I measure real estate trends by dogs. Let me explain.
Quite a few years ago my son became the owner of an adorable German Shepherd puppy. And then he became an airline pilot and I began to co-parent a handsome 100 lb German Shepherd dog … from my downtown Pittsburgh apartment.
I’d take Atlas out for his evening walks. He loved to walk the streets sniffing people and making friends. Favorite routes emerged like the river walk. Or the fountain where he would try to catch water, endlessly amusing to Atlas. And favorite poop spots emerged. We developed a routine.
But over time I had to adjust our walks to avoid, dare I say it … other dogs! I had to consider the time I would take him out and the routes I would take. 8 am is rush hour in the doggie downtown world as is 5:30 pm. All of downtown’s dogs descended on Atlas’ favorite poop spots at once, making him very angry.
While Atlas loves people, he is not so fond of dogs.
Last week I participated in a panel on the state of real estate in Pittsburgh. Woe is me, the panelists and audience members said. Office activity has disappeared downtown, they moaned. It’s true. One can’t deny it. They’re afraid that downtown offices will empty and everyone will leave and that will be the end of that!
But the dogs tell me that there’s a quiet crescendo of residents replacing workers. We’ve all read that plans are afoot to convert multiple buildings from their office persona of the last 50 years (or longer) to places for people and dogs to live. You might not see as much life on the streets of downtown during the day post-pandemic, but you definitely will after 5 pm.
It’s a dog’s life in downtown Pittsburgh.