Pittsburgh Magazine profiles Riverlife President and CEO Vivien Li
From this month’s Pittsburgh Magazine:
In early January, Vivien Li was introduced to Frank Kass, founding partner and chairman of Continental Real Estate, at the Steelers-Dolphins playoff game. Li, who runs Riverlife, the nonprofit organization charged with restoring, enhancing and promoting Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, buttonholed the Columbus-based developer.
“You’re the lady who wants me to put public restrooms on the trail, right?” Kass asked her. His company already had built Stage AE, the Hyatt Place Hotel and a few other developments on the North Shore between the stadiums. It also has proposed a new office building along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. “Yes,” Li told him. “You’re right next to the Water Steps.”
Li made her case: Everyone, especially children, needed a place to use a restroom along the riverfronts. Public resources and land were limited, so it was incumbent on private developers to step up. By offering amenities along the trail, Li told him, they would attract more people, which would help nearby apartments and restaurants — including those in his buildings — which would help to attract even more people. It was a virtuous cycle.
Kass and Li talked about adding a public restroom in the new building for around 30 minutes. “OK,” Kass finally told her. “We’ll do it.”
Photo: Nate Schuckers for Pittsburgh Magazine