A three-storefront building from 1835-1840 will be considered for city historic status at next week’s Historic Review Commission hearing.
The Lawrenceville Stakeholders have nominated 4025-4029 Butler St., in reaction to plans by its current owner, John Pergal, to expand the adjacent Thunderbird Cafe and demolish part of the historic building.
Walkabout couldn’t reach Mr. Pergal in time for this post but will update if we do.
The hearing is is at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Robin Building at 200 Ross St. Downtown
Ms. Peterson described the describing the building at issue as “a two story brick commercial structure with modest Greek Revival influence.”
John Naser, a native of Germany who became influential and wealthy, operated it as a tavern by the 1850s and his son operated it into the early 20th century. It is currently home to a flower shop, a yoga studio and a hat store.
The photo at right was taken in 1909.
Mr. Pergal has proposed a new restaurant and an expansion of the T-bird from 5,754 to 9,100 square feet. His plans call for demolishing one adjacent building and adding two- and three-story additions to two others that would include four upstairs apartments.
At a public hearing before the zoning board in April, a small group of residents urged the board to deny special exceptions and variances for a second restaurant and off-site parking. They also lamented a larger presence for the club.
In the nomination report, house historian Carol Peterson writes that the building has merit by the historical activity it generated as an early Lawrenceville business, “significant to the development of Lawrenceville,” and for its architectural style “distinguished by innovation, rarity, uniqueness or overall quality of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship.”
She cites its “unique location and distinctive physical appearance” and that “it retains integrity of [original] location.”
Top photo by Keith Cochran
Historic photo from the Historic Pittsburgh Archives