Property Watch: Rec Center gets official city planning approval

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission gave approval Nov. 1 for construction of Pitt’s Recreation and Wellness Center on O’Hara Street after hearing from Columbus, Ohio-based Moody Nolan, which is providing architectural services for the project, and landscape architecture firm Land Collective.

Much of the discussion at the hearing centered around the access the new building will give between upper and lower campus.

The commission’s vote also gave retroactive approval for the demolition of the LRDC building and the O’Hara Street parking garage.

Site prep work has already started for the rec center, which is expected to open in fall 2024.

Historic renovations

Pitt officials outlined upcoming work on four campus structures at a development activities meeting Oct. 18 with the Oakland Planning and Development Corp., the Oakland Business Improvement District and the Department of City Planning. Assuring historical accuracy on these projects is a priority and each will be presented to the Historic Review Commission for review and approval as needed. The projects include:

Heinz Chapel spire: The lead coated copper on the spire has deteriorated to a point where the entire cladding needs to be replaced. The University is working to create an exact replica of the spire, which was built in 1938.

Thaw Hall roof: Inspections have found that the roof of Thaw Hall, built in 1909-10, will need to be replaced. To accomplish the roof replacement, the building cornice will need to be removed and it is expected that some portions will be too damaged to reuse and will need to be replaced. 

University Club terrace: The outdoor fourth floor terrace of the University Club will undergo a renovation, which includes stabilizing and repairing the historic railing, replacing a failing roof and saturated substrate under the existing pavers (to be reinstalled), and adding lighting.

Schenley Quadrangle steps: The steps from Forbes Avenue to Schenley Quad, features a stone balustrade. The height of this balustrade is not compliant with code so there is a plan to raise the balusters. There are other sections where the balusters will be replicated to add additional safety on the main Schenley Quad level.

LEED certification

The Assembly, a century-old building transformed into a world-class, state-of-the-art life sciences research and innovation facility, has been awarded LEED Gold certification. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system.

The building at 5051 Centre Ave. — originally a Model-T assembly line and Ford showroom —  was developed by Wexford Science & Technology and is being leased by Pitt. The Assembly is the second LEED certified space leased by Pitt.

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