Union Trust Building (Pittsburgh)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the building in Cleveland, Ohio formerly known as the Union Trust Building, see Huntington Bank Building. For the building in Seattle, see Union Trust Building (Seattle).
Union Trust Building
Union Trust Building Pittsburgh.jpg
Exterior of the Union Trust Building on Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh
General information
Type Offices
Location 501 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°26′24″N 79°59′49″W / 40.440°N 79.997°W / 40.440; -79.997Coordinates: 40°26′24″N 79°59′49″W / 40.440°N 79.997°W / 40.440; -79.997
Completed 1916
Opening 1917
Cost $1,497,000
Owner DIV 501 Grant Limited Partnership, an affiliate of The Davis Companies
Height
Roof 237 ft (72 m)
Technical details
Floor count 15
Floor area 550,000 sq ft (51,097 m2)
Lifts/elevators 10
Design and construction
Architect Frederick J. Osterling
Developer Henry Clay Frick
Main contractor George A. Fuller Company

The Union Trust Building (501 Grant St., downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), was erected in 1915-16 by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick. The Flemish-Gothic structure's original purpose was to serve as a shopping arcade.

History[edit]

Known as the Union Arcade, it featured 240 shops and galleries. The mansard roof is adorned with terra cotta dormers and two chapel like mechanical towers. The interior is arranged about a central rotunda, capped by a stained glass dome. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The roof of the Union Trust Building

Designed by Frederick J. Osterling, the building was constructed on the site of Pittsburgh's nineteenth century St. Paul's Catholic Cathedral.[1][2] It is not known to have been modeled after any particular building, but Brussels Town Hall, Leuven Town Hall (both Brabantine Gothic) and the then-new Woolworth Building have been suggested as influences.[3]

The Union Trust Company purchased the structure in 1923, renaming it from the Union Arcade to the Union Trust Building, as well as remodeling the first four floors.

Many people believe that the building's unique roof is the result of a restrictive covenant placed on the land by its previous owner, the Diocese of Pittsburgh. One story is that the bishop at the time (Rev. Richard Phelan) placed a restrictive covenant on the land when Frick purchased it so that, although it would now have commercial purposes, residents would always remember the cathedral that once stood there. Another story suggests that there is a requirement that a place of worship must be maintained perpetually on the site, and thus there is supposedly a chapel in one of the towers to comply. This is all urban legend - there was no restrictive covenant or other restriction in the original 1901 deed transferring ownership from religious to secular use.[3]

On May 31, 1984 San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Maulers owner Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. purchased the building.

In 2008, it was purchased by California investors Michael Kamen and Gerson Fox; by August 2012 the building was the subject of bankruptcy proceedings to avoid a sheriff's sale.[4] In 2014 the property was sold at a foreclosure auction to its current owner, an affiliate of Boston-based The Davis Companies. The Davis Companies' affiliate outbid lender SA Challenger.[5]

Popular Culture[edit]

The building is featured in the 2010 rap video Black and Yellow and is seen in the movie She's Out of My League.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.brooklineconnection.com/history/Facts/UnionTrust.html
  2. ^ http://digital.library.pitt.edu/images/pittsburgh/unionarcade.html
  3. ^ a b Van Trump, James D. (1966), Legend in Modern Gothic: The Union Trust Building, Pittsburgh, The Stones of Pittsburgh (3), Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation 
  4. ^ Belko, Mark (August 17, 2012). "Two Downtown Pittsburgh buildings face shaky fiscal future". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ Belko, Mark (March 3, 2014). "Boston company buys Union Trust Building in Downtown Pittsburgh at sheriff's sale". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Union Trust Building (Pittsburgh) at Wikimedia Commons