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PNC plans major renovation work on former Lord & Taylor building |
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PNC plans major renovation work on former Lord & Taylor building

The Lord & Taylor/Mellon Building is on Smithfield Street, Downtownm, Wednesday, September 21st, 2011. (Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review) KJH dtown0922 3.jpg Kim Leonard story

PNC Bank paid $3.85 million for the former Lord & Taylor building, Downtown, and is planning to give the 88-year-old structure environmental updates for 800 employees who will move there.

Interior and exterior renovations will begin this month and will include restoring the exterior to its original condition and using modern materials inside, said PNC spokesman Fred Solomon.

“Our goal is to quality for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for new construction,” Solomon said.

PNC said last month it would purchase the long-vacant building from J.J. Gumberg Co., but did not disclose a price at that time. The $3.85 million transaction was recorded Monday in a filing in Allegheny County. Gumberg paid $2.5 million for the structure in February, 2005, according to a filing.

Exterior changes will include the removal of posts that Lord & Taylor, installed along the exterior, Solomon said yesterday. “Our plan is to preserve the exterior architectural integrity of the building, and we are considering restoring it to its original condition.” he said.

Inside modifications will include installing high-efficiency lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, recycling the carpeting and using new paints and wallcovers to eliminate volatile organic compounds. Sales counters, dressing rooms and the tailor shop will be removed, Solomon said. Drywall covering two-story windows will removed. Along with these improvements, PNC plans to keep the escalators and newer elevators, installed by May Department Stores, owner of Lord & Taylor.

Items that are discarded will be donated to Construction Junction in Pittsburgh, he said.

The building opened in 1924 as the headquarters of the legendary Mellon National Bank, and served as an iconic banking structure until it was acquired by May Department Stores in June 1999 for $9.25 million from Mellon. The department store occupied the building from 2000 to 2004, when it closed.

As a bank, the building basically had two floors. A main floor housed the banking operation with teller windows at front and back, client tables in the center and elevators at both ends of the building in the rear. On what was the equivalent of the fourth floor were executive offices along the sides of the building. From the offices, the banking floor could be seen below along with rows of massive marble columns that provided support.

To serve as a Lord & Tayor department store, it was remodeled with the six floors now in the building. All but four columns were removed, with those serving as the foreground of the escalator system.

PNC is now working on its plan to determine where employees to be brought into the building will come from, starting either late 2013 or early 2014, Solomon said.

PNC continues to build what it considers a campus of buildings Downtown. In addition to its FirstSide Center, there’s also the 23-story Three PNC Plaza, the 34-story Two PNC Plaza, its original headquarters building at One PNC Plaza, and the future 33-story Tower at PNC Plaza, expected to open in 2015. It also owns a small storeroom at 600 Liberty Ave., which will become an exhibition space, and leases space in PNC Center, at Stanwix and Fort Pitt Boulevard.

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