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Release Date: Sunday, November 23rd 2008

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Pittsburgh's renaissance holds lesson for Cleveland

Posted by Scott Stephens/Plain Dealer Reporter

November 23, 2008 06:30AM

Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, left, and developer Jack Benoff admire the downtown landscape from the balcony of a penthouse in one of Benoff's 941 Penn Ave. condominiums. "The city is just great to work with," Benoff said.

PITTSBURGH -- The city that once defined rust belt decay might show the rest of the nation how to weather a recession.

When steel and heavy manufacturing vanished a quarter-century ago, Pittsburgh lost 200,000 jobs in three years. Hulks of deserted mills, their furnaces dead-cold, glowered from the banks of the city''s three rivers like the eerie stone faces on Easter Island. Young people fled, turning the town''s fabled black-and-gold color scheme to gray.

Fast-forward 25 years. As most of the nation reels in debt and despair, Pittsburgh is on the move: A new $200 million downtown office tower, upscale condos, a casino, a new hockey arena and a riverfront convention center.

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