Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pittsburgh's "4Moms" Big Hit Nationwide

There are 5 moms with "4Moms". From top left clockwise:  Cindy Schaab, Erin Rimmel, Jenn Daley, Elizabeth Rychcik, Kristen Napoleon

Like most new moms, Mt. Lebanon's Jenn Daley and her friends spent time in those sleepless and harried early baby days griping about some of their infant products.  The infant bathtub: "Your baby sits in dirty, cold water." The vibrating bouncer: "Nobody vibrates their child." And strollers: "Something has got to be done about strollers."  But unlike most new moms, Mrs. Daley and her friends have done something about it. The women are now the face of a company called 4Moms, based in the Strip District, whose products have drawn a following from Pittsburgh to Hollywood.
The company began in 2005. Mrs. Daley's husband, Rob Daley, was in the process of starting a business with his partner, Henry Thorne, but the product that they were developing wasn't panning out.
So Mr. Daley's business, called Thorley Industries, instead starting working on the baby bathtub that met the dreams of his wife and her friends -- one that would constantly test the water temperature and circulate clean water.

Although the company is called 4Moms, there are actually five moms involved (the marketing team thought 4Moms sounded better -- one mom goes by "stealth mom") with 15 children among them, now ages 4 to 12. In addition to Mrs. Daley, the other moms -- a couple of whom have known each other since middle school -- are Elizabeth Rychcik, Kristen Napoleon and Erin Rimmel, all of Mt. Lebanon; and Cindy Schaab of Scott.

By May 2006, the bathtub -- designed by several Carnegie Mellon University engineers -- was ready for its debut at the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association's trade show, the must-see event for retailers of baby products.  People went crazy for it.  The Cleanwater Infant Tub now sells for about $40 at stores ranging from small boutiques to Babies R Us and Target.

The moms themselves aren't involved with the day-to-day operations of the company, leaving that to the 21 employees -- including seven engineers and roboticists (five with Carnegie Mellon degrees) -- who make up Thorley Industries. But they act as a "focus group" to develop and refine ideas, and go to public and corporate events.  The company does not disclose sales or revenue figures but has drawn millions of dollars in venture capital funding from investors such as BlueTree Allied Angels, Innovation Works and Newell Rubbermaid.

Next up for the company after the bathtub was another common focus of complaints from the moms: the vibrating bouncy seat. Mrs. Schaab, who has two sets of twins, remembers her utter frustration at trying to soothe one baby with vibrations while holding the other baby.  Enter the futuristic mamaRoo: The idea behind it is that it mimics the same motions that real mothers use when they comfort their children. To design it, they put on harnesses with electrodes to track real movements by real mothers.  The product sells for around $200 and has exceeded expectations, both locally and across the country.

4Moms has made it to Hollywood.  A recent "Oprah" show included a tour of new mom of twins Celine Dion's home and showed two mamaRoos side by side.  The moms have heard that Elton John also has at least one mamaRoo for his new baby, and that John Travolta and Kelly Preston have one in all three of their homes.

The company employs a publicist in Los Angeles that helps with product placements in glossy celebrity magazines. Several of the moms also attended the "Celebrity Boom Boom Room" gifting suite prior to the Golden Globe Awards this year, where they demonstrated their products and gave them away to celebrities who were pregnant or new moms.

But more important, the mamaRoo has also been a hit with non-celebrity moms. Babyland specialty store in East Liberty has trouble even keeping them in stock.  In addition to the machine's motions, customers seem to like the mamaRoo's sleek design and the fact that it can soothe a baby with music plugged in from an iPad.

The mamaRoo has also intensified the company's charitable efforts, in the form of donations to neonatal intensive care units and other women's and children's charities.  The Children's Home in Shadyside, which has a pediatric hospital and a day care for medically fragile children, received about 20 mamaRoos earlier this year.  Many of the infants at the Children's Home are especially irritable and uncomfortable because they are going through withdrawal from narcotics. The peace that the mamaRoo brings them allows them to spend their energy healing and growing instead of squirming and crying.

