From the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation:
We are dismayed to learn that the owners of a group of buildings in Downtown’s Firstside National Register Historic District have applied to the City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission for a permit to demolish them, including the famous former Froggy’s tavern located at 100-102 Market Street.
The Troiani family, which also owns buildings located at 104 and 106-108 Market Street, and 209 First Avenue, signified its intention to demolish the buildings in a briefing of the Planning Commission on Tuesday, July 30.
The family, which controls a number of city buildings under Troiani Properties, contends that it needs to demolish the buildings in order to create a development site for a “signature tower,” facing Boulevard of the Allies in Downtown. Part of that site includes two former longtime restaurant buildings, Tramps and Papa J’s Centro, located at 212 and 214 Boulevard of the Allies, which Troiani Properties demolished earlier this year. The owners point to the deterioration of the buildings, which occurred over their long-term control.
We are strongly opposed to the demolition of these buildings. We do not believe that Troiani Properties needs to demolish buildings, which significantly enhance the historic architectural aesthetic of Downtown’s First Avenue and Market Street area, in order to achieve its goal of erecting a “signature tower.”
We believe these buildings can be restored and adapted for new uses in much the same way as our organization rehabbed four dilapidated buildings on Market Street in Market Square, creating retail space for clothing and shoe stores, a grocery store, and apartments.
Over the past few months, we have had a series of discussions with members of the Troiani family and their architects in an effort to emphasize how older buildings like these can be saved, in whole or in part, and combined with new construction, so that new buildings rise behind the historic facades. We recognize that a growing city needs to create space for new buildings, as much as it needs to save its old ones, and that is why we have supported meaningful construction of new office and residential space, which did not require massive demolition of architecturally significant historic buildings.
At our recent meeting, we believed we had achieved an understanding that new drawings would be developed incorporating new ideas on how to reuse all the buildings, in whole or in part. We were astonished to learn that Troiani Properties submitted only a demolition plan, negating our understanding that we would work together to determine the feasibility of various alternate plans.
We continue to call upon Troiani Properties to join us in considering all the possibilities that could support a new development without destroying the historic building scale of this part of Downtown.
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