South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Former brewery complex applies for historic places status

 

The brew house of the former Duquesne Brewery has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

A public information meeting on the nomination of the former Duquesne Brewery complex to the National Register of Historic Places was held at the Brew House Gallery on Dec. 1.

"It is a very detailed, in-depth document," Bill Callahan said of applying for National Register status.

Mr. Callahan, of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, was a presenter, as was John Ginocchi, of the TREK Development Co.

All the paperwork and documents have been submitted. The decision should be announced by March on whether National Register status is granted.

The nomination process began a year ago for the complex located in the South Side from 21st to 23rd streets, and from Jane St. to Edwards Way.

The buildings include the brew house, bottling house, shipping building, warehouse, stock house, and more.

The primary reason for seeking the federal status is the historic tax credits for a proposed $20 million project.

If granted National Register listing, federal historic tax credits can be used in the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the Brew House, which TREK Development is undertaking in partnership with the Brew

House Association.

The project involves transforming the 115-year-old building at 2100 Mary St. into apartments and renovated space primarily for artists.

The plan for the 104,000-square foot space is: 76 units of affordable and market rate housing; gallery space; community workshop; and private artist work studios. The project will involve significant improvements to the appearance of the building as well as safety, parking, and trash removal issues.

The tax credits would account for about $3 million of the $20 million project cost.

The Brew House was built in 1899 as the headquarters of the Duquesne Brewing Company. After the Duquesne Brewery closed in 1972, the other buildings in its complex were dispersed into various ownerships.

They are being nominated together due to their historic relationship as part of the Duquesne Brewing Company.

However, most of the other structures in the complex would not be eligible for tax credits as they are so drastically changed from their original character, and no longer contribute to the historic area.

In his slide presentation on National Register status, Mr. Callahan said the National Register is the U.S. list of significant historic properties worthy of preservation.

National Register properties must be significant, not just old. They may be significant through their architecture, history, or association with a person or archeology.

They may be significant at the national, state, or local level.

Mr. Callahan said most are listed because of their local significance.

To be listed in the National Register, a property must possess historic integrity.

Once granted, listing on the National Register: provides important recognition to historic properties; encourages preservation; promotes community and economic development and tourism; and provides basic eligibility for financial incentives.

As tourism is the second biggest industry in the state, Mr. Callahan said, the listing is important. Most popular tourism sites are historic towns/districts, he said.

Historic designation is also associated with average property value increases ranging from 5 to 20 percent.

Following the historic designation of the Mexican War Streets, its home prices appreciated at an annual rate of four percent higher than averages in surrounding Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

What the National Register does not do, he said, is: restrict a private property owner's ability to alter, manage, or dispose of a property; require property to be maintained, repaired, or restored; and invoke local zoning or local landmark designation.

The next step is for the city to review the nomination as a Certified Local Government (CLG), and place it on its website. It then goes to Harrisburg in February.

The Keeper of the National Register will issue the final decision.

 

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