out.

Mr. Brannan said business at the new Marriott is "exceeding expectations."

In other business, the Brashear Association will celebrate its 93rd year of service during its annual awards luncheon on Oct. 28 at noon at the Le Mont Restaurant.

Visit www.brashearassoc iation.org for more information.

The next forum meeting will be on Nov. 9.

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