Phase II Begins Monday!

That's right!  On Monday they will open up one half of the roadway and shut the other. 

We've been talking it up all winter but now you can see how close the work is really getting.  A roadway and sidewalk is completely finished!  And the center will be open in just one month!

At 7 a.m. this Monday, May 3, the road between Moe’s Southwest Grill and GNC (in PPG Place) will reopen.

How to navigate:
    1. drive down Forbes Ave.
    2. turn left into Market Square by Moe’s Southwest Grill
    3. continue past Primanti Brothers and PPG 2
    4. turn left at GNC onto Forbes (towards Stanwix St.)

Pedestrians will have a great big sidewalk with trees and new street lights to enjoy.

As soon as that is open, the road you've been using all winter will be closed.  But don't worry - there will be plenty of space for pedestrians to get to their favorite businesses!

    1. The closure starts at Market Square Place (the former GC Murphy Building, now home to apartments and the YMCA), past the businesses on that side, over to Dunkin' Donuts.
    2. Vehicles will not be able to turn from Fifth Ave onto Graeme and Market Streets (after all, where would you go?)

Although there are a bunch of road closures, pedestrians can go everywhere!  (Well, not in the center but that's coming soon.) And the residents of Market Square Place will still be able to get into their garage below the building.

So heads up! 
Stop by the Square on Monday afternoon for a taste of Downtown Pittsburgh's tree-lined piazza!



The pool is open!

There is a bunch of great coverage of the opening with better pictures than I can take!  Here is some of the coverage:

      Video & Article at KDKA TV

      Article in the Trib

      Photo Tour with WPXI

But really, you should go check it out yourself! 

The entrance for the PNC Y is on Fifth Avenue.  They are still new so their awning is not yet installed but there is an A-frame sign out front to guide you.  It is the closest door to the CVS and it's directly across the street from 21st Street Coffee (another new one in the Market Square area... their original location is in the Strip; their Downtown shop used to be in the Frick building, but who can resist Market Square?).

Check out the YMCA's website for information on their classes, fees, and all the great stuff in their new location.  Or like I said, drop by and they'll be happy to show you around. 

P.S.  The PNC Y is a great place to watch construction progress since the cardio machines face the Square.  The construction crew installed a couple light poles today by PPG and you should look for terrazzo to be poured very, very soon!


Belgian Block

Ever wonder why we make such a big deal about the stones in the roadway? 

There is history in these blocks.  Chris Potter, editor of Pittsburgh City Paper, wrote a great article on Pittsburgh's early road materials in 2004. We started with wooden blocks, then cobblestone, then belgian block.  Cobblestones are just any old rocks and were often round or irregluar in shape.  Belgian block is made of granite cut into a regular rectangular shape.

Belgian Block became a popular road material in the late 1800s.  It was the most expensive option available but it was the most durable and offered the smoothest, quietest ride available at the time.  In many places thoughout the City, if the pothole is big enough, you can see clear down to the original paving - block stone! The new design for Market Square requires a lot of belgian block... more than we had.  Fortunately, there is belgian block all over the City.  That's how we got the rest of the belgian block needed for Market Square.  While they were working on the Rivers Casino project they uncovered a bunch of belgian block that could be reused in this City project.  So now that piece of Pittsburgh history gets to see the light of day again in Market Square.

Pittsburgh is very good at maintaining a deep connection to its history and at the same time being a center of innovation. It's not just the architecture that makes people speak of Pittsburgh as more of a European City, it's that cultural connection we have to past, present and future. And its one of the things transplants like me really love about this city.  As the center of Downtown, Market Square really represents that - a connection to its past while it greets new businesses and residents, a place you can sit and enjoy historic buildings and skyscrapers at the same time.  Our sneakers and tires roll across the blocks that once clattered with fancy laced boots and horse hooves, and although we still eat oysters in the Square instead of reading penny newspapers we can watch the news on the TV at the bar, read the online paper with the Downtown WiFi, or pull out our smart phones!  That's pretty exciting!


Trees This Week, Light Poles Next Week!

Another day, another tree planting.

The trees are so heavy, they have to use machines to move them.

Stop by for lunch and check out the progress of the construction as the new Market Square date gets closer and closer.

Next week... Light Poles!


A Look Ahead on Construction

A Review of the great changes happening:

The trees are budding in Market Square!

They continue to lay the belgian block in preparation for flipping the street.

The brick-work has made it all the way down to Starbucks

In the new Square, there won't be individual parking meters.  We'll have the blue paystations that you see in other parts of the City.  One will be located in front of Subway, inin hte blank space between these two bollards.

When they fit the zig-zag pattern of the bricks, they often have to cut the edges to line up with the curb or around the bollards as you see in the above photo.  When they do that, they use a wet saw.

When you are walking through the Square, you may notice some odd cardboard tubes dug into the ground and say "Well, what the heck is that for?"  They already placed the light-pole bases... the trees are in... manholes and fire hydrants are covered...

They use these tubes to set the concrete bases of the bollards.

There are several sets of bollards.  Some will go at the ends of Forbes Ave and Market Street to keep the area pedestrian-only.  On the interior of the Square there is a set arranged in a ring (referencing the previous design) and a few other sets in various locations for safety purposes.

Coming up...

Blockstone continues to be laid (that's the street)

They will finish the brick work between Lubin & Smalley and Crazy Mocha...

They will plant the trees in the sidewalks by the businesses

Within one month...

They expect to begin laying the terrazzo in the center of the Square in late April.  That means less than a month from now you'll begin seeing the surface that we'll be walking on this summer, where we'll sit in the sunshine on lunch-hour with a book, where we'll stand under the clock waiting to meet a friend for happy hour...  It's coming folks!


Last Set of Winners

Winners for our final week of the March Promotional Campaign!

Winning Photo: Patty sent us a photo of Joe and George after a delicious lunch at La Gondola. Click here to see all the photo submissions this last week - people got creative!

And congratulations to our final raffle winner, Sarah.

Enjoy a gorgeous Opening Day Pittsburgh!  If you are working a half day then heading to the game, grab some to-go food or a bag of fresh roasted peanuts from Nicholas Coffee.  And don't forget to stop into Market Square for a beer and some dinner after the game.  Why sit in all that traffic?