The boarded-up building that sits rotting next to the Monongahela Incline has been an eyesore on Mount Washington for the last three decades, marring the view and attracting seedy late-night activity.
Now a Chicago developer is proposing to dramatically transform the spot with an $80 million plan for a luxury hotel, condominiums, a fitness and spa facility, and a pair of restaurants overlooking the Pittsburgh skyline.
One Grandview Avenue, at the corner of Wyoming Street, would replace The Edge, a restaurant that closed in 1979. The prime location has failed to attract successful development since then, with the most notable disappointment a proposed Ritz-Carlton in the 1990s that never materialized after encountering community disapproval and financial trouble.
Before developer Steven Beemsterboer and his associates can move forward, they need approval from city officials because the building, at 19 stories, would exceed the neighborhood height limit of 100 feet. In addition, the project would cut into the Grandview Scenic Byway Park, green space that encircles Mount Washington and Duquesne Heights.
One Grandview is full of promise and deserves support from the city Planning Commission, City Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, as long as no one loses sight of the significance of its position on the summit. Its scale is large, but the building cascades to fewer floors on its eastern side and would present a bookend to the scenic stretch of Grandview Avenue, with the Trimont condominium building at the western side of the ridge.
Although One Grandview Avenue would take a slice out of the scenic byway, the developers have answered this concern by proposing walkways and stairs that would provide access to the green space protected in 2006.
The only other question mark is Mr. Beemsterboer's $10,000 contribution to Mr. Ravenstahl's re-election campaign, a gift that should not influence decisions about the project.
One Grandview would reinvigorate a plot of prime real estate that has languished in disuse for far too long, and should it fail to win approval, it could be a long time before another worthy project comes along.