The Market at Fifth project is a renovation of three historically significant 1904 structures in the section of downtown Pittsburgh known as the Fifth & Forbes corridor. Once slated for demolition, the derelict buildings were purchased by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), who developed a business plan for their beneficial reuse. The project has become a local success story and testimonial to the value of converting abandoned property into appealing, environmentally conscious and economically beneficial space. Furthermore, this project was instrumental in launching a focused revitalization effort in an around nearby Market Square.
evolveEA led the greening and LEED efforts for the owner, design and construction team in documenting deconstruction, demolition, energy simulation, materials selection, green roofs, funding research and eventual documentation.
Preserving a Historical Landmark
Market at Fifth is one of a small number of development projects in the country to reach this level of LEED certification while keeping the architectural integrity of the historic structures. The project is within an eligible National Register Historic District and has received approval from the National Park Service for compliance with the US Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and as such, is eligible for federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
The historic rehabilitation of the three Fifth and Market Buildings built in 1904 also addressed the problem of reusing historic buildings with small floor plates and multiple floor levels, reconstruction of structurally unstable floors and facades, and restoration of historic storefronts with exceptional design characteristics by Alden & Harlow.
The buildings have been renovated into mixed-use retail and residential, further helping to revitalize Pittsburgh’s downtown core with additional live/work/shop environments. The three buildings have been merged into one, while maintaining the appearance and historic details of each building. The first floor features two to three retail tenants and the upper floors have been fit out with seven rental apartments, two of which are two-story and have access to the building’s green roof.
Notable Green Features
The project features numerous green features, many intrinsic to the project and location, but also several strategies consciously incorporated to enhance quality and improve performance. Prominent beneficial environmental qualities include:
Location, Location, Location
By actively pursuing redevelopment in Pittsburgh’s downtown, the project supports and takes advantage of the second largest business center in Pennsylvania, with 140,000 daily workers. Downtown also serves as the hub for the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s transit system, with over 100 different bus lines, three light rail routes, and easy access to three bus rapid transit busways, all of which fan out to serve 240,000 riders daily throughout the county. The building is also a quick walk from numerous public plazas, riverfront parks and trails, countless restaurants, the city’s theater district, and local shops.
The mechanical systems installed are of exceptional efficiency compared to conventional residential systems. In particular, the apartments have constant fresh air provided to make up the bathroom exhaust air. The exhaust air is passed through a heat recovery ventilator to precondition the incoming fresh air. The split systems themselves have an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 15, and provide MERV-10 UV filtration. Furthermore, the building shell was retrofitted with R-15 insulation over the masonry, and the domestic water fixtures are all low-flow. The building is simulated to perform over 35% more efficiently than a conventional building.
Recycled & Green Roof
The roof of the Heinz Healey’s Fine Mens Clothing building is covered with Majestic Slate, composed of up to 80% recycled post-industrial rubber and plastic. TPO membrane was installed on the roof of the residential units, which increases light- and heat-reflectivity, energy efficiency, and resistance to ultraviolet, ozone and chemical exposure. The section of roof over the residential units consists of a 1,000 sf maintenance-free green roof that provides a cooling effect in the summer, and enhances the beauty of the private roof-decks of the penthouse apartments.
Desirable Living Environments
Each of the apartments has numerous windows that provide both natural light and ventilation, but also offer vistas of the cities skylines. The upper-level apartments have private patios that allow residents to bask in the energy of the city while looking out over the building’s 1400 sf vegetated roof.