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Eyesores On North Side Slated For Development

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Mayor Luke Ravenstahl addressed a mix of developers and North Side residents in the rundown Masonic Hall on North Avenue.

The $17 million Garden Block Revitalization Project takes its name from the vacant Garden Theater next door.

The theater was the target of numerous protests in decades past because of its X-rated movies. It's one of several North Avenue and Federal Street buildings purchased for renovation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority's renovation plans.

"Our approach was how can we save as many of these buildings and incorporate them into the neighborhood in a useful and helpful way," says real estate developer Wayne Zukin.

He says the city's second Nakama Japanese restaurant will occupy the ground floor of Masonic Hall, with the upper three floors converted into lofts. Sixteen apartments in the adjoining Bradberry building will also be renovated.

The Firehouse Restaurant and Round Corner Cantina are coming to North Avenue, while blighted buildings on Federal Street get facelifts.

The theater itself will be converted into a 3,500 square foot restaurant, complete with a large patio. The façade will be retained along with the marquee, but don't look for any listings of X-rated movies.

Ground will be broken in the spring.

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