Monday, February 23, 2009

Renaissance Three? Four? Or Five?

If Pittsburgh is entering a new Renaissance, which would one would it be, anyway?

How do you tell that one has actually started and, if it has, how many have gone before?

A Trib article, Market Square shapes city's 'third renaissance', includes this prediction from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl:

I believe that we are in the process of a third renaissance," Ravenstahl said during the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's annual meeting. "I'm proud to say it, and I think if we continue this positive momentum, we'll be able to claim this decade as Pittsburgh's third renaissance."

He's not the first. Some creative googling reveals that Pittsburghers have been proclaiming the start of Renaissance Three since even before Renaissance Two ended. Check on this 1985 Post-Gazette clipping from three years before Mayor Caliguiri's death.

Some quick background: I've been covering Pittsburgh government and politics since 1978, when Dick Caliguiri became mayor. Caliguiri christened downtown development during his decade of service as "Renaissance Two". The city landmarks of PPG Place, Mellon Bank Center, Oxford Center are just part of that legacy. Time magazine tallied corporate investment in new office buildings during Renaissance Two at $1.5 Billion (in 1981 dollars), during the mid-point of of that era. Caliguiri died in 1988. Pittsburgh's first Renaissance was under Mayor David Lawrence, who, starting in the 1940s and 50s, led a public and private partnership with Richard King Mellon for urban renewal and controlling pollution in America's "Smokey City". It launched Pittsburgh's transformation and created downtown's Golden Triangle".

My search of Google News archives for references to a "Renaissance Three" in Pittsburgh turned up this trail of stories.

Here are some highlights, illustrating the pattern over the years.

May 21, 1991 - Imagine that everything in the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's 10-year plan for the Cultural District is completed on schedule. Downtown would teem with artistic activity by 1994 or ... In other words, the Trust will have more evidence its gamble on a cultural Renaissance III will pay off. ...
From 2001: A CULTURAL ODYSSEY IF THE 10-YEAR PLAN... ($$) - Related web pages

Sep 30, 1992 - After 25 years of planning and more than five years of construction, the Midfield Terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport opens this week ... It really is the beginning of Renaissance III," Foerster said, borrowing a term used to describe previous phases of development in the city ...
From TERMINAL OFF TO FLYING START ($) - Related web pages

May 7, 1995 - Business: magazines, Alyssa Gabbay, "Renaissance III Man," Pittsburgh Magazine; nondaily newspapers, Fred Gustafson, "Test of Metal," In Pittsburgh Newsweekly; daily newspapers (circulation under 45000): Geof Becker and Matt Provenzo, "Strike!", Valley News Dispatch; daily newspapers ...
From PG EARNS 8 AWARDS IN QUILL CONTEST ($$) - Related web pages

Jul 30, 1995 - Some of Pittsburgh's most optimistic boosters are saying that Downtown is on the verge of a development boom that will rival the urban renaissances begun in the 1940s and 1970s. If it's true, it raises several questions: How would the Golden Triangle and its outskirts be changed in a Renaissance III? Would a third renaissance feel as good as numbers I and II, when Pittsburgh bathed in the national spotlight? Or would it be an unsatisfying sequel, like all those movies whose titles end in "III"? ...
From GOLDEN CROSSROADS ($$) - Related web pages

Feb 23, 1997 - John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, the Civic Arena, Three Rivers Stadium and the convention center. All are in or around Downtown Pittsburgh. ... That is why I agreed to chair this effort. We hope everyone in the region will join us in making this third Renaissance a success.
From LET'S BUILD A BETTER PITTSBURGH REGION ($$) - Related web pages

Jun 1, 1997 - I want to go on record as one Pittsburgh Republican leader in favor of the Renaissance III initiative that would levy a half-cent sales tax on the 10 counties of Western Pennsylvania to fund regional assets (yes, including ballparks). I keep hearing negative chatter from Pittsburghers ...

