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DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH Revitalization effort loses third developer



Published: Sat, June 4, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Pittsburgh Task Force will look for a new developer for the Fifth and Forbes corridor.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The effort to revitalize the city's downtown retail corridor has lost its third master developer.

Carl Dranoff, a residential developer who heads Dranoff Properties in Philadelphia, has walked away from Pittsburgh's Fifth and Forbes redevelopment project because he has too many other projects under way, said Herb Burger, chairman of the Pittsburgh Task Force.

Dranoff was to oversee proposed improvements and recruit tenants to a possible new development. Before working with the private task force, he worked with Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy on the project.

"[Dranoff] has major commitments in Philadelphia and it is quite possible that his schedule is too full for our project at this time," Burger said. "We have nothing but kind feelings toward Mr. Dranoff."

A spokesperson for Murphy declined comment on Dranoff's departure.

Dranoff did not immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press at his office Saturday.

Other developers

Dranoff replaced another Philadelphia developer, Kravco Co., which dropped out of the revitalization project in early 2004 after it was bought by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc.

A Chicago developer, Urban Retail Properties, had developed plans for a $522 million makeover of the downtown retail corridor. But in 2000, Murphy was forced to abandon the idea for the retail and entertainment district when the development's proposed anchor store, Nordstrom, dropped out of the plan.

All three developers were assigned the task of breathing new life into the city's so-called Fifth and Forbes corridor, a stretch of two downtown streets that are now nearly lined with empty and decaying storefronts.

The city's Urban and Redevelopment Authority owns dozens of properties in the corridor.

Unlike previous ideas for the corridor, the most recent plan developed by the Pittsburgh Task Force focused on residential buildings rather than retail space. The plan called for the construction of at least 800 residential units and amenities that would cater to people living downtown, such as a grocery store and coin-operated laundry.

The task force has moved on and is looking for a new developer, Burger said.

"We are talking to a number of developers, several with high-quality investments and developments around the United States," he said.




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