Plug Pulled On New Italian Restaurant in Pittsburgh
Online cooking school students based in Pittsburgh have one less potential restaurant to dine at following the news that construction of a new Italian eatery has been abandoned by its developers. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Domenic Branduzzi announced during the week of Nov. 18, 2014 that he would be ending his development of Arde, his intended 4,500 square foot restaurant on the north side of the city. While Branduzzi’s decision certainly comes as a disappointment to those looking for new high-level restaurants in the city, it may not be as much of a surprise as some people have made it out to be.
Arde was intended to be one of the flagship ventures in a formerly dilapidated building located in Pittsburgh’s Central Northside. The building in which it was being constructed, the Garden Theater, has been a source of problems for the city for some time now. Effectively, the Garden Theater has been vacant for more than six years. It was purchased by the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2007 after the space fell into disrepair upon losing tenants and store proprietors to a failing economy. Since then, it has sat in relative silence while the city has rebuilt pieces of the district and attempted to persuade investors and entrepreneurs to develop new concepts for the space. Arde was expected to be a driving force behind bringing both consumers and additional proprietors back to the theater.
Struggling to find tenants
While the city has found immense difficulty locking down businesses to take over the multiple abandoned and run down buildings in the cultural district, they haven’t struggled with generating baseline interest. TribLive News has indicated that an entire host of different businesses have been in the running to take over the space, though none of them have come to fruition. Shortly after the closing of the area in 2007, two development firms, JRA Development Group and Aiello Development were slated to take over the project, but couldn’t secure the necessary tenants. The city’s East End Food Co-Op and popular Nakama Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar had both also expressed strong interest between 2007 and 2014, though both ended up selecting different locations for their projects. In a statement regarding his decision to abandon the project, Branduzzi indicated that he was very disappointed that it didn’t work out, but that he was sure others would have an interest in the space moving forward.
“With an established and growing residential population and unique cultural amenities that attract thousands of tourists, I’m confident that more business owners will be investing. It truly is one of the best locations in the city,” the statement read.