Downtown Living: Perks and Pitfalls / by EpicDevelopments

Across the country, downtowns are certainly facing resurgence   From Philadelphia to Phoenix, downtowns are blooming back into places of life and fun rather than just work.  Not to be left behind, Pittsburgh is doubling down on this trend with an onslaught of new and renovated units hitting the market in the coming few years and increased investment in restaurants and shops.  And its not surprising why.  Pittsburgh (and Downtown specifically) boosts one of the highest rental rates in the country, over 95%, and population has grown 21.3% over a ten year period.

When a friend moved back to the city, he caught the downtown bug and laid down roots in the heart of the city.  Three weeks later, he is beginning to see some things he loves in the city and some things he doesn't love so much and would like to see change. Here is what he has to say: 

  • Downtown is really ramping up its late night dining.  While there are certainly places that close at 9pm, others are doubling down on residents, business travelers, and students staying opening much later.  Meat and Potatoes is one of several places that is not only open but packed til close, always making it a contender  to grab late night grub and a beverage.  On the opposite spectrum, you have several pizza and sandwich places open even later, making for nice grab and go food (Mmmmm the taco pizza at Pizza Parma).
  • Its all there!  You need to grab dress socks, Macy's.  You need a quart of milk, 7/11.  You want to see a fun show, they are all there.  Sandwich to go, Bluebird.  While there are still huge strides to make in amenities, Downtown still has some great bones to work from and is only getting better.  
  • In building gym/walkable gym.  This really takes the effort out of the gym, making that annoying part of your day so much easier.
  • Rumors of a grocery store.  This would be great.  While the Strip is a short (<20min) walk and a breeze on a bike, having a shop in town would be killer.  Lets hope this rumor comes to fruition.
  • No beer distributor.  While I have found a place to grab a cheap 6-pack, if I want anything other than Miller Lite its across the river I go!
  • Variety of restaurants.  Yes its getting better but I always want more.  Italian is represented just fine as is steakhouses.  Now how about some fun exotic food, a great slightly upscale mediterranean place like Zaytinya in DC would make me so happy and would kill it downtown!  And more bars that aren't hotel bars and aren't pits in the inside would be great.
    • Also, more late night dining menus would be great.  Look to Morton's for a great example.  I don't want a 14oz steak at 10:30, but i definitely do want filet sliders.
  • Getting friends to visit.  Its easy to park when you have a parking pass for a garage but asking your friends to come over for a beer is harder when it involves them paying $5 every time they do.  Better transit would help the cause here too!  
  • Good/cozy coffeeshop that's not Starbucks.  And no hard feelings Starbucks, I like you just fine, but for a self employed coffeeshop fly, I need some variety and don't like crossing the river for it!
  • People asking where I grocery shop.  I need a car to grocery shop but so does everyone that drives to Market District/Whole Foods from Lawrenceville and Highland Park.  So why is that everyone's curiousity?