The Market Square State of Business Address

Sometimes it seems like every time you walked across Market Square during 2010 there was a special event going on there. Whether it was the two-day 50th Anniversary Light Up Night extravaganza or a quiet summertime wedding, there was hardly any downtime in the Square last year. So while we recapped the Best Events of 2010 in a recent post, it's time to take a look a some equally big goings-on in the Square that were sometimes just out of the spotlight. Now it's their time to shine.

Open for business: Nearly a dozen businesses opened in or relocated to the Square or the streets nearby. In the heart of the Square, the new shops include the trendy WEAR fashions, the relaxing zen of Zhang's Massage and a fresh nest for the legal eagles of Sommer Law Group, perched above Starbucks. Of course, Chipotle added a bit of spice to the Square's dining menu with it's freshly prepared gourmet wraps, salsa and other tasty South of the Border treats. 

Now, we like to think of Market Square as a state of mind, especially when it comes to the cool new enterprises operating in the vicinity. If you're in the mood for a new "look," we recommend that you stop in 3 Guys Optical along Fifth Avenue, in the beautifully restored Buhl Building. These visionary eye wear experts will fit you with a new set of specs to guarantee that you look your best. Speaking of the Buhl Building, the main tenant there is PMI, a multimedia production company that does amazingly cool work. Chances are that you've seen PMI prez David Case walking around Downtown with Pittsburgh's most photographed pooch, Willie. And on the Market Street corner of the Buhl you'll find Splash, the city's kitchen, bath and home decorating experts. Always a Downtown landmark, the Buhl is bouncing back to life as hip hub for energetic entrepreneurs.

Just a few step away from the Buhl Downtown residents, shoppers and employees stop by the new PNC Y to work off a few of those extra pounds we all seemed to put on during the holidays. And if you need a break from our little winter wonderland here, the vacation planning experts at Liberty Travel can put together a R&R getaway to a warm-weather destination of your desire.

Speaking of PNC, just across the street you'll find the newest branch office of the city's biggest bank, located on the ground level of Three PNC Plaza. Along with indoor ATMs and bright cheery lobby, the bank is also a "green" business focused on saving big bucks with its energy-efficient design. Once your money matters are in order, why not perk up your day with a freshly brewed coffee or latte at 21st Street Coffee. The top-shelf baristas prepare each specialty drink to your preference while your eyes do a little window shopping at Larrimor's, now located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street. And if you just can't wait to get to Downtown for your first cup of the day, you can pick up a bag of beans to brew your own at home.

Certainly one of the most welcome additions to the city's sparkling skyline this year, Three PNC Plaza also is the home of the luxurious Fairmont Hotel and the fabulous Andys watering hole, where the upscale happy hour beverages deliver an oh so smooth tonic — and a few other ingredients — to end a hectic work day or start a night on the town. The bartenders here provide an  artful touch to the classy cocktails they mix every day of the week and their new happy hour specials prove there is something for everyone "where art and industry meet."

And let's not forget that Market Square is the fastest growing neighborhood within Downtown — the city's newest neighborhood. Along with the apartments at MarketSquare Place and the Residences at Fifth and Market, the posh penthouse pads in Three PNC Plaza provide a bird's eye view on the Square and just about everywhere else Downtown.  Market Square Place and Three PNC both saw their first tentants move in during 2010.

All these businesses are such great additions to the area its hard to remember that just one year ago the doors they didn't exist.  And, amazingly, there's even more to come in the days and weeks ahead. Just this week Winghart's served its first customers and word is spreading across the internet in reviews of the awesome burgers and pizzas now available in Market Square.  So make sure you check out our blog and visit the Square often to see what's happening at one of the business addresses in town.

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