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PHILADELPHIA-Bessemer Court, the $25-million restaurant/entertainment centerpiece of the 52-acre, $71-million expansion of Downtown Pittsburgh’s Station Square, opens to fireworks and fanfare this week. Named after a Bessemer converter from one of the city’s old steel mills, which is located on the property, the court opens with 10 of the planned 30 restaurant and entertainment facilities that will line the area where Pittsburgh’s threerivers converge.

Among the July/August openings are an 8,100-sf Hard Rock Café, a 7,000-sf BarLouie, a 1,700-sf combination of Jersey Mike’s subs and Dave & Andy’s icecream, a 6,700-sf Joe’s Crab Shack, an 18,000-sf Mirage nightclub, a 7,500-sfRed Star Tavern, a 1,200-sf Starbucks, and the relocation of the Funny Bone/Green Room comedy club, originally located in The Shops at Station Square.

Station Square, including the shops, began in the 1970s as a mixed-use retail/entertainment project owned by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. In 1994, Cleveland, OH-based Forest City Enterprises began acquiring and managing the property with its eye toward expanding it. In 1998, Forest City completed its purchase of the entire project, including the Sheraton Station Square hotel located there.

Among the developer’s earliest additions to the property was a $25-million, 97,000-sf, nine-story addition to the hotel along with a $5-million renovation, completed in October 2001.

The 100-foot fountain, designed by Cape Coral, FL-based Waltzing Water, shoots sprays of water up to 60 feet high, forming the most dramatic addition to second-phase, Bessemer Court portion of the Station Square expansion.

During this phase, locally-based landscape architect Dina Klavon has relocated the original Rachel Carson Garden from the author’s Springdale, PA home at the court. Renovated Shops at Station Square; Crossing Court, a railroad themed food court, and Center Court, a children’s play area, opened in June.

A boat dock, marina and landing, along with an entertainment boardwalk, landscaped park, and completion of a 1.2-mile Riverwalk bike and pedestrian trail will also open next year.

Architect for the Station Square expansion is Cleveland, OH-based KA, Inc. The project has received approximately $3 million in public funding.

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