Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Tower at PNC Plaza

When I was off last Friday and downtown for some meetings, I wandered past the construction site for the new PNC tower known officially as The Tower at PNC Plaza.  Even on my off day, I was drawn to watching the construction going on at the site.

The site has been excavated to approximately 50 feet deep and caissons have been drilled for the proposed foundation mat.  When completed the 30 story skyscraper is being billed as one of the "greenest" skyscapers in the nation.  The green technologies being considered are geothermal wells and a solar chimney (no idea what that is) to reduce carbon emissions, rain gardens and water reuse systems to re-use water, and state-of-the-art heating and cooling techniques based on occupancy of rooms.

The architect firm for the building, Gensler out of San Francisco, is the same firm that designed PNC 3 next door to the site.  There are some faint similarities between the two buildings in terms of the tinted glass and floor plans, but The Tower at PNC will stand alone on its own merits.  The Tower is scheduled to open in 2015.

I was wondering if Pittsburgh is on the same path with PNC and UPMC as they were with steel companies in the past.  If those businesses fail or move or significantly downsize, will Pittsburgh experience the same prolonged morass as they did with the failure of the steel industry.  Are we (as a city and region) putting too much faith in these two companies?  I would like to think that the region is more diversified in 2012 than they were in 1982, but you never know.

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