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TheGerbil

"Robbing Peter to Pay Paul"? Maybe not

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http://post-gazette.com/pg/07184/798814-28.stm

This article ends with a quote from someone who thinks developments like the SouthSide Works are simply "reshuffling the deck," moving people and businesses from one part of the region to another. I have seen many similar concerns regarding new development in and around Downtown. But in the middle of this article is an actual number, a number that indicates these concerns may be unfounded (at least in regards to apartments and condos).

"perhaps the best thing about the Flats is that the majority of the tenants -- 60 percent -- are people who have relocated from outside the Pittsburgh area"

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That guy's quote is truly idiotic. While he is correct that the SSW did not lure American Eagle from "outside the region"... SSW did lure fast-growing and internationally-recognized AE from distant suburbia to the core city... this is a net gain for the city and the region to have relocated a company like this from the far reaches of anonymous suburbia to our urban core... I support "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as much as possible if that means relocating business, residents and vitality from Marshall Township to the City of Pittsburgh

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I think anytime a dynamic growing company is lured from the suburbs into the city, it's a gain for the whole region. Why? Because dynamic growing companies and young professionals have a symbiotic relationship. A growing company needs to have young professionals in its ranks and young professionals are attracted to companies in hipper areas. By having American eagle in the suburbs, you're basically giving it a haandicap. By moving it into the city, the handicap is reduced. Overall, more young people will be attracted to the region which would fuel the region's growth.

As for Marshall, Marshall can always attract some business to take American Eagle's place. It just doesn't have to be American Eagle.

Also, it will be more likely that the people employed by American Eagle will live close to the HQ on the South Side wheras, in Marhsall, it'll be more likely that the people employed will live elsewhere. Not too many young professionals will live in Marshall. Thus, the actual loss by Marshall is easily offset by the gain by the city of Pittsburgh (both in having the HQ and in having new residents).

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I agree with you guys - it's very good that AE moved into the city. Marshall township might not like it, but I think it's better for the company to be in the city, and what's good for local businesses is good for the whole region. That's why I'm not as bothered as I might be over Westinghouse moving out of the county. They needed new digs, and they went where they felt they needed to. I'd rather they stay in Allegheny, but the main thing is that local companies should be able to thrive in the region.

As far as housing, which I touched on in my first post, here is another interesting article: http://post-gazette.com/pg/07186/799417-53.stm This is about the new 151 Firstside condo tower Downtown. Toward the end of the article it talks about where the buyers come from. It sounds like a good mix of locals and out-of-towners. Showing once again that new housing in the city IS attracting people from outside the region, not just locals.

Another thing, which I think I have said before... If a new office building or new housing development attracts locals, we have to ask not just where in the region they came from, but where they might have gone otherwise. What if these are people who otherwise would have left the region? It's important to have a variety of housing options. I think we need to look at the big picture here.

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I don't know if it's my economics degree or my disgust with Richard Florida, but I don't like seeing the words "hipper" and "young professionals" getting used in the same sentence. AE moving to SSW is good just because it will save commute times for most of their current and prospective employees, modernize their offices, and increase job satisfaction. Period.

So anyway, not only is SSW near the universities, but the employees that AE is recruiting from places like NYC and Chicago and LA are not going to fly out to Pittsburgh to live in Marshal Township. My room mate is a Chicago native who works for AE and right now he's got to commute every day from our place in the Mexican War Streets. It can't be looked as some sort of reginal economic triage when a company makes that type of adjustment. Wow - the anti-change people at it again. Becoming modern, efficient, and meeting the changing needs of our economy - bad stuff.

I remember two years ago a girl in a class at Pitt bemoaning South Side Works because it's new and trendy - she said, "Sure it's nice and everyone loves it, but what about all the old folks whose homes got displaced to build it?" You have to love the misconceptions about anything new in Pittsburgh.

Also, here's another thing: Pittsburgh housing sucks. I really couldn't care less for someone who says that new condos and apartments are somehow robbing a bunch of sleazy old landlords who haven't updated their properties since 1955. It's 2007 folks - if you don't put in AC and a dishwasher in your rental unit, people are going to move to the new developments that do.

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AE also could have easily moved to Columbus, New York, or San Fran.

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AE also could have easily moved to Columbus, New York, or San Fran.

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I remember two years ago a girl in a class at Pitt bemoaning South Side Works because it's new and trendy - she said, "Sure it's nice and everyone loves it, but what about all the old folks whose homes got displaced to build it?" You have to love the misconceptions about anything new in Pittsburgh.

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That's crazy, especially considering that, I believe, the SSW didn't directly displace anyone since it was built on a brownfield. Old folks getting displaced? More like they're benefitting from the rise in property values caused by having developments like SSW in their neighborhood.

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