Garden Theater plans in limbo after restaurant owner pulls plug


Courtesy of Allegheny City Central

Domenic Branduzzi, owner of Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville, will no longer be opening a restaurant in the Garden Theater block. While this news is disappointing, there is greater optimism than ever that our commercial corridor will soon become a lively, economic bright spot.

The City’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is poised to announce in December the competitive selection of one or more experienced developers who will lead the thoroughfare’s revitalization at what is truly an economic high point for the neighborhood. Nearly a half-dozen qualified developers bid on these rights, signifying the opportunity that exists. Millions of dollars of significant framework in the Garden Theater Block, including brand new sewer infrastructure, will be complete in January, simplifying the construction process for the new developers.

Since the URA bought the historic Garden Theater, ACCA and URA have worked together in high gear to further revitalize our residential and commercial corridors. As a result, the neighborhood has undergone significant public space and safety improvements and added hundreds of new residents, making the Garden Theater Block more appealing for private investment than ever before. From the Federal Hill housing development, to Allegheny City Market, to new businesses such as Deli on North and El Burro, the new development teams will be coming in at a true economic high point in the Allegheny City Central community.

It’s exciting and fortuitous to be working with Mayor Peduto’s administration and the URA to adapt to today’s opportunities and truly move this key city development project forward. The administration’s support for the Garden Theater Block – evidenced in their work to help secure City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s Alphabet City in the Masonic Building – will help anchor the entire block and further establish the neighborhood as a hip, unique destination for arts and culture.

With the growth in the neighborhood’s residential and commercial areas, there’s more optimism than ever that the URA’s work to award development rights on the remaining buildings in the block to an experienced developer or developers is the right move at the right time.

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