Pittsburgh plans to build a new jewelry center

The city of Pittsburgh is working on a plan to create a new “jewelry center” in a downtown section of the city, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The plan would involve the relocation of at least 10 jewelers from a space known as the Clark Building, the longtime hub of diamond and jewelry sales in the Western Pennsylvania city, the newspaper reports. These jewelry and diamond merchants would move to three buildings in the same neighborhood at Ninth Street and Penn.

“The idea is to make this a unique situation in the city,” Pittsburgh zoning administrator Bob Reppe told the newspaper.

In the proposal, according to the newspaper, a central atrium area and retail space would occupy the ground floor of the jewelry center. Each jeweler also would have space on the upper floors of buildings, two of which are six stories tall. The other, a two-story building, has a pizza shop on the ground level which would remain.

Some of the jewelers in the Clark Building have been locked in a dispute with the building owners over rents and escalating payments, the newspaper reports.

In addition, Paco Garcia, manager of Garcia Jewelers, told the newspaper that the Clark Building has been changing since a culinary school and a city charter school moved into the 23-story office tower, which is up for sale.

Garcia reportedly said details involving the jewelry center are still being worked out. He said renovations will take eight to 10 months. Jewelers are hoping to be at the new location sometime next year.

Renovation costs on the Penn Avenue buildings will total, at a minimum, more than $50,000, Reppe told the newspaper.

The Penn Avenue buildings are owned by Phoenix Properties.

Renovations must be approved by the city planning commission because the buildings are located in a historic district, the newspaper reports. Furthermore, all renovations Downtown that are expected to be more than $50,000 must go before the commission for approval.

Reppe reportedly said the refurbishing is expected to start sometime this summer.