The Centre District is the official name of the Penguins’ planned $750 million development of Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District, but not everyone was thrilled with the new moniker, a team official said Thursday.
Kevin Acklin, the Penguins’ senior vice president and general counsel, said he heard some griping when the name was announced during a community meeting Wednesday night, but he thinks residents he spoke with understood the concept upon further explanation.
The 28-acre property has been known for years as the former Civic Arena site, and Acklin said officials wanted to come up with a name that better reflected a connection between Downtown and the Hill District.
“It will always be the Lower Hill, but the development, itself — Centre District — will help bring the Hill back together with Downtown,” Acklin said. “Centre Avenue-Hill District, we felt that connection was appropriate, but we’ll keep the conversation going with the community. We hope at the end they’ll understand.”
The Penguins, which obtained exclusive development rights to the property in 2007, are planning a mixed-use residential, retail and entertainment complex.
Pittsburgh-based Intergen Real Estate Group, which is handling the residential component, is expected to begin construction of 288 housing units this fall. Buccini/Pollin Group, the commercial developer, is expected to start on a mixed-use building, including space for offices and shops along Centre Avenue by winter.
The Penguins have an agreement with Punch Bowl Social, a restaurant featuring a variety of arcade games.
Future plans call for a 220-room hotel and a music venue with seating for up to 10,000 people. A food hall is planned for local vendors in a four-acre park with terraces through the middle of the site.
Acklin said the team is planning to host community meetings every two months to keep the public abreast of developments.
“We’re trying to create a place where everyone feels welcome,” he said.