A ribbon cutting ceremony reopened the first floor of the South Side Market House, marking the completion of the first of three historic renovation phases that will bring the building to complete usability.
The project, originally slated for almost $1 million in repairs, cost under $250,000 thanks to in-house work provided by the city's public works department. Phase 2, already underway, will include a remodeled gym and ADA accessible showers. The market house building, closed in 2011 due to structural deficiencies, is one of the last two remaining 19th-century market houses in Pittsburgh.
The first phase of renovation makes available the building's first floor and includes a new office and meeting room, upgraded paint and doors, flat screen TVs, easier access and new signage. The Market House is one of the largest of the city's 15 healthy active living centers and also serves as a recreation facility. The center is open and available to seniors Monday through Friday, is utilized by organizations for various programs including youth dance programs and sporting leagues, and is used once a month by the Food Bank. It also serves as a satellite site for programs based in the recreation facility on 22nd street.
The market house, built in 1915, served as a food store and meeting place for immigrants who settled in South Side. In the 1940s, it became a recreation and community center and was remodeled again in 1978 as the "new" South Side Market House, offering programs for seniors and pre-schoolers, athletic events and community get-togethers.
The Market House closed in 2011 with interior renovations needed to preserve the center's safety and history. Programs were relocated to the Brashear Center on Sarah Street.
"The South Side Market House is a valuable asset for the City of Pittsburgh and when it was closed, residents really felt it," said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "Although programs continued at the Brashear Center, we were anxious to get back to the Market House. Despite being almost 100 years old, after this renovation, this facility is going to be outstanding."
When the building's structural repairs were evaluated and estimated by private contractors last year, repairs for the lobby floor alone were estimated at more than $700,000, bringing the project's bill to almost $1 million. Review from in-house engineers, architects and tradesman showed the repairs could be made for less, and public works crews were eager to get to work. The city's tradesmen made the necessary repairs, as well as additional renovations, with a savings of approximately $500,000.
The South Side Market House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located within a City Historic District, and was awarded a Historic Landmark plaque.