Pittsburgh's Ross Park Mall to See New Construction, New Anchor

Nordstrom plans 144,000-s.f. presence at mall; new construction planned

More than a few people were pleased to hear that Nordstrom finally had landed in the area.

Elected officials have been pursuing the retailer for years, partly to serve in the role of catalyst for change in spots such as Downtown and partly to serve as a sign that Pittsburgh matters in the better retail circles.

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato proclaimed yesterday that the new store will be an asset to all of southwestern Pennsylvania because of its ability to attract shoppers from throughout the region.

Rosemarie Mascari, who described herself as an Estee Lauder saleswoman at the nearby Kaufmann's store, said she was so thrilled when she heard the news reports yesterday morning that she had to come in early to attend the press conference.

Ms. Mascari said she had worked at Kaufmann's since the mall opened in 1986. Now a Federated employee, she said Nordstrom combined with a remodeling of the Kaufmann's/Macy's site will boost everyone's sales. "People will come from all over to come to this mall."

Staff at the Laurie's Hallmark store on the second floor across from the planned Nordstrom site were cautiously optimistic about the announcement, although they thought three years seemed a long time to wait.

Swarovski Crystal store manager Donna Jean Nicholson is willing to wait. She believes the chain will bring more of the luxury-oriented customers that her store draws. The crystal store, which opened in late 2003, is the only one in the region's traditional malls, although there is a Swarovski store at Pittsburgh International Airport's Airmall.

Nordstrom didn't have a representative at yesterday's press conference. That might have been a good thing.

Officials from the Emerald City didn't have to hear Simon spokesman Les Morris bring up Super Bowl XL. "For the second consecutive month," he said, "Seattle is going to make Pittsburgh very, very happy."

<<Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (KRT) -- 03/27/06>>