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Is the Baum-Centre Corridor Prime Real Estate?

August 27th, 2008 · 17 Comments

Apparently, community leaders around the Baum-Centre Corridor are attempting to get Giant Eagle to put a new shine on a GetGo gas station (discussed in the Tribune-Review). But Giant Eagle’s efforts to create an inviting and innovative gas station convenience store mix aren’t nearly as interesting (since we’ve heard them before) as this comment on the Corridor:

“The Baum-Centre corridor has the potential to be one of the prime real estate areas in the city …,” said Rob Pfaffmann, a local architect.

One of the prime real estate locations in the city? That’s speaking pretty highly of it, since to call it that would have to put it in competition with established and developed Pittsburgh areas Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, popular and hip East Carson St. on the South Side, and up and coming Lawrenceville and the North Side.

Wedged between Oakland, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Friendship and East Liberty, and often visited by nearby Highland Park and Lawrenceville residents passing through, the Baum-Centre corridor certainly has a lot of potential. It’s highly visible and a major thoroughfare in the area. It has access to public transportation. It’s also a logical area to take advantage of the popularity of living in the Shadyside neighborhood.

But at the same time, the area has a lot of work to do to define itself as separate and distinct from the nearby neighborhoods and to establish its value as more than a means of getting from one area of Pittsburgh to the other. I’ve looked at the Baum/Center Corridor Strategy and I don’t yet see the unifying/defining theme that is going to turn the area into prime real estate in the next 5-10 years. Will the area need to seek a major developer to come in and unify development in the corridor similar to what is expected in the Federal North redevelopment or Fifth-Forbes corridor? Or is pursuing a one developer corridor project impossible (politically, financially) to pull off successfully these days such that the only way to go is to hope that individual property owner development can produce more than a bunch of gas stations and fast food restaurants (who doesn’t love Wendy’s?) on every corner. Will nearby residents ever truly consider the Corridor its own neighborhood - or will it always be overshadowed by Shadyside (and hopefully soon East Liberty)?

Of course, planning the development of a neighborhood is a difficult and long term game, and while I’m skeptical of the area’s ability to create its own identity and name as a destination in Pittsburgh, I’m hopeful that it can achieve it.

What are you thoughts on the area? Potential prime real estate in Pittsburgh or just another Pittsburgh redevelopment plan?

Tags: Commercial Real Estate · East Liberty · Lawrenceville · Pittsburgh · Real Estate · Shadyside

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