Jan 6, 1997 - Hiking the hilly streets of Beechview last week, the mayor of Pittsburgh pounded on the storm door of a Dagmar Avenue home. From inside, a portly man peered through the ... ``If what he's trying to put together comes together, you're going to see Renaissance III,'' Stanizzo said. ...
From MAYOR ON QUEST FOR VOTES SOME '93 BACKERS ARE... ($$) - Related web pages

Mar 22, 1998 - And now, in an age of regional and global competition, Pittsburgh is poised to forge what likely will be known as Renaissance III. From residential lofts and shopping plazas to cultural venues and sports stadiums - plans for a dramatic reinvigoration of the region's epicenter are ...
From BUILDING THE FUTURE ($$) - Related web pages

Mar 27, 1998 - It is a meeting of such focused minds and willing spirits that stands to take Pittsburgh into a new era. Call it Renaissance III or call it just a better place to live, this is the blueprint of a renewable city that more people will be proud to call home.

Post-Gazette (1997) Media Kit - With two new stadiums, expansion projects for the convention center and science center, and being named one of two finalists for the country’s first-ever Maglev train, Pittsburgh may be on the verge of its third renaissance in the past 100 years. (The date is embedded in the html of the web page.)

Friday, March 27, 1998 Editorial -- Renaissance III

We are hesitant to call it an unprecedented period of construction -- this being a city that has undergone not one but two urban "renaissances." But no one should be surprised if the name Renaissance III surfaces more frequently in connection with all the digging, erecting and eventual ribbon-cutting that's about to go on around here.

Pittsburgh is rebuilding again.

Apr 25, 1998 - I don't hear enough support for Renaissance III. When did Pittsburgh become inhabited solely by closed-minded old people who want the city to die with them? Let's change our name to Akron and be done with it. * Look up team player in the dictionary. Al Martin's picture is beside it. ...
From Author: LEE ADAM HEROLD ($$) - Related web pages

Jan 18, 1999 - This will help to bring new businesses and young families to our region to invest, work, live and enjoy the benefits and growing opportunities of Renaissance III. ... Pittsburgh is creating a total environment to attract business. Trails and parks are a part of this renaissance. ...
From HAPPY TRAILS ($$) - Related web pages

Apr 2, 1999 - "A lot of people have the wrong impression everything in Pittsburgh is going to be closed" when the Pennsylvania Department of ... Dawida said the bridge and tunnel work, while disruptive, is an element of what he described as "Renaissance III" - construction of two banking operations ...
From DAWIDA: CITY WON'T SHUT DOWN WHEN CONNECTOR... ($) - Related web pages

Apr 20, 1999 - "We need a full-time county executive who has shown countless times his leadership skills and his vision with the development of Renaissance III and the development of thousands and thousands of jobs that will be created by our Renaissance III. We need Mike Dawida!" ...
From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA) ($$) - Related web pages

June 20, 1999 - It's a new millennium and a new era for Pittsburgh," said Pfaff, 27, of the South Hills and the executive assistant for the Stadium Authority ... Some call it Renaissance III. It's an indication of how far the city has come and how far it can go that our rebirths carry Super Bowl-like ...
From SIGNALING A NEW ERA ($$) - Related web pages

Oct 3, 1999 - Here is a question I have heard frequently of late: Now that Pittsburgh is going through a period of resurgence, what do we call it? ... Sensing this, some members of our community have suggested "Renaissance III" to capture the transformation we are now experiencing. ...

Nov 9, 1999 - Regarding what to call Pittsburgh's regional resurgence: In the Oct. 3 Forum section, Timothy Parks of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance suggested "Metromorphosis" to describe what some have called "Renaissance III" ("The Name of This Rose"). Here's a suggestion to build on what Mr. ...
From MORPHING TO GREATNESS ($$) - Related web pages

Dec, 1999 - Tom Murphy: Pittsburgh mayor who, perhaps, launched "Renaissance III" before being elected mayor as a state legislator, he got state funding for an ambitious and then-unprecedented project to transform an environmentally hazardous site (Herr's Island, a former slaughterhouse area) into a model mixed-use development. Not only has Washington's Landing been successful beyond prediction, but it also sparked greater popular interest in the beauty and possibilities of local riverfronts. Murphy's "Renaissance" also includes hiking/biking trails, as the big city most prominent in the national Rails to Trails movement has a mayor who regularly jogs.

Feb 1, 2000 - I have watched all of the local television stations covering the construction of the Renaissance III projects ... This event is expected soon to come to Pittsburgh. The Frankfurt Convention Center hosted one of the largest crowds in the world, yet was able to provide bus ...

