December 11 2013

Station Square: From Train Depot to Tourism Hotspot

Station Square, Pittsburgh

Station Square has had a storied history in the city of Pittsburgh for over 100 years. The 52-acre site was originally the location of the Pittsburgh train terminal, which was the central station of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. The Pittsburgh train terminal was built in 1897 by William George Burns, and was the primary source of the exportation of steel out of the Pittsburgh area.

By the 1970’s, however, the steel industry had rapidly decreased in the Pittsburgh area, and the train terminal was abandoned. In 1976, preservationist Arthur P. Ziegler Jr. bought the site for $30 million and began the process of fixing the buildings up for adaptive reuse of the site. After renovating the terminal and a number of smaller buildings surrounding the area, Ziegler sold Station Square to Forest City Enterprises, who in turn put in over $70 million into the area, which included a $25 million hotel and a $25 million central court. The train terminal itself has been transformed into a number of shops, restaurants, and offices, which has made the area into one of Pittsburgh’s largest and most visited entertainment districts.

Station Square is now home to over a dozen restaurants and a plethora of exciting attractions for all ages. The site features amazing sites of the city from the south shore of the three rivers, as well as quick access to the Gateway Clipper Fleet, which is a sightseeing cruise along the rivers. It is also home to the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines to the top of Mount Washington, providing a beautiful landscape of Pittsburgh’s downtown. The site is also the home of Highmark Stadium, which is a 3,500 seat stadium used for the minor-league Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer team. Station Square also has a large nightlife, with a number of bars and nightclubs in the area.

Station Square, Pittsburgh

Station Square has changed multiple times in its prestigious history. From its humble beginnings as a train terminal, to a center of entertainment for the city, Station Square has always had a place as a central hub for the citizens of Pittsburgh. The future of this site looks as promising as its past, with numerous projects also being set into place in the area.

How can the adaptive reuse of Station Square be marketed into other reuse projects across the United States?

Credits: Images by Greg Shermeto. Data linked to sources.

Greg Shermeto

Greg Shermeto is a recent graduate at the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Environmental Design. While studying, Greg worked on projects including the South Buffalo Trolley and Trail System, which helped to connect the Western New York Railway Historical Society’s railroad museum to the downtown corridor. He has also worked for the University at Buffalo’s Center for Urban Studies, where Greg assisted with the redevelopment of the Perry Choice neighborhood in downtown Buffalo. Greg also spent a semester studying the built environment of the Baltic States in Estonia and Latvia. Greg’s interests include transportation planning and community design, and the efforts to make urban areas accessible and functional for the future. For the Grid, Greg will be writing about planning issues and topics about the city of Pittsburgh, where he currently resides.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 at 9:22 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Land Use, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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