This summer, the moms plan to release their next product, a stroller that can do pretty much everything except change diapers.  It folds and unfolds with a one-touch button, powered by electricity that it generates while it rolls. It also has lights for day and night use, and includes a port to charge a cell phone, a pedometer, a thermometer and a speedometer.  All those features come at a price, and a fairly steep one: the Origami is expected to retail for $799.99.  While it sounds crazy to those accustomed to a $25 umbrella stroller, strollers that cost more than a mortgage payment are not out of the question these days. A special editor of the Bugaboo chameleon stroller sells (at Saks Fifth Avenue no less) for more than $1,000. And many of the sturdy jogging strollers commonly seen on Pittsburgh's rugged sidewalks sell for $400.

The company has ideas for more products in the future but isn't quite ready to share them yet.  And even though the moms aren't involved on a daily basis, they feel that their role as advisers gives the company an extra edge.

Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate
Mt Lebanon

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pittsburgh New "Megabus" Hub

Megabus at PPG Place announced that it is making Pittsburgh the sixth hub on its fast-growing North American network, with service to nine new cities: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, in Ohio; Detroit, Toronto; Erie; and Buffalo, N.Y.  That will bring to 15 the number of cities served from Pittsburgh by the carrier, which offers one-way fares as low as $1.

Trips to the new cities can be booked starting today, with service beginning on May 11.  Pittsburgh joins Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington, D.C., as hubs for the company, which relaunched service here less than a year ago.  Cities already served from Pittsburgh are State College, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, Washington and Camden, N.J. is able to offer lower fares because it doesn't maintain bus stations and takes most of its reservations online, reducing personnel costs, Mr. Moser said. It doesn't advertise much, relying instead on word of mouth and social networking sites.  Trips from here originate at a stop on 11th Street under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Travelers who make reservations well in advance can often travel for $1, but the prices rise as the travel date draws nearer and buses begin to fill.  Even on the company's long-established routes, ridership has grown 35 to 45 percent over the past year, possibly fueled by rising gasoline prices and people's eagerness to save money in a tight economy.

The new routes will make Pittsburgh more appealing to the tech-savvy travelers, business travelers and families as well as to international visitors who are exploring the USA.  The company uses single- and double-decker buses that have free Wi-Fi and power outlets.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

PG Renovation Contest: Large Project Winner

Abandoned Garfield Storefront Before Renovation

Rear of Property
1st Floor Retail Space Before

Upper Floors Staircase Before
Front Exterior After
1st Floor Retail Space Now Office For Lucchino & Croce

Living Room After .... Now 2 Stories

Kitchen After

Architects will tell you great home design lies in the details: plenty of natural lighting, a good flow between rooms, an interesting mix of colors and textures, maybe a couple of "green" features that give Mother Earth a break.  Freddie Croce and Jennifer Lucchino's renovation of a dilapidated commercial space on Garfield's main drag incorporates all that good stuff, plus one of the coolest rooftop retreats in the city. Planted with dozens of sedum that bloom in the summer with large clusters of showy flowers in shades of orange, red and purple, the 400-square-foot floating deck offers a bird's-eye view of Allegheny Cemetery.

The couple, both architects, spent nearly two years on the building, which is their office and their home. It's such a creative rethinking of a commercial space, judges from the Post-Gazette and Community Design Center of Pittsburgh named it the winner of the large project ($50,000 plus) category in this year's Renovation Inspiration Contest.

The venture is a testimony to the couple's talents and their love of pushing the architectural envelope. Who else but two architects would forgo drywall for recycled oriented strand board, stamped side out? Or make countertops from bamboo flooring suspended between frosted glass? They also took a chance and removed the joists and floorboards between two levels to create a dramatic, two-story living room, then heightened the feeling of spaciousness with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

To get a better appreciation for how much work went into the project, consider this: The building was vacant and divided into three units when the spouses, both adjunct professors at Carnegie Mellon University, discovered it in 2006.

