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6 Pittsburgh projects to get $16M in state assistance grants

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Six development projects in Pittsburgh are slated to receive a combined $16.75 million in state grants this year.

A plan to redevelop the 28-acre site of the Civic Arena in the Hill District will receive $5 million, the maximum amount available under rules instituted by Gov. Tom Corbett for the state's Regional Assistance Capital Program.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have proposed building a mix of offices, housing and entertainment venues on the site, which is now a parking lot.

Before that can happen, the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns the land, must install utility lines, roads, street lights and more.

The RACP money will go to the SEA, which had sought $15 million. It has estimated $40 million would be needed to prepare the site.

Corbett's administration is expected to announce details next week of nearly $124.75 million in funding awarded to 54 projects.

There were 175 projects seeking nearly $765 million in 2012. Corbett, a Republican, set a $125 million cap to reduce the state's borrowing to support the program.

Bakery Square 2.0, a $100 million office and housing development in East Liberty, will receive $4 million to defray the cost of buying and demolishing the former Reizenstein Middle School on the site.

Millcraft Investment Inc. of Cecil, the developer behind the $82 million Gardens at Market Square project, will receive $4 million to put toward an 18-story Downtown office, retail and hotel complex.

In addition, the Heinz History Center in the Strip District is due to receive $2 million to convert a building on Penn Avenue near the museum into an artifact preservation and archive conservation center.

Another $1 million will go to Elmhurst Co., a development firm working on a seven-story, high-end office building in Oakland, and $750,000 will go to the city Urban Redevelopment Authority to help renovate a training facility in Duquesne Heights used by the Steamfitters Local 449 labor union.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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