Bakery Square is described in PLAY, Pittsburgh’s Official See and Do Guide, as being “the city’s up-and-coming urban lifestyle and retail center.” However, the area now known as Bakery Square had much different beginnings. In 1918, Nabisco was built in East Liberty where it operated for 80 years. After Nabisco closed in 1998, the area was rented to two different baking companies until eventually in 2004 the building became vacant and was left vacant until Walnut Capital, who is now one of Pittsburgh’s largest and fastest growing real estate management, development and brokerage companies, purchased the property in 2007. Walnut Capital named the area Bakery Square because of its history.
The old Nabisco factory has been revamped and is now home to many high-tech companies. One of the most notable companies is Google, who moved into the building in 2009 and rents out two of the floors. Google is not your typical office space. The area is filled with unusual pieces such as a giant hammock, vintage pinball machines, a foosball and pool table, and a music room. The building is also home to UPMC’s Technology Development Center and the University of Pittsburgh’s Masters of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics Program and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Bakery Square is just as appealing and fun to walk around outdoors as it is to actually go inside the shops and restaurants. There’s plenty of fun and funky outdoor furniture to relax in, with pieces shaped like couches and brightly colored chairs and umbrellas. One of my favorite features were the little speakers scattered around the area to ensure wherever you walked you could enjoy music. Another cool feature is the Bakery Square Bike System. Unfortunately it is only available to Google employees and Carnegie Mellon students, but it is a great concept and yet another unique element in the area. Qualifying members can sign up for a bike on bikebksq.com, take the bike and keep it for up to 48 hours before returning it to the Google Station in Bakery Square or at CMU’s campus.
Bakery Square has a variety of unique options whether you are looking to do some shopping of to just spend an afternoon with friends. There are unique, hard to find clothing stores in the area such as Anthropology which opened in 2010 and Free People which opened in 2011. For dining options, there is a Jimmy John’s, Panera Bread, Coffee Tree Roasters, and Social. Other draws to the area are a Marriot Springhill Suites, an LA Fitness, and a Verizon Fios. Bakery Square has a surprising variety of attractions for its size, making it a great place to go and spend time exploring.
By Olivia Forish