Friday, December 14, 2007

Chi-Pitts Connectivity

A few weeks ago, I guest-posted over at The Where Blog. My subject was urban connectivity and the rethinking of the scale of a city's hinterland. I intended to explore this theme in a series, but I got sidetracked with the IntoPittsburgh initiative. Also, Richard Florida beat me to the punch line with his reference to the work of Peter Taylor and Robert Lang about the global connectivity of American cities. Regardless, I'd like to continue my project of mapping Pittsburgh's urban connectivity hinterland.

The latest news from the SouthSide Works development project is a good sounding board for next week's blog exchange with Where. The developer is DOC-Economou, a joint venture story indicative of the urban connectivity between our two blogs:

DOC-Economou was formed last month as a joint venture of Development Opportunity Corp., of Fort Myers, Fla., and Chicago-based Economou Partners, an architect and general contractor.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority's board of directors yesterday approved DOC-Economou's purchase of the nearly one-acre parcel. Purchase price is about $350,000, URA general counsel Don Kortlandt said.

The hotel-condo development fulfills The Soffer Organization's desire to enhance the "lifestyle" component of its development. It rents 84 apartments at 27th Street and East Carson Street.

"We've created a city within a city," said Damian Soffer, president of the The Soffer Organization. "This development brings a new level of style and sophistication to the project. It will meet the expectations of business travelers, tourists and residents."

DOC-Economou has built a similar project in Milwaukee. Called The Residences on Water along the Milwaukee River, it is scheduled to open in 2008 with a 121-unit Staybridge Suites franchise hotel.

DOC-Economou is located in Pittsburgh, a city with important links to Ft. Myers and Chicago. Those two places serve as homes for a substantial number of the Burgh Diaspora. Appropriately (click the link to find out why), the above narrative includes Milwaukee.

Connectivity summary: Money in Ft. Myers funds the development operations of a company in Chicago for projects in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

Next week, Where and Burgh Diaspora will explore the overlaps in our respective urban connectivity hinterlands. The links between Chicago and Pittsburgh will be the heart of the matter. I contend that the relationship is much more important to Pittsburgh than it is to Chicago, but I believe Where will take issue with my position. What I hope emerges from our exchange is a better understanding of Chi-Pitts connectivity and a response from Pittsburgh expatriates thriving in Chicago.

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