H&LA Development Update: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

H&LA’s recent research for a project in Pittsburgh revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have a major impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in the Pittsburgh area.

  • In December 2018, Rivers Casino Pittsburgh became one of the first sites in the state to offer wagering on sporting events. Open daily, Rivers Sportsbook now offers multiple ways to bet on football, hockey, boxing, and basketball. Sports betting is expected to attract new visitors to the Pittsburgh casino. In January 2019, the casino opened the new $3.5 million Event Center at Rivers Casino. This 25,000-square-foot venue can now accommodate up to 800 guests for seated banquets and as many as 2,000 for conferences, trade shows, and concerts.  
  • The ownership of Mount Airy Casino in the Poconos is currently seeking to open a smaller-scale casino in Big Beaver, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Initial proposals have focused on a facility with 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and sports betting. If this project is allowed to move forward, it will create about 500 new jobs.  
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins organization is moving forward with plans to redevelop the former Civic Arena site, just north of the team’s current downtown arena. As envisioned, this massive, multi-phase project will eventually create 1,420 apartment units, 810,000 square feet of office space, 190,000 square feet of entertainment uses, and a hotel. Entertainment components are set to include a 50,000-square-foot music venue and a 10,000-square-foot food hall showcasing local chefs and restaurants. In all, this project will produce more than $750 million in private investment. Construction is expected to begin sometime this year.  
  • A $700 million mixed-use development called Esplanade has been proposed for a site along the Ohio River on Pittsburgh’s North Side. This large, multi-faceted project is set to include apartments, house boats, boat slips, an aquarium, a giant Ferris wheel, a hotel, and a manmade lagoon. Assuming this project moves forward as expected, Esplanade could be completed by 2023.  
  • A new entertainment venue called Shorty’s Pins x Pints is scheduled to open on Pittsburgh’s North Shore by the end of 2019, at the site of the former Tilted Kilt restaurant. In addition to craft beer and street food, this new venue will feature duckpin bowling, pinball, shuffleboard, and other classic games.  
  • Plans were recently announced for a new three-story retail and entertainment complex at Ross Park Mall, north of downtown Pittsburgh. Located on the site of the former Sears store, this new area will include dozens of new retail storefronts, a movie theater, and a 50-foot climbing wall operated by First Ascent Climbing & Fitness. According to the mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, this project is now in the early planning stages and no official timeline has been determined.  
  • Texas-based Cinergy Entertainment Group has announced plans to build a 90,000-square foot entertainment complex in South Fayette, Pennsylvania, southwest of Pittsburgh. Highlights of this $10 million project will include an eight-screen movie theater, fourteen boutique bowling lanes, an arcade, immersive 3-D games and attractions, and a full-service bar and restaurant.  
  • The latest major addition at Kennywood amusement park, the Steel Curtain, is now under construction and scheduled to open in summer 2019Named after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ legendary defensive line of the 1970s, this 220-foot-tall coaster will feature nine inversions and will reach a maximum speed of 76 miles per hour. The Steel Curtain will sit alongside a new three-acre football themed area called Steelers Country, featuring the Terrible Tower climbing attraction and the End Zone Café.  
  • A new Topgolf entertainment complex opened in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, in July 2018. This new attraction features multi-tiered competition hitting bays, plus a full-service restaurant and bar. Located near Interstate 79 southwest of Pittsburgh, this facility now employs more than 500 full- and part-time workers. Management expects it to see roughly 450,000 visitors in its first full year of operation.