December 6, 2015 — Renovations will begin Monday, December 7, on 5900 Penn Avenue in East Liberty. The building will be home to approximately 24,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, and office space on the second floor. Alphabet City Development anticipates the building will be available for occupancy by spring 2016, with ongoing renovations occurring through the summer of 2016.
5900 Penn Avenue was home to the venerable Hahn Furniture store, a fixture in the East Liberty commercial district for decades. More recently, it hosted Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services, now headquartered in Station Square.
In 2004, the building became the canvas for “Lend Me Your Ears,” The Sprout Fund’s largest-ever community mural. Painted by local artist Jordan Monahan in collaboration with others, the mural covered 8,500 square feet, on two sides of the building. The addition of new windows throughout the second story and other façade improvements make it impossible to maintain the mural in its current form, but the developers have digitally preserved it through high-resolution GigaPan photography. Both the imagery and history of the mural will be available at http://www.SproutFund.org/LendMeYourEars, and a celebration of the mural and the artists will be located at 5900 Penn Avenue following construction.
Alphabet City Development is collaborating with the community to commission new building art for 5900 as well as additional public art works in the East Liberty business district. Partners include the Baum-Centre Initiative, East Liberty Development, Inc., the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, the Office of Public Art, and The Sprout Fund. Further details on the new commission will be announced in 2016.
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