Real Estate Development in Pittsburgh

When the Post-Gazette runs a series of articles on local real estate, there is lots to critique.

First: This interview with Damian Soffer, who is responsible for the South Side Works, characterizes the development as emulating old-style Europe. Must be that other old-style Europe, with the Cheesecake Factory and Urban Outfitters and other American chains.

Second: The Pittsburgh Mills mall is due to open this summer, bringing mall culture closer to northeast Pittsburgh. I stay away from malls as much as I can, but I may have to make a pilgrimage to check this one out. From the story: "The one-story shopping center, comparable in size to Ross Park Mall, will be visually segmented into neighborhoods, including a rivers district furnished with benches modeled on suspension bridges, and a city district done with skyline elements. . . . A glass court will have a cut-glass chandelier."

Third: An outlet mall near the Meadows! There's nothing inherently wrong with bad economics showing that there is no support for an outlet mall . . . that a little Tax Increment Financing won't fix. The story reports that the affected school districts will vote on the plan, which is good. But if the mall doesn't perform, the public will get stuck with the bill, which is bad.

Fourth: Office buildings on the North Shore aren't going to house new jobs, for the most part, though it is true that Del Monte is relocating some jobs to Pittsburgh that were based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do wish, though, that the design of the Del Monte building didn't turn its back on the river.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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