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Skinny Building

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Skinny Building


Structure in General

low-rise building
existing [completed]




  • The building's interior is five feet, two inches wide and the exterior is five feet, ten inches wide.
  • The property, once 36 feet wide, lost 30 feet in 1903 when the City of Pittsburgh widened Diamond Way, today's Forbes Avenue.
  • In 1907, banking magnate Andrew Mellon bought the parcel of land hoping that the City would later widen the sidewalks giving him a profit on his investment.
  • Mellon sold the property in 1918 to Louis Hendel who built the three story building.
  • The ground floor was once a luncheon counter/diner in the 1950s, and even a cookie stand.
  • In 1998, Mayor Tom Murphy threatened to seize the property using eminent domain while developing the Pittsburgh Downtown Plan (PDP) in the Fifth-Firbes Corridor. The building escaped the wrecking ball.
  • In 2003, a group headed by architect Al Kovacik began to contest the recognition that the Sam Kee Building enjoys as the world's skinniest building, saying the claim is wrong and seeks vindication.
  • The 24 windows of the upper two floors regularly display public art, illuminated at night, by local artists.
  • The back of the building stands against the Roberts Building at 429 Wood Street, which until January 1998 housed the prominent John M. Roberts & Son jewelers. The main floor is now a 7-Eleven store.

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More Information


243-249 Forbes Avenue
427 Wood Street
Forbes Avenue & Wood Street
Golden Triangle

Technical Data

39.79 ft
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