By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Marina plans move forward for the SouthSide Works


A brief update on the pending South Side marina was the sole presentation at the May 13 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The project has been seven to eight years in the works, said Mabon Lichtenfels, vice-president of construction and development for the Soffer Organization.

The full-service marina, to be located adjacent to Riverfront Park near 26th St., is currently in the final engineering and approvals stage.

The goal is to begin construction in late summer. Once the first set of docks is built, pre-leasing can start for summer, 2015.

The major change in the proposed master plan from an earlier version is a ramp system and stair tower instead of an elevator tower.

There is discussion with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) about how many spaces will become public for “transient boaters” who oftentimes travel hundreds of miles, and dock on a one-time basis.

Other spaces will only be for lease holders. No marketing has occurred yet to attract lessees.

There will be 350 total slips, and a “floating office” on a dock.

The docks would be open from mid-March until the end of October.

To a question of whether there will be a fueling station, Mr. Lichtenfels said it is not in the plans due to cost and numerous regulations. But a “pump out” station is a possibility.

In his brief report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), Peter Kreuthmeier said David Maxwell, the marina’s developer who also owns the Fox Chapel Yacht Club, will come to the DRC before the fall.

Regarding the Village Green apartment building, Mr. Kreuthmeier said construction could begin as early as October. The project will go to the Planning Commission on May 13.

In other updates, the URA wants to erect a “welcome” sign coming from southeast on East Carson St. for SouthSide Works and South Side Riverfront Park.

A plan for three townhomes at 1500 Bingham St. has now been revised to be a single-family home of 3800-square-feet.

The proposal is to demolish the current structure as it is structurally unsound. The building is non-contributing to the Historic District.

The project is going before the Historic Review Commission (HRC) for demolition, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for rear setback.

Mr. Kreuthmeier said there is not yet consensus between the DRC and the Local Review Committee (LRC) on whether demolishing the garage is appropriate. The LRC has extensive guidelines, he said, leading the DRC and LRC to come to different conclusions.

Discussions on the issue are continuing with the LRC.

Next, attendee Ashley Holloway, City Planning’s neighborhood planner, said there has been no decision yet on the proposed enlargement of an existing residential permit parking area.

The district’s current boundaries are 17th St. to 20th St., and from Jane St. to Edwards Way.

The streets being proposed for inclusion are: S. 18th St. to S. 22nd St. from Carson St. to the railroad tracks. Also, all of Jane St. between 17th St. and 22nd St., and Sarah St. from 19th St. to 22nd St. would be included.

Final approval requires a vote by city council, and then the mayor. Mr. Holloway expects the process to be completed next month.

Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government relations, reported hundreds of students participated in the annual spring clean-up in the South Side on April 12.

A study break was also held at the Welcome Center as a means to connect students with the neighborhood.

The event served as a good opportunity for the university to prepare for a larger event in early fall after students return for the 2015 school year.

Duquesne is working with the South Side Chamber of Commerce and South Side Community Council to organize more such events at the Welcome Center to further the “good neighbor” concept.

Next, Christine Gaus, of the Brashear Association, reported June 7 is volunteer day in the Slopes and National Trails Day. The work will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Partners include the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), Student Conservation Association (SCA), and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh.

The SCA will be working on conservation projects in South Side Park with a focus on battling invasive species.

Volunteers should meet in the parking lot of the park by 9 a.m.

In other news, Memorial Day services will be held on Monday, May 26 throughout South Side to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for our country while serving in the military.

Wreaths will be laid and there will be rifle salutes throughout the South Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

On June 14, South Side Community Council Day will be held at Ormsby. The annual event will feature a band, balloons, face painting, and more.

Next, Candace Gonzalez, who assisted the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association (SSB&RA) in helping plan for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration on the South Side, said the organization is working on establishing a taxi stand at 17th-18th streets on weekend evenings.

A local pedicab official wrote draft legislation requiring permits for pedicabs. On St. Patrick’s Day, pedicabs came to the South Side from throughout the U.S. without being required to register.

The SSB&RA met with the chief of police about police coverage on weekends in the South Side. The organization is keeping in contact with stakeholders on all of this, she said.

The next forum meeting will be on June 10.


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