Built around 1910, the three-story brick building was sturdy enough. But the interior had so deteriorated that Bloomfield Garfield Corp. was asking only $45,900 for the 4,500-square-foot storefront on Penn Avenue. A bargain, you say? Only if you don't count the sweat equity the couple invested in the renovation.  Take as an example the green roof, which required a sloped drainage system to divert rainwater away from the trays of plants. Guess who carried the six tons of gravel up, up, up, one back-busting bucket at a time?

Because the building was so tightly compartmentalized, the process initially was one of subtraction to open up the spaces. Mr. Croce and his wife, a native of Highland Park, pulled down existing walls, reframed and built new partition walls, tore out three apartment kitchens and baths and reconstructed an exterior wall that separated the kitchen from the deck. They also tore a 1960s wood-frame addition off the back of the house, allowing for more windows, and replaced the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Sam Ricci of Samson Heating & Cooling installed the HVAC systems.

Lots of DIYers start demolition with a good idea of how to use the space. In this case, it was an organic process that revealed itself over time, as the rooms opened up and the couple considered the various "what ifs." Two units, or three? Just for living, or should they also include office space? One "what if" that pushed them in the direction of turning it into a live-work environment was taking out the joists between the second and third levels at the front of the building to create a two-story living room. It was, says Mr. Croce, exactly the right decision.

Today, that sunlit space fronting Penn Avenue provides the home's wow factor. The MDF bookshelves, which rise 18 feet from the floor, transform what would have been a boring flat surface into a three-dimensional functional space. Low cabinetry in front of the six oversized double-hung windows cleverly hide their 5-year-old son's toys, and there's also a funky pairing of particle board and Earth-friendly bamboo on the floors.

The walls are a study in contrast, with pale-green painted drywall in the main living space and OSB in and near the staircase. The couple originally thought they would cover the engineered substrate (typically used as subflooring or as an underlayment) with fabric or grasscloth. But they ended up liking the way the surface looked, so at least for now, they're staying put.

Other spaces are delineated by color and material. The hue is more saturated in compact spaces (staircases, bulkheads, hallways) and lighter in "circulation" areas, such as the living and dining rooms. So no one notices the bathroom off the living room -- it's concealed behind dark-stained medium-density fiberboard panels that look like cabinet doors. (The panels also hide the mechanicals.) Almost imperceptible is how the hallway narrows on its way to the master bedroom, which is situated at the rear of the house so their dreams aren't interrupted by the noise of Penn Avenue.

Because the entire space had to be redesigned, Mr. Croce said he and his wife felt they had a freer hand to explore the spatial layout. That's how the bedrooms ended up on the second floor with the living room and bath, and the kitchen and dining room (gasp!) landed upstairs.

Economizing on some of the details allowed splurging on others. By using upgraded appliances and red-laminate cabinetry from IKEA (on sale), they were able to afford Mikado-style Ergon tile, an engineered stone, in the bathroom. It was installed by Ed Krist of Krist Tile.  The rail overlooking the living room below is actually a series of six bookcases that display pictures and knickknacks.

Green features that marry good looks with sustainability include a Forbo tile floor (made from linseed) and black laminate EQcountertops by VT Industries, crafted from recycled particleboard. A hard roof on the front of the building is treated with a 96 percent reflective white coating that reduces heat retention, keeping the building cooler. Rain barrels slow the flow of rainwater into the city's storm water system.

A trip to the office is just as green, in that all it entails is walking downstairs. Used as a staging area during construction, this modern, LEED-CI Gold-certified office space features wheat board flooring (a material typically used in furniture or casework) and sliding glass doors facing the street. Mr. Croce is in the process of facing a wall in the front room with leftover scraps of wood. There's about 300 up, with 14,100 more to go.

