South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Siders learn about plans for Verizon antennas, cinema reuse

 

September 1, 2020



The second virtual development activities meeting (DAM) of the South Side Community Council (SSCC) featured presentations on three proposed development projects on the South Side.

The three projects are: Verizon Wireless’ proposal to attach antennas to the rooftop of a building at 1700 Carey Way; a zoning Special Exception for off-street parking at 905 Bingham Street; and renovation of the SouthSide Works theater at 425 Cinema Drive into the South Side Works Box Office.

The Zoom video conference was held on August 20 under the guidance of Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning.

SSCC President Barbara Rudiak began the meeting by stating the SSCC became an RCO (Registered Community Organization) in January, 2020.

Community organizations can become RCOs through the Department of City Planning to provide community input on development activities and planning processes.

A DAM provides an opportunity for citizens, property owners, business owners, and stakeholders to learn about the proposals that affect them and to resolve concerns at an early stage of the application process.

Meetings must be held at least 30 days prior to the applicant presenting to Planning Commission, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Art Commission, or Historic Review Commission (HRC).

The first presentation involved changes to a building in the East Carson St. historic district, which requires the developers to adhere to external guidelines.

The presenter was James Kopac, a real estate specialist with Smartlink, a contractor for Verizon Wireless in Pittsburgh.

The applicant is Verizon Wireless.  There is a signed lease agreement with the property owner.

The proposal is to install a Verizon wireless communications unit at 1700 Carey Way.   The rooftop telecommunications site will feature platform mounted equipment and three antenna sectors.  There is nothing on the roof at the present time.

The antennas will face up and down East Carson St.  The walls and antennas will be painted to match the building. The overall structure height is 60-feet above ground level (AGL).

Mr. Kopac said the proposed project will be like that at 230 Beverly Rd. in Mt. Lebanon.

The new unit will not be replacing anything, but will rather add to the network.

Mr. Kopac said it is needed as, for example, on Friday nights the system is being overrun by all of the apps, like for Uber, in the area.

The project will be presented to the HRC on a date to be determined.  Any comments on the project should be emailed to info@southsidecommunitycouncil.org. 

The next presentation was for a proposed remote parking lot.  It requires a variance as it is across the street from the two buildings at 901-905 Bingham St. which the developer plans to restore for apartments.

The latter is the site of the old Mackintosh Hemphill Foundry building, which has been empty for more than 20 years.

There have been two hearings conducted already at the HRC, and approved, for the renovation/addition to the buildings.

The parking lot meets the required number of parking spots for the project.  There will be 23 spots.

While the lot is a separate parcel, the ownership group is the same.

The presentation was by David Morgan, an architect with Morgan Architecture + Design, and Chris Clark, an owner.

In addition to renovating the parking lot, the proposal is to create a link between the two buildings.  

Those buildings will house 17 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

The exterior work will include a new atrium connector with metal and glass cladding, repointing and cleaning of existing brick facades, and replacement of all windows.  The existing roofing on the buildings will also be replaced.

New entrances will be installed at the new stair tower and individual apartments at the rear of the building.  The rear sidewalk will be handicap-accessible.

The dumpster in the rear courtyard could be moved if the area is needed for the air-conditioning unit.

A participant commented he was happy to see something being done with the buildings, but worried there must be asbestos due to the buildings’ ages.

While tests will be conducted, there is almost nothing at all inside, the presenters said. The old HVAC and plumbing have been removed, and which had no insulation.

Ms. Rudiak said the community has 30 days to review the parking lot proposal.  Send all comments to info@southsidecommunitycouncil.org.  

The final presentation was about converting the South Side Works Cinema, 425 Cinema Dr., into 75,000-square-feet office space called the South Side Works Box Office.

From 300 to 400 employees are estimated to work in the new office building.

The theater, built in 2002, has been plagued by low attendance, Eric Linebarger said.  He is with the architectural firm HOK.

The work will consist of exterior renovations and interior updates.  Two patios of 16,000-square-feet each will be crafted.

There will also be bike racks throughout the property.

Vehicle parking is sufficient as less is needed than was required for the movie theater, Mr. Linebarger said.

Ms. Rudiak said the Planning Commission will inform the SSCC of the meeting date.  In the meantime, comments should be emailed to info@southsidecommunitycouncil.org.

 

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