Pittsburgh’s Gold Rush

You can turn steel into gold. Don’t believe me? Watch what is happening around this city. New condos, new office buildings, new restaurants and — as soon as they can agree on traffic – a slots parlor. Pittsburgh is experiencing a building boom not seen in decades.

But as a I look at the new development, a conversation with a woman from out of town helped me realize something amazing — this boom is not coming from within.

Joanne is handling the PR for a new French fusion restaurant called “Palate” ( you will see more about this place in Thursday night’s “Check It Out” segment at 11pm ). During a break, Joanne told me she was from Naperville, Illinois – just outside of Chicago. Turns out that is where my parents now live. Joanne has been here for two years – and I asked her if she liked Pittsburgh. While she admits it’s not Chicago, in many ways it’s better than the Windy City.

Joanne compared Pittsburgh to the west in the 1800’s – uncharted territory which was filled with gold. While we can’t fish gold nuggets out of the Mon just yet, I did see her point. For instance, in Chicago, there are probably five or six French fusion restaurants – but none in Pittsburgh. Every new eatery is something new because it’s never been to Pittsburgh before.

The same is true of entertainment and housing. From Jerome Bettis‘ 36 Grille to the cool apartments at the Cork Factory, there are new and exciting venues — venues that Pittsburgh has never seen — and that ensures a rush of people will want to buy or take part in these new experiences.

The other thing that’s interesting — is that it’s no longer just Pittsburghers putting up these new developments. There is plenty of out-of-town money investing in downtown Pittsburgh. People from California, New York and beyond who see an untapped resources in our city where they can invest and spend a whole lot less to do business than they would in their home states.

Who would have thought Pittsburgh would be the modern-day version of the wild wild West?

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