Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Downtown Pittsburgh shopping – the good, the bad and future

Photo by Cassandra Harris
Shoppers enter the new Burlington on opening day, one of several newer stores Downtown in recent years.

On July 17, 2022, Target opened a store in Downtown Pittsburgh. It was the first major chain department store since Macy’s closed in 2015. Since then, two more stores have joined, Five Below and Burlington. Over the past two years, here’s how things are progressing. 

Located on the corner of Sixth and Smithfield Street, the Kaufmann’s building is a 13-story building that was built in 1887 by Charles Bickel as the flagship store for the Kaufmann company. 

Over the years, the building has had many changes, the biggest one being when Macy’s took over the company in 2005. They rebranded and renovated the whole store. 

Only 10 years later, Macy’s decided to close their Downtown Pittsburgh location. There was an uproar from the Downtown community. Macy’s was the only chain store in the area at the time. With Macy’s gone, Downtown became a dead zone for shopping.  

Amy Yule, a tenant at the Stanwix Street apartments, said, “I was outraged when Macy’s closed, I love to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, before the other stores moved in Downtown, you had to go outside of the city to go to a store.” 

That brought up another issue. Before Target, there were no supermarkets in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh. 

If someone wanted to buy produce or non-prepackaged food, they had to travel outside of Downtown to a supermarket for necessities.  

With Point Park University a few blocks away, Target’s location has helped students immensely.  

Maddy Griffen, a freshman psychology major, said, “It’s a lifesaver to have a store that sells fresh produce and everyday necessities so close to campus. I probably make two trips a week to this store.”  

Since the stores have opened, they have helped the locals and students. However, they have also driven surrounding stores out of business. The 7-Eleven, only one block from the stores, had to close because it was not getting the business that it was used to, according to a downtown life blog. When someone goes into Target, the shoppers will notice security at the door, cameras in aisles and all the electronics and more expensive goods locked up in glass or plastic containers that must be removed by employees. 

These are extra precautions that the stores are taking to limit the amount of goods stolen from the locations.  

According to the Target store director, Jeremy Petit, “As a company, we are taking extra precautions on our Downtown location for fear of theft. We are not trying to profile, but it is just a precaution.” 

The Target and Five Below only occupy the first floor of the building, with the Burlington on the whole second floor. The other 11 remaining floors are all apartments owned by Kaufmann’s Grand. The apartments opened in 2022. New features are often being added to the building. 

The historic Kaufmann’s building is bringing life back to Downtown with its new stores and renovations and will continue to grow and evolve for many more years to come. 

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