Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pittsburgh Springs Open

It's springtime in Pittsburgh. The flowers are booming, and we're surrounded by news of new developments, plans, and openings.

Here's just a smattering of the new businesses popping up I've noticed in the past month:

The Sharp Edge is opening a new location downtown. This is really a coup for downtown as the Belgian Beer mecca has opened many suburban locations and only has one city location. As this new business will be just down the street from Seviche, Sonoma Grille, and August Henry's Saloon, I'm looking to this section of Penn Ave to become a downtown nightlife haven, just as Fifth Avenue is becoming a retail haven.

The Fairmont hotel has opened with a LOT of fanfare. They are courting the Pittsburgh community with special party after gala-event after special party. China Millman, the Post-Gazette's super-critical food reviewer even seems to have fallen in love with them and their new restaurant, Habitat. For more restaurant opening information, check out Ms Millman's timely blog, "First Bites." I'm looking forward to Kevin Sousa's new venture, Salt Of the Earth.

The biggest opening of the year will inevitably be the Penguin's new home, the Consol Energy Center. The new arena has already attracted concerts such as Lady Gaga, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, and Rush.

Of course, the city isn't the only one gathering up the openings. Ross Park Mall is booming with recent announcements of an Apple Store, California Pizza Kitchen, and (the most buzz-worthy) Crate and Barrel.

If all this news doesn't make you think the recession is passing and everything is rosy in the Pittsburgh area, I don't know what will.

Of course, not everything is staying. While Mellon Arena's fate may be up in the air, UPMC Braddock is ready to be razed. Robert Morris University announced today that they are contracting their efforts to the suburbs and leaving their landmark downtown building. But I'm guessing some developer out there sees that as another downtown opportunity.