Great spaces: Market Square / by EpicDevelopments

Three years ago Market Square was a quick way to cut across town and that was about it.  Fast forward to today, the square is lined with bustling restaurants and cafes with more growth of the way!  This is all thanks to a $5M renovation spearheaded by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and funded a public-private partnership.  Since the renovation almost every storefront has seen significant investment and has certainly made the $5M project well worth the price tag.

The now open and airy square is now lined with everything from Mexican (chain and non-chain) to Creole inspired snacks and cocktails to yummy sammies and iced Intelligentcia coffee.  Add to the list il Pizzaiolo/Enoteca as well as a new concept from US Hotels Group and the square will be all but filled up.  And people like it.  At lunch time, try and find a seat outside in the square; its nearly impossible!  Happy hour has all the restaurants overflowing into the square with people sticking around for dinner, certainly a change from its previous iteration.  The square also has brought back the city's farmers market on Thursday, an added bonus for those grabbing lunch!
Farmers Market in Full Swing in Market Square.
And though the restaurants are the most visible sign of success, the project has also spurred development in other markets as well.  The Market Square Place project brought 50 loft apartments to the Square in addition to a state of the art YMCA facility.  The same developer is also breaking ground on The Gardens, a mixed used project that will contain 25,000 sq/ft of retail, 100,000 sq/ft of office, a 175 room Hilton Garden Inn, as well as 300 parking spaces to the entrance of the square.  The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation also brought seven apartments (complete with roofdeck) as well as street level retail to two historic structures and are working on another building with the same formula.
Bike Night.  
All and all, its hard to pinpoint a dollar value that the $5M renovation has spurred but its safe to say that the figure is well above $150M+ mark.  But more than that, the renovation brought back people down from their offices and others in from the suburbs.  Something that is going to continue to help Downtown Pittsburgh grow and evolve as a neighborhood!