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Proposed Multi-Use Development For Saks Fifth Avenue Building

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) --- It now stands empty -- the shining building that was once Saks Fifth Avenue on Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.

But at a meeting of the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, which owns the site, city officials heard about a possible development that could meet the mayor's goals.

"Our goals for that development are pretty simple," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

"One, we need more parking in that corridor.  Two, we want to make sure we have a good retail environment that is created as a result of that development.  And, three, to continue to fulfill our goal for more downtown housing."

Millcraft Industries, which developed downtown properties like Piatt Place and River View Apartments, has teamed with McKnight Realty, owner of the Henry W. Oliver Building, to propose a multi-use building for parking, at least one hundred apartments, and  "street front retail, create that bustling atmosphere that we've trying to over the past couple of years, getting people on the streets, restaurants, and places people want to hang out," added Brian Walker of Millcraft.

Developers see no need for an anchor tenant.

"The area is the anchor itself," said Mike Locke of McKnight Realty.  "It's going to be a draw just because of what's happening in the area."

The size and scope of the project is still uncertain, but Ravenstahl wants more public parking and more residential units to meet what he says is growing demand to live downtown.

We're in the very preliminary stages of this project.

Once final designs are completed and approved, nobody expects construction until the end of 2013 or early 2014.  That means it will be many years before something new is on the Saks site.

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