City Works Plans to Open at 2 PPG Place

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports: A new restaurant featuring more than 120 beers on tap is part of a massive overhaul just starting at 2 PPG Place, Downtown, a transition that marks the end for the once-bustling food court and some retailers.

City Works, as the restaurant is to be called, will be operated by Chicago-based Bottleneck Management Restaurant Group and will occupy 10,000 square feet of space in the lobby of 2 PPG.

The restaurant will be the second major addition to the building, which sits on the south edge of Market Square.

Highwoods Properties, the owner of the six-building PPG Place complex in the center of Downtown, is making the changes in order to upgrade the offerings at 2 PPG, given its prime location bordering the square.

“Since acquiring this iconic asset four years ago, the conversion of 2 PPG Place into a retail amenity that adds to the vibrancy of Market Square and provides first class amenities to our office customers has been a priority,” said Andy Wisniewski, Highwoods vice president in Pittsburgh.

Chris Bisaillon, Bottleneck Management CEO, said City Works will be built around a “tremendous draft beer component, inspired food and an upbeat, vibrant atmosphere.”

The restaurant, he said, will feature a draft system with local and global craft beers and an “unparalleled audio visual system.” The menu will be made up of American classics “with unique twists.”

“We think the vibrant dining scene of City Works will be a great addition to the city of Pittsburgh and are looking forward to sharing our love of Midwestern hospitality with this new market,” Mr. Bisaillon said in a statement.

According to its website, Bottleneck operates a number of restaurants in the United States, including five in Chicago, one in Oak Brook, Ill. and one in Gaithersburg, Md., all featuring similar formats and menus. It hopes to open the PPG restaurant next spring.

“The owners of City Works are best-of-class operators, and we are very excited about adding this amenity to our property,” Mr. Wisniewski said.

He added he sees City Works complementing the soon-to-open Poros, Five Guys Burgers and Fries in 3 PPG Place, and the upscale Ruth’s Chris Steak House in 6 PPG.

“We were looking for something that complements what we have and not something that would be in competition,” he said.

To make way for City Works, one 2 PPG retailer, Serendipity, already has vacated its space and moved to Tanger Outlets in Washington County. Vitamin retailer GNC will close Sept. 30. Crazy Mocha coffee shop in 2 PPG will shut down but maintain a presence in the Wintergarden in 1 PPG.

Highwoods also will be removing the bank of escalators in the center of the 2 PPG lobby and covering over about two thirds of the atrium to create more floor space for City Works. The rest of the lobby, as well as the entrance to 2 PPG, will be upgraded.

With the renovations, the last two eateries in the once bustling 2 PPG food court — Little China and Sbarro — have closed, as Highwoods mulls the future of the lower level space.

One possibility remains a grocery. Mr. Wisniewski has been in discussions with the East End Food Co-op, a North Point Breeze natural and organic food market, about opening an outlet in that space.

Highwoods also is spending $2 million to upgrade the PPG Plaza water feature and the ice rink, which will be expanded by almost 30 percent to 12,000 square feet in time for its opening this fall.

The water feature, which has been closed all summer, is in the final stages of testing. If all goes well, it could open for a short time before work on the rink starts or it may remain closed until next spring.