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Colorful banners promoting the City of Pittsburgh's new Downtown Action Strategy to promote retail development in the Golden Triangle. The banners are located on Point Park University buildings along Forbes Avenue.
On Forbes Avenue, colorful banners adorn the facades of buildings owned by Point Park University as the future location of the University's new performing arts center. The banners promote a new retail initiative for Downtown Pittsburgh

Point Park University is taking a leading - and very visible - role in supporting an ambitious initiative to attract and retain retail businesses in Downtown Pittsburgh, including city blocks interwoven with the University's campus.

President Paul Hennigan took part in a news conference Nov. 14 at which Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl unveiled a three-year Downtown Action Strategy while standing before University-owned buildings on Forbes Avenue. The buildings, future site of Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse, now sport colorful banners promoting the city's new retail strategy and Point Park's support for the effort.

A panel of a colorful banner on the facade of a Point Park University building on Forbes Avenue. The banners promote the city of Pittsburgh's new Downtown retail initiative, which Point Park is supporting."A vibrant Downtown Pittsburgh is important to Point Park University's students, faculty and staff," Hennigan said at the news conference. "Our unique location in the city's center enriches the academic experience by connecting our students and graduates with internships, jobs, entertainment, arts and culture."

"As our investment in Downtown is realized through the Academic Village, we support and welcome the city's continued efforts to enhance the Downtown neighborhood," he explained.

Through the Academic Village Initiative, Point Park has created a multi-block living and learning hub that encompass 14 buildings along Wood Street and the Boulevard of the Allies. The Village Park, which opened a year ago, provides a vibrant outdoor gathering space for the campus community and surrounding Downtown neighborhood.

Through its growth and development, Point Park is creating one of the country's most dynamic urban campuses - and serving as an economic development catalyst for Downtown Pittsburgh.

Of the University's 3,900 students, nearly 1,000 live in five University residence halls, providing a Downtown resident population of students who shop in nearby stores, eat in nearby restaurants and utilize nearby services. The University also employs more than 1,500 faculty and staff, who regularly patronize businesses in the Golden Triangle.

Ravenstahl said the new Downtown Action Strategy aims to focus on three key areas to improve Downtown's retail environment: branding and marketing, retail attraction and retention, and urban design. Smithfield Street, Wood Street and Forbes Avenue have been identified as key corridors, giving Point Park and other nearby stakeholders a vital role in supporting the effort.

"By sitting down with Downtown's dedicated stakeholders, we have identified key strategies that will help our City's Golden Triangle continue to grow and thrive by attracting even more retailers and shoppers to enjoy all that Downtown has to offer," Ravenstahl said.