ShareThis Page

Pittsburgh moving to sell properties to promote development

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 6:51 p.m.

Pittsburgh is poised to sell parking lots and vacant buildings in the Strip District, Hazelwood, Downtown and Uptown to developers and will use the proceeds to repair aging facilities, including police and fire stations, an official said Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council introduced legislation permitting the sale of eight properties to the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority for $1 apiece.

The legislation requires 80 percent of each sale the URA makes to be deposited into a facilities maintenance fund to pay for improvements. The URA would retain 20 percent to cover expenses, said Kevin Acklin, URA chairman and Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff.

“Some might ask why wouldn't the city just sell these properties themselves,” he said. “We don't really have the expertise here to work on development like the URA does. This is what the URA is built to do.”

He said the properties would revert to tax rolls under private ownership and generate yearly tax revenue in addition to initial cash from sales.

The URA, he said, has influence over what type of project happens on a property.

The eight properties include the city's former vehicle tow pound, a vehicle repair garage, a vacant building and a parking lot previously occupied by the Office of Municipal Investigations and a former training building for Emergency Medical Services, all in the Strip District.

“The best use of that land isn't as a vacant tow pound that is no longer used,” Peduto said. “I think a lot of different prospective developers would see it as an opportunity for either commercial, residential or office.”

Pittsburgh officials hope to sell fleet vehicle lots Downtown and Uptown and Department of Public Works offices in Uptown.

A former Carnegie Library in Hazelwood, which the city has designated as a historic landmark, is also up for sale.

Acklin said the building would be preserved and its sale to the URA would permit the authority to help Hazelwood residents find the best use for the building.

He said the city would seek an alternative location for the repair shop and other spaces to park city vehicles.

The URA, which is expected to approve acquiring the properties during a public meeting Thursday, would advertise for proposals from developers. Acklin said requests for proposals would likely go out within six months.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.