May 12, 2000 - This letter is in response to the many articles regarding the redevelopment of Downtown Pittsburgh. As a former Pittsburgher, I miss the city. ... I wish that I could be there to see what current and ex-Pittsburghers will someday consider Renaissance III. We must ensure that the number ...
From A POSITIVE TRADE ($$) - Related web pages

Jul 23, 2000 - Cities around the nation have been updating their aesthetics, while Pittsburgh has lain dormant. But now, Renaissance III is lifting the 'Burgh from its rut. Much-needed makeovers erasing the days of the "fantastic plastic" era have finally arrived. Smart architecture is under way in ...
From Author: MATTHEW CURRY, DALLAS, TEXAS ($) - Related web pages

Jul 24, 2001 - In addition, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce has taken out a series of advertisements in airline magazines urging fliers to consider ... Renaissance I was a beautiful piece of advertising, Renaissance II was cute, but Renaissance III is definitely sounding redundant. ...
From A NEW NAME FOR A NEW CITY ($$) - Related web pages

Nov 17, 2001 - My hat is off to the leaders, bankers and investors in the city of Pittsburgh. The second and third renaissance is great for the city. Moves and changes are really uplifting. Part of the North Side has become the North Shore, a wise and good name. There are new stadiums for football ...
From THE HILL NEEDS MORE ($) - Related web pages

Oct 14, 2002 - Once known for its steel mills and pollution, Pittsburgh has come a long way in cleaning up its environment and image. At the forefront of a movement known as the city's third renaissance is the new David L. Lawrence Convention Center, designed by New York architect Rafael Vinoly. ...
From Pittsburgh's `green' convention center:... ($$) - Related web pages

Jan 23, 2003 - Pittsburgh is in the midst of a third renaissance, an effort designed to transform the city from an industrial wasteland to a center for technology-based commerce. The Mon Valley and Fayette County are yearning for the same. However, transportation is vital to those efforts, ...
From Pittsburgh Council on the wrong road - Related web pages

Jun 9, 2003 - Much like Cleveland, Pittsburgh has worked to progress beyond its industrial past by pursuing dreams of an economy built in part on new and emerging technologies. As a result of those efforts, some people in Pittsburgh say the city is enjoying its "Third Renaissance...
From Pittsburgh: Steely determination; Blending of... - Related web pages

This Third Renaissance includes PNC Park
, an intimate 38,000-seat ballpark for baseball's Pirates, and Heinz Field, an open-ended 65,000-seat stadium for football's Steelers. There's also the expanded, 330,000-square-foot David L. Lawrence Convention Center - a sweeping architectural jewel on the south bank of the Allegheny River that's more than twice the size of the previous building - plus a host of new restaurants, walkways and buildings along the city's riverbanks.

Dec 22, 2004 - In the end, as Murphy announced Tuesday that he won't seek a fourth term as mayor, he must inevitably be compared to the man against whom all Pittsburgh mayors are measured. Murphy's Renaissance III fell short of David L. Lawrence's original edition, and Murphy won't match Lawrence's ...
From Murphy's out - Related web pages

Dec 21, 2005 - 21--If Downtown Pittsburgh is undergoing a third renaissance, this one won't be built so much on the shoulders of skyscrapers as on the comforts of home. With more than $360 million in development in the works or in planning stages, the Golden Triangle could be on the verge of its biggest face lift since Renaissance II two decades ago...

From Downtown's newest building boom focuses on... - Related web pages

Dec 22, 2005 - Through good times and bad, PNC Financial Services Group has remained bullish about Downtown Pittsburgh. Its headquarters tower, One PNC Plaza ... No wonder Mayor-elect Bob O'Connor has called the past few days the best week for Pittsburgh in a decade. The time line for construction is ...

Jan 4, 2006 - "I've heard something about him bringing a third renaissance to Pittsburgh. I'm interested to watch how that goes," said Chris Hearn, 22, of Kennedy, who works Downtown. O'Connor, 61, of Squirrel Hill, kicked off his tenure as Pittsburgh's 54th mayor by calling for more financial help ...
From Mayor O'Connor takes charge - Related web pages

Feb 8, 2006 - The chance to design a new neighborhood, Gatti said, is a "once-a-generation opportunity in my view or at least once every 25 years. I believe that the third renaissance in Pittsburgh will be a residential renaissance."

