PITTSBURGH, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- One of Pittsburgh's most architecturally significant corridors will take on a new glow New Year's Eve as Duquesne Light and the Downtown Living Initiative premier the facade lighting of 17 buildings as part of this year's First Night activities. The streetscape project -- called "Illuminating Penn" -- will use exterior lighting fixtures to highlight buildings in the 800 and 900 blocks of Penn Avenue. The lighting will emphasize the street's distinctive landscape and importance as a connective route between the David Lawrence Convention Center and the Cultural District. The premier begins with remarks from Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy at 7 p.m. in front of 940 Penn Avenue. J. Kevin McMahon, president and chief executive officer of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which hosts the First Night celebration, and Morgan K. O'Brien, president and chief executive officer of Duquesne Light, will join him to inaugurate the facade lighting program. Their remarks will be followed by a spectacular laser-light show, which will course up and down the two-block area of Penn Avenue. "This is just one in a series of public lighting projects Duquesne Light has initiated to help foster a strong, safe and vibrant downtown," said O'Brien. "We believe that a healthy downtown is critical to the overall economic well-being of the region, and we are proud to be a part of such a unique project." "The truly unique aspect of this project is the cooperative effort among many parties who came together to make this possible," said O'Brien. "The power of this unique partnership enabled the project to be developed and fully executed in less than 12 months." Earlier this year, the Downtown Living Initiative commissioned Hilbish McGee Lighting Design to create a master lighting plan for the entire downtown corridor. Hilbish McGee also helped develop the architectural lighting plan for the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which Duquesne Light illuminated in November 2002. Other partners in the facade lighting project include the Cultural Trust and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. "The lighting projects spearheaded by Duquesne Light are natural extensions of our world-class Cultural District," said McMahon. "These initiatives highlight Pittsburgh's rich architectural landscape that we work hard to preserve and showcase, helping to make Pittsburgh a major urban arts and tourism destination." The project went through a rigorous review process with the Penn-Liberty local review commission and the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission. The lighting design calls for a subtle grazing of the facades with minimal wattage white light to capture the architectural detail of the buildings. To maintain the architectural integrity of the buildings and minimize stray light, the cylindrical lighting fixtures were chosen for their discreet appearance, optical control and endurance. The property managers of the 17 participating buildings along Penn Avenue were responsible for funding the purchase of the light fixtures and completing any necessary internal wiring. Duquesne Light crews installed the exterior lighting fixtures. According to Patty Burk, program director, Downtown Living Initiative, the Penn Avenue corridor, which will soon boast more than 400 apartments and six new restaurants, is ripe for such a project. "The new lighting will give the street a more comfortable, neighborhood feel," said Burk. "Given the dramatic increase of interest in living downtown, the timing of Duquesne Light's efforts is perfect. The new lighting will provide a safer night-time environment for residents, visitors and conventioneers." Properties in the project include Rugby Realty, RIDC, LLI Technologies, the Reese Brothers, the Marriott Courtyard, Halpern Buildings, and D.E.S. Commercial Real Estate. The lighting on the buildings will run nightly throughout the year from dusk to 1 a.m. About Duquesne Light Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Duquesne Light (NYSE: DQE) is a leader in the transmission and distribution of electric energy, offering superior customer service and reliability to more than half a million direct customers in southwestern Pennsylvania. About the Downtown Living Initiative The Downtown Living Initiative was created by The Working Group on Downtown Housing, which encourages housing development in Downtown. (The Working Group is a team of representatives from The Heinz Endowments, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the McCune Foundation, the Mayor's Office, Pittsburgh City Planning, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Parking Authority, the Port Authority, the Strategic Investment Fund, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Urban Design Associates and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.) (412) 325-0163 About First Night Pittsburgh First Night Pittsburgh is a project of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, planned and produced with the assistance of Three Rivers Arts Festival. The largest New Year's Eve celebration in Pittsburgh, First Night showcases the talented artists and performers in the region.
SOURCE Duquesne Light