All told, the couple ended up pumping about $150,000 into the renovation, possibly pricing it out of the market if they ever decide to sell. Not that they are anytime soon.

PG Renovation Contest: Small Project Winner

Tsambiko Capperis (left) and his Manchester neighbor next door.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

Although he has the name of a saint, Tsambiko Capperis has the hand, eye and soul of an artist. He needed all of those plus the patience of Job to restore an abandoned North Side row house and create its beautifully functional U-shaped kitchen. His careful work on the kitchen made him the winner of the PG's Renovation Inspiration Contest, small project category (under $50,000).

The house, which was built in 1880, had been abandoned for 20 years when he bought it in 1999 from the city through Manchester Citizens Corp. A stylist at a Sewickley salon, he worked on the house in his spare time for a year before he could move in.  One of the keys to the project was finding woodworker Carl Kennedy of Coraopolis. Mr. Kennedy created much of the house's woodwork, including crown molding and trim for the cherry cabinets in the kitchen.

The native of Hopewell, Beaver County, said he was going for an Old World look, kind of a Mission-meets-Art Nouveau. One piece that set the tone was a Belgian copper and bronze fireplace hood that Mr. Capperis found at Architectural Emporium in Canonsburg. Made in 1905, the hood is now a focal point over an emerald green stove that he got at a bargain price because of its unusual color. A convenient pot-filler faucet over the stove means not having to carry pots of water from the sink, which is a piece of art itself. Hand-hammered in Mexico, it turned up while he was searching the Web. The copper faucets came from Splash.

The room's main focal point is the original fireplace, which Mr. Capperis modified a bit, using brick from the house. He raised the opening from floor level and added an arch on top for visual interest. Surrounding walls are painted a warm yellow common in Craftsman bungalows, and the lighted cabinets and open shelves are filled with pottery made by -- who else? -- Mr. Capperis.

His artistry continues on a back patio and goldfish pond made from old pavers and a small formal garden filled with more than 150 varieties of roses, each neatly labeled with metal tags. All is visible from the kitchen thanks to French doors and a large window he installed over the sink.

Mr. Capperis' row house and the one next door were featured last August on the Manchester House & Garden Tour. As winner of the Renovation Inspiration Contest, he will receive pairs of tickets to house tours throughout the city. The other part of the prize, a RenPlan consultation with a design professional through the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, is not quite as useful to an amateur designer as talented as this one. How many artists want a second opinion?

This artist appreciates the warm reviews his kitchen gets from friends and neighbors.  "I wanted it to be inviting, warm and welcoming. Old World can be so cold. Now everybody gathers here. This house is huge but no one wants to leave the kitchen.  I guess I've done my job."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PG Renovation Contest: Small Project Category Runner Up

Tim & Katy Jones in their Lawrenceville home.
Dining Room

Tim and Katie Jones weren't afraid of an old fixer-upper in Lawrenceville. He's a structural engineer and construction manager for Massaro Corp. and she's an electrical engineer for D&D Engineering. Throw in the fact that he grew up helping his parents restore an 1860s farmhouse in Ross, and you've got the perfect couple to tackle a 1901 brick rowhouse on 42nd Street. But all that training and know-how doesn't help much in the middle of the night when you have to shuffle through a century of soot and dust to get to the bathroom.

For five months, the Joneses lived amid the debris of their three-story stairway, a project that began one weekend when they and friends stripped a Dumpster full of plaster from the walls -- and also a third-floor ceiling topped with a 2-inch layer of soot.

In 2005, he was living in Squirrel Hill, she in Shadyside. They couldn't afford a house in either of those neighborhoods, but Lawrenceville seemed like a good fit.  The house on 42nd St was one that could be lived in while they renovated ... room by room.

In May of 2005 Tim started with the living room, dining room and kitchen, living alone on the second floor. Katy moved in in February 2007 just before the dirty work began on the stairway, followed by the master bath and entire second floor.

