It’s time to bid adieu to a rundown block of Wood Street. But not with a stick or two of dynamite.
Noralco Corp., the same contractor tearing down the Civic Arena, will begin work this week clearing a path for the construction of PNC Financial Services Group’s new 33-story skyscraper, the Tower at PNC Plaza.
“The beginning of this project puts Pittsburgh another step closer to reclaiming its heritage as an architectural innovator and leader,” said Gary Saulson, PNC’s director of corporate real estate.
But don’t expect any fireworks. Instead of using explosives, Noralco, just as with the arena, will deconstruct the nine buildings involved, right down to their basements by the time the work is finished in early April.
In using that demolition method, PNC hopes to be able to recycle much of the material that will be removed from the structures, said Fred Solomon, a PNC spokesman. “The deconstruction seeks to recover all the materials that are recoverable,” he said.
PNC used the same approach when it demolished buildings on Fifth Avenue to clear the site for construction of Three PNC Plaza and when it tore down the former Public Safety Building on Grant Street to make way for PNC Firstside Park near the bank’s Firstside Center.
In the Firstside project, PNC ended up recycling 98 percent of the building’s materials, including some that was crushed for use as fill in the park.
“That’s the standard now. We do it for every single project. We recycle as much as we can and deliver as little waste as possible to landfills,” Mr. Solomon said.
He said it was too early to tell whether any of the materials removed in the Wood Street deconstruction would be reused at the site itself.
However, PNC does have contractor Cost Construction removing the facades of the two buildings at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Wood Street for potential future use.
Once the deconstruction has been completed, crews will excavate the site, going deep enough to accommodate three levels of underground parking.
The new building, occupying the block of Wood between Forbes and Fifth, should start rising by the summer of 2013. The $400 million mostly glass skyscraper is expected to be ready for occupancy by June 1, 2015.