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PSU, city seek restaurant for Block 22

Calling all restaurateurs: downtown Pittsburg wants you.

This rendering shows what Block 22 will look like once complete.

Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg are seeking restaurant industry professionals who want to be part of the exciting renaissance taking place in downtown Pittsburg.

The new restaurant would be a key component of Block 22, a unique, mix-use renovation project on the corner of 4th and Broadway that will feature apartment-style housing for PSU students, a makerspace business incubator designed for innovation, and various dining and retail offerings.

 “This is an incredibly exciting time for Pittsburg,” said Shawn Naccarato, PSU’s chief strategy officer. “The revitalization of the downtown district has re-energized our city, and the Block 22 project is the latest example of that growth. A fun, lively restaurant scene within Block 22 will truly transform the downtown Pittsburg experience.”

Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall said he loves the idea of having a new restaurant in Block 22.

“With Block 22, we have a tremendous opportunity to continue growing downtown and redefining what it means to be downtown,” Hall said. “With the PSU students living there, and the increased foot traffic that comes with a project like this, I think a restaurant on the corner would be a nice addition to the area. “

Naccarato said the Commerce Building – former site of Crowell’s Pharmacy – and the Baxter Building to the north combine for nearly 6,000 square feet for commercial development. He said the goal is to turn that space into “truly the beating heart of downtown Pittsburg.”

“The transformation of downtown Pittsburg is already under way,” he said. “Our entertainment scene is flourishing, as more festivals and shows are making their way downtown. We’re seeing more small businesses opening in downtown, particularly the boutique retail shops. We’re also seeing a significant increase in the number of people working downtown, and Block 22 will add even more jobs to downtown Pittsburg.”

Hall said several economic factors make this the prime time to expand the downtown dining scene. The latest Pittsburg Micropolitan Area Economic Report stated that during the work day, Pittsburg’s population doubles to nearly 40,000. And a recent study by the Kansas League of Cities shows that Pittsburg has a retail pull power equivalent to cities with a population of 50,000.

“Things are happening here,” Hall said. “There is energy and life throughout the community, and it’s particularly powerful downtown. In the past three years, more than $19 million has been invested in city infrastructure, sales tax collections are up 6.5 percent and traffic on Highway 69 into Pittsburg increases 25 percent every 10 years.

“There is something happening here, and we’re excited to see who wants to come be a part of it.”

Pitt State students say they’d love to see a new restaurant as part of Block 22, especially since many of them will be living there.

“Having a fun restaurant right inside Block 22 would be so amazing,” sophomore Andrea Batchelder said. “Imagine being able to come down from your room and have a nice meal with friends, then head back upstairs to chill or do homework. My friends and I love to hang out downtown, and having a sweet place to eat would be so cool. This is very exciting.”

Naccarato said Pittsburg State is eager for discussions with potential dining establishments. Those interested in opening a restaurant within Block 22 should call the PSU office of University Strategic Initiatives at 620-235-4938.

“We’re not just looking for a restaurant, we’re looking for a partner in this historic revitalization of downtown Pittsburg,” Naccarato said. “Your success is our success, and it’s the success of our entire community.”

For more information about Block 22, visit https://www.pittstate.edu/info/block22/index.dot.