While the walls were open, the Joneses also seized the opportunity to put in new plumbing and add central air conditioning. They had Wahl Heating & Cooling do the work, adding air returns to help the system work more efficiently.  Exposing the brick in some rooms was a contemporary feature the couple favored, but they were careful not to do it on an uninsulated exterior wall. The staircase wall is shared with a neighbor and was a good candidate. The couple sealed the brick and mortar with a non-gloss sealer so their clothes wouldn't pick up crumbling mortar on the way up the stairs.

One of their most beautiful projects was the master bath. Featuring an early 1920s look, it has white wainscoting, a radiant-heated, black-and-white tile floor and a clawfoot tub they found on Craigslist.
Tim is also very proud of the front staircase, which had no banister or newel post when he bought the house. After he and his wife found an appropriate newel post at Construction Junction, they had Kellner Millwork of Lawrenceville make a matching handrail and banister.

The couple said their goal was to both update the house and restore it, giving it back the look and feel of a house built at the turn of the 20th century.  They think they've accomplished that goal.

Monday, March 21, 2011

PG Renovation Contest: Large Project Category Runner Up

Atticus and Garry's Lawrenceville Home
Atticus & Garry in the Studio
Living - Dining Room
Conceptual artists Garry Pyles and Atticus Adams, renovated their Lawrenceville studio/home so as to dramatically display their whimsical artwork which features everyday materials like wire, plastic and metal mesh.  Once inside, you realize that their home actually spans two adjoining buildings. They live mostly on the upper floors and rent out a one-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot space on the first floor.  The former machine shop on the left still wears its original 1954 brick, while the balloon-frame 1890s grocery on the right, in a playful nod to Lawrenceville's industrial past, is faced in corrugated galvanized steel. But what really earned the home the title of runner-up, large project category (more than $50,000), is the 6,000-square-foot interior.

A celebration of light and air, with long, exposed beams and ductwork, the loft-style home is a modern artist's dream: big, but not gigantic, with lovely bones just aching to be revealed.  But when they purchased the two buildings four years ago for $150,000, they were jam-packed with so much ... stuff that the pair had a winding path of only about 18 inches to get around. Scrap metal, old store fixtures, work benches, framing lumber, metal shelving, machinery -- you name it, the former owner had collected it and stacked it from floor to the ceiling.  It took the men a year and a half just to empty the space. More than 100,000 pounds of scrap metal went to a recycling facility, and they also filled an entire Dumpster with screws and bolts. Other items ended up on Craigslist.
Some improvements, including the rubber roof, are brand-new or second-hand discoveries from Construction Junction (doors and windows) or Craigs­list (the mid-century cherry-red fireplace in the corner). Many more are creative repurposings of items and materials they uncovered during the clean-up. A 20-foot-long work bench, for instance, was refashioned into kitchen cabinets; metal shelving they discovered in the rafters was turned into open storage units with all-thread bolts and washers hung from the joists; teak paneling from a steel company's boardroom decorates a wall in the foyer and was used to build a small deck off the kitchen. They also built a pavilion in the living room from old 2-by-4s and laid a floor of 2-by-6-foot pieces of hickory that came out of a steel mill in Follansbee, W.Va.

One no-brainer was the 3.5-by-9-foot kitchen island, which the previous owner made from maple salvaged from a bowling alley. You can still see the pin holes in the corners. Another was the six-burner Imperial commercial range hidden under piles of junk.
Financing proved to be a bit of problem, as it was tough to get lenders to understand the project and how someone could live in an industrial space. Even today, says Mr. Adams, people want to put in applications for the restaurant they thought the men were going to build.

Visual artists need plenty of space to create, so when designing their studio in what had been the second floor of the grocery, they had Lawrenceville contractor The Christie Group remove a walled staircase to the attic and build a new one, without hand rails. The master bedroom, which adjoins a private bath with concrete floors, is on the first level, off the front door. A second bedroom at the rear of the house, used by Mr. Pyles' youngest son, has a ladder to a sleeping loft.