From Developer/architect teams chosen for Cultural District contest

Mar 21, 2006 - In Pittsburgh, participants took advantage of a system well-honed in these other electronic town meetings: a central computer system ... that tamps down the ideal that this region's best years still lie ahead, many nonprofit leaders believe that we are poised for a third renaissance...


Jul 16, 2006 - A group of local and out-of-town developers and property owners say the time is right for Downtown Pittsburgh and combined are investing well ... No one is calling their projects -- about 18 in total -- a revitalization or a Renaissance III, but for the sheer number, the moniker fits. ...
From Developers invest more than $1B Downtown - Related web pages

Aug 1, 2006 - The year began with his inaugural and hopes of a Renaissance III. And what is important to consider is that as Pittsburgh prospers, so goes Allegheny County and the trickle-down effect to the entire region. What's good for Pittsburgh is ultimately good for the Lower Valley and ...
From Region needs O'Connor - Related web pages

Sep 24, 2006 - Even before the late Mayor Bob O'Connor set out on his crusade to bring a third renaissance to Pittsburgh, our city's restaurants had undergone a major revamping. Pittsburgh diners can be thankful for the influx of talented chefs who are creating innovative menus and whose mantras are ...
From Some tips to improve restaurant service - Related web pages

Aug 19, 2008 Post-Gazette 2008 - In a statement released by his office, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he met with Mr. Edwards on Friday and is excited about the possibilities generated Downtown by such projects as Piatt Place and Three PNC Plaza.

"We are experiencing Pittsburgh's third renaissance right now," he said. "Cranes are dotting Pittsburgh's skyline, Downtown living is on the rise, and in historic Market Square, business is booming. We must build upon this momentum, working together to improve Pittsburgh's retail environment."

From Luring high-end retailers the goal for Downtown partnership



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dowd's Mayor's Race News Conference

The following news release just came in by e-mail.:


James Fogarty – Campaign Manager
Patrick Dowd for Mayor

Councilman Patrick Dowd will announce his run for Mayor in front of
supporters in Polish Hill at noon Thursday.

Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 18 2009 – Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd
will announce his candidacy to be the next Mayor of Pittsburgh in
front of the Polish Hill War Memorial, at the corner of Dobson St. and
Brereton St. in Polish Hill, at noon on Thursday, February 19th 2009.

Sent from my mobile device


Monday, February 16, 2009

"What (These Two) News Anchors Do During Commercials..."

...Not any local anchors that I know of, I should hasten to say. The YouTube video of these two Chicago TV anchors is so unusual that I couldn't resist passing it along.

From The Chicago Tribune

WGN-TV weekend anchors Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange do a little dance number each Saturday and Sunday night during their telecast's first commercial break. Word is that it started out as a short 10-second dance, but now they have choreographed it into the full 2:40 of the break.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snoop Dogg, Mayor Luke, & the Power of Incumbency

How does any would-be mayoral challenger compete with this? The photo above immortalizes Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's ascendance into a still higher sphere of reflected celebrity glory. This shot of his honor flashing a sign with rap superstar Snoop Dogg is from Snoop's own Flickr stream -- snapped at Snoop Dogg's exclusive post-game Super Bowl victory party in Tampa. Super Steelers were there, partying too. (The photo also appears on Snoop Dogg's website.)

Many of the 350,000 Steelers fans who packed downtown for Tuesday's victory parade have their own photo documentation of the mayor nestling close to celebrity.

A search of fan photos on Flickr creates a virtual flipbook of Quarterback Big Ben and the mayor riding together -- camcorders in hand -- from Grant Street, down the Boulevard of the Allies, and onto the stage at Stanwix. Any parade photo of Roethlisberger is likely also a photo of Ravenstahl.

Photo on Right by Kris Radder
Photos Below by
All (cc) Creative Commons

It's been an exciting run for the mayor, from his busy calendar in Tampa to a big splash in Sports Illustrated.

Is it any wonder, then, that Council President Doug Shields (photos with Pittsburgh's own Jeff Goldblum notwithstanding), decided that presiding in Council Chamber is his current calling, and not the Mayor's office?

At last word, Councilman Patrick Dowd was still considering a run for mayor. As I write this, he wasn't answering his cell phone or voice mail to provide an update.

You can click the play button below to hear a bit of what Dowd was saying 28 days ago about challenging Ravenstahl. Of course, a lot can change in 28 days.



