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Developers for Pittsburgh's Saks property identified by URA

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 6:12 p.m.

Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority is expected to vote on Thursday to start negotiations with a pair of developers who would transform the former Saks Fifth Avenue store, Downtown, into a parking garage with retail and residential space, an official said.

The development partners are Downtown-based McKnight Realty Partners and Millcraft Investments in Washington County, said Robert Rubinstein, URA's acting executive director.

Pittsburgh Parking Authority also would be involved in the talks, which could last up to 150 days if a 60-day extension is approved, Rubinstein said. If successful, construction could begin 12 to 18 months after talks end, he said.

“This agreement gives us all the flexibility to try to put what are some great conceptual ideas and flesh them out in terms of costs, structure of ownership and rules of ownership,” Rubinstein said.

Officials have discussed building a 400- to 600-space parking garage at the site, with retail space at ground level. Rubinstein said the proposed development also includes a 101-unit residential development above the retail and parking space.

It's unknown how many levels of parking would be located below ground and how many would be above.

Rubinstein said URA board member Bill Rudolph will not participate in the board's discussion of the proposed project or vote on it, because he is a principal in McKnight Realty Partners.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847. or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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