The home is intentionally unpolished, with some of the repurposed materials begging for a good coat of decorative makeup or perhaps even a wall to keep things out of sight. The water heater, usually a hidden mechanical, stands out in the open in the pantry, and even the new ducting is exposed. But that suits its occupants just fine.

"Most people like things buttoned up," says Mr. Pyles, "but I like things unfinished."

Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate

Thursday, March 10, 2011

PG Renovation Contest: Small Project Category Runner Up

Ryan Indova's Highland Park Home

Ryan in his Living Room

Dining Room


Master Bedroom

The son of architect Robert Indovina, he grew up in Fox Chapel, joined his father's profession and went to work in Los Angeles and New York. Then, 21/2 years ago, he moved back and began looking for an older house in Highland Park that he could put his "stamp" on without erasing its architectural style.  The 1925 brick Colonial he found had five bedrooms and 31/2 baths but had lost much of its interior charm to the wear and tear of a large family and several misguided renovations. It was the blank slate he'd been looking for.

He made the most of the opportunity, giving each room a clean simple design whose contemporary leanings never overwhelm the traditional floor plan. On the first floor, the old hardwood floors shine, thanks to his careful sanding and refinishing. New recessed lighting highlights the bright white woodwork, cool gray and white walls and an array of sleek pieces made from the 1920s to the '50s. The second and third floors are similar, except that the furniture is made from old, warm wood.

In the front hall, where a Colonial chandelier probably once hung, there is a 1963 Danish light fixture based on Louis Poulsen's artichoke lamp. In the dining room, old laboratory chairs from Slippery Rock University that Mr. Indovina discovered at Construction Junction were sanded and refinished. They surround a 1920s Le Corbusier glass-topped table with aluminum base.

The living room is a modern furniture lover's dream, featuring chairs by Eames, Breuer and Bertoia. A large oil painting by Robert Indovina fills one wall. The fireplace mantel, which he believes is made from limestone, had too many coats of paint to strip. So he painted it white to match the woodwork and topped it with a whimsical deer head from Cardboard Safari. French doors lead to a screened porch that got a new beadboard ceiling and ceramic tile floor.

Upstairs, the master bedroom and bath are even more successful "experiments." Mr. Indovina, who works with Indovina Associates Architects in Shadyside, redesigned the floor plan, shuffling a closet, bathroom and hallway to improve flow, then built a low wall to act as headboard for his homemade bed.  Now the room's centerpiece, his bed was made from oak plywood stained ebony (Minwax). Mr. Indovina used the same materials plus two IKEA night stands to make his vanity, topped by an Italian ceramic sink. The glass shower has gray ceramic tile.  Other experiments are the light shelf around the edges of the ceiling and baseboards that are flush with the wall surface.

A reconfigured hall bathroom features a cast-iron bathtub Mr. Indovina found on Craigslist with reproduction hardware he bought online. The guest bedrooms have light shelves and beautiful carved oak beds and vanities made in the mid- to late 1800s.

The only hint that the house took nearly two years of hard work is found in the linen closet -- it's filled with tools. The only other reminder is a third-floor closet that was left untouched to show visitors what the house looked like when Mr. Indovina bought it. Faded striped wallpaper clashes with a bright green painted door.
The last room to be done is the kitchen, which still has several layers of old linoleum and a dropped ceiling. As Mr. Indovina decides how to redo the room, he could seek advice from another designer; one of the renovation contest's prizes is a free Renplan consult from the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.

Highland Park
Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate

Saturday, March 5, 2011

PG Renovation Contest: Large Project Category Runner Up


Barry and Susan Merenstein moved from Churchill in 1995 to the tiny yellow brick Greenfield house his grandparents built in 1959.  It's not an uncommon for Pittsburghers to return to live in the very houses they grew up in, but Barry put a little twist on that kind of move.  Architect Alan Dunn of Dunn and Associates, designed a contemporary glass entry that floods the interior with light and air, and an open floor plan characterized by bold colors and contrasting textures. As a result, the Merensteins were named a runner-up in the 2010-11 Renovation Inspiration Contest, large project category (over $50,000).