Monday, February 9, 2009

Shields: Not Running for Mayor

Pittsburgh Council President Doug Shields is not going to run for mayor.

Shields had both said last month that he was "seriously considering" entering the race.

Here's Shields' statement, e-mailed this afternoon:

"With the encouragement and support of many people, I have seriously considered running for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh.  At this time, the right choice for me, for this Council, and for the people of Pittsburgh is to continue to serve as Council President.

City Council's positive image and strong record of accomplishment is very gratifying to me. Leadership means being willing to serve the bigger picture over personal ambition.  In these difficult economic times, we have serious financial and governance issues to work through.  As we face these many challenges, I believe that leading Council is how I can best serve the city.

What the citizens in Pittsburgh most need is a productive common agenda, not a divisive political campaign. I pledge to continue working in the best interests of the people who elected me."

Sent from my mobile device


Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Thoughts on the Steelers Parade plans? [UPDATED]

Do you have any thoughts about the timing, notice, and route of the Steelers victory parade? The following news release with additional details about tomorrow's went out at 4:34 this afternoon. Feel free to offer your comments below.. (I'm filing this blog post via BlackBerry/GMail.)


From the mayor's office:

• "Please note that the parade is to start at Grant Street and Seventh Avenue. Reports indicating otherwise are false."

• "Stanwix Street from Fort Pitt Boulevard to the Boulevard of the Allies will close at 9 a.m." [Other street closings are listed in the news release below.]

• "In addition, workers who use the Gateway Center and US Steel parking garage located between Stanwix Street and Commonwealth Place will be able to have access."
Authorities are suggesting parking on the periphery of downtown. That would include Station Square, the North Shore, The Strip District, and the new Grant Street Transportation Center (at the end of Grant Street by Liberty Avenue).

Here's the phone number Port Authority customer service: 412-442-2000.

The Post-Gazette is reporting:
"The Gateway Clipper Fleet will run shuttles from Station Square to the Monongahela River side of Point State Park for the parade. Shuttle service will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until the start of the parade. Return shuttles will begin immediately following the conclusion of the ceremonies and will continue for an hour. The cost will be $5, with no charge for children 6 and younger. The fleet will donate part of the proceeds to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank."

Here's Monday's news release from the offices of the mayor and the county executive:


"(PITTSBURGH) February 2, 2009 Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and County Executive Dan Onorato today announced plans to honor the history-making victory of the six-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers with a parade through Downtown Pittsburgh tomorrow, February 3, starting at 12:00 noon at the intersection of Grant and Seventh..."

" 'We are excited to give fans an opportunity to celebrate with their team, the number one Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.' said Ravenstahl. 'Let's welcome home our guys and show the world what Pittsburgh and the Steeler Nation are all about.' "

" 'Tomorrow's parade will be a great opportunity for this region to honor this amazing Steelers team and the Rooney family for bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy back to the City of Champions for a record sixth time,' Onorato."

"The parade will take off at 12:00 noon and proceed down Grant Street. From Grant Street, the parade will loop to the Boulevard of the Allies and end at Stanwix Street where a stage celebration will be held. A media reviewing stand will be set up near the stage."

"Color and honor guards comprised of City and County public safety personnel will commence the parade. Six marching bands from Thomas Jefferson, Bethel Park, South Fayette, Carrick, Perry and Brashear high schools will follow, representing each Steelers Super Bowl victory."

"Barricades will be set up throughout the parade route to ensure the safety of fans and players. The City encourages all fans to take public transportation. If driving is necessary, fans are encouraged to park on the periphery of downtown."

"Road closures are as follows:"

· "6:30 p.m. this evening to 3 p.m. tomorrow - Boulevard of the Allies between Stanwix Street and Commonwealth Place"

· "9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow - the entire parade route from Grant Street to the Boulevard of the Allies to Commonwealth Place."

· "Please note that there will be no parking on the Boulevard of the Allies tomorrow morning. Traffic will be back to normal for tomorrow's evening rush hour."

Sent from my mobile device


Steelers Parade Plans

The following update just came in by e-mail from the mayor's office.



"Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, County Executive Dan Onorato and
the Steelers announced today that Steelers fans will receive a parade
tomorrow at noon."

"The parade will take a similar route as the traditional St. Patrick's
Day Parade."

"Details will be released today before 4 p.m."

Sent from my mobile device