East Liberty is a culturally diverse neighborhood where a remarkable transformation is unfolding. In it's golden era in the 1940s and '50s, East liberty exemplified a vibrant commercial center with a tight-knit residential community. Pittsburgh's "second downtown" declined rapidly in the '60s due to poor city planning which ultimately brought urban blight and crime upon the community. Through the highs and lows, the neighborhood is currently experiencing an expansive renaissance. Through a monumental development effort, new restaurants are popping up, hotels are experiencing regular visitors, and East Liberty is regaining its place once again as a thriving place for businesses, residential living and shopping. So much so that Lonely Planet named it number on it's list of Hot 'Hoods in the US. Entrepreneurs and startups continue to flock to East Liberty and Google has expanded their offices in Bakery Square just around the corner. Through the revitalization, many historic buildings have been rehabbed, starting with the Highland Building.
Standing since 1910, the Highland Building was built by legendary architect, Daniel Hudson Burnham, who also designed a few other famous Pittsburgh buildings including Union Station (now The Pennsylvanian), the Frick Building, and the Henry W. Oliver Building. The Highland Building initially welcomed physicians, dentists, two dressmakers, a manicurist, and a fifth-floor barber shop as it's first tenants. The rapid decline in the '60s caused the building to become vacant. It sat empty until Walnut Capital restored and reopened the building to it's first tenants in 2013. The expansion continued in 2016 with the addition of The Penn at Walnut on Highland, accompanied by first floor retail and restaurants. Read "The Steel City Spectacle" from Pittsburgh Quarterly for more information on the historic Highland building.