Further impressing the judges was the fact the six-month project, which included an energy audit by "The Energy Doctor" Rhett Major, was sustainable. In bringing Mr. Dunn's designs to life, contractor Charlie Brandon of Charlie Brandon Construction in Portersville sealed cracks with spray foam insulation.
He also installed radiant-heat floors in the new basement family room, painted with non-VOC paints and oversaw installation of one of the most colorful wall units you've ever seen outside of a children's playroom. Crafted by Portersville cabinetmaker Jerry Trombino out of Earth-friendly bamboo, it pairs lime green bookcases with an electric-blue fireplace.

The project started, simply enough, with the Merensteins desire to replace a deteriorated front porch and stairs.  They had done a little "a la carte" work on their own before finding Mr. Dunn, whose work in the city they had long admired. One of their first projects was an elevated deck off the back door to give them a better view of the city. But when their youngest child reached high school that they started seriously re-thinking how they wanted to live as empty-nesters.  And that's when and why the major renovation took place.

Once separated from the living room by a wall and long, skinny hall, the dining area today is open and airy, with a stunning view across the open staircase of the street below. In the kitchen, an Italian mosaic back splash in shades of tan, green and brown and ebony countertops contrast perfectly with the light maple cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. There's nothing understated about the living room, which in addition to the bamboo wall unit holds orange and red furniture and a colorful collection of art by daughter Shannon, an art teacher at The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park. It's a testament to the Merensteins' love of modern design, something they felt they never before could explore because one, they had no room, and two, the house didn't lend itself to contemporary style.

"My grandparents loved this house, so we're pretty sure they're smiling down on us from somewhere," says Barry Merenstein.

Friday, March 4, 2011

CMU Unveils 10-Yr Plan

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University wants to construct a new home for its Tepper business school, expand Heinz College and undertake other campus work that includes turning two Forbes Avenue traffic lanes into bicycle paths.  There would be a pedestrian bridge, University Center would be expanded and a new hotel on school land would be constructed.  Those are some of the projects in a proposed 10-year university master plan that campus administrators are preparing to submit later this month to the city.

The master plan is aimed at supporting university growth by both enhancing the existing core campus and by developing underutilized properties purchased by Carnegie Mellon along Forbes between Craig Street and Morewood Avenue.  The plan also recognizes that Carnegie Mellon's northern frontier, traditionally considered to be Forbes, has in fact become Fifth Avenue, thanks to university expansion, and that Forbes runs through what is now the middle of campus.

Projects high on the priority list:

•  A new nano-biomedical-energy research facility to be built next to Wean and Hamerschlag halls.
•  Moving the Tepper School of Business from the Graduate School of Industrial Administration building and Posner Hall onto part of what is now the Morewood parking lot on the north side of Forbes across from Hamburg Hall.
•  An expansion of Heinz College to include classrooms, possibly an auditorium and informal meeting space.
•  A new building for alumni affairs and other administrative offices on the north side of Forbes across from the campus cut that would require moving some fraternity houses to a nearby site.
•  Moving fitness facilities from the aging Skibo Gym to an expanded University Center and transforming Skibo into an updated headquarters for campus athletics.
•  A Margaret Morrison Hall expansion to support the College of Fine Arts.
•  Take a traffic lane in either direction on the part of Forbes running through campus and turning those lanes into bike paths.
•  Extending the east-west campus pathway and improving pedestrian access between Forbes and Fifth by developing a new sidewalk and bike path along Morewood.
•  A new hotel (operated by an outside party) south of Forbes near Craig St.

10-Yr Master Plan
Carnegie Mellon University
Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate