Pittsburgh redevelopment authority postpones vote on construction at Civic Arena site | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh redevelopment authority postpones vote on construction at Civic Arena site

Bob Bauder
Courtsey of Gensler
An architect’s rendering of the Penguins’ planned development of the former Civic Arena property in Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District.

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board of directors Thursday postponed a vote on long-delayed redevelopment of the former Civic Arena property at the request of Hill District residents who said they weren’t given an opportunity to review the plans in advance of a URA meeting.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, which have development rights to the 28-acre Lower Hill District property, are proposing a first phase of construction that includes 288 apartments in two residential buildings and a live music venue above a parking garage.

Kevin Acklin, the Penguins’ general counsel, estimated the two projects would total $210 million.

Residents attending a URA meeting said they could not offer knowledgeable input because they were not given the plans in advance.

“The community hasn’t had a chance to even lay eyes on this,” said Marimba Milliones, president and CEO of the Hill Community Development Corp. “I requested it 48 hours ago, so this is the first time I’m getting it. There should be sufficient time for the community to review. What I think is appropriate given the circumstances is that you do not vote right now, that you do give the community an opportunity to review these terms … and provide some feedback.”

Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, a Hill District resident and member of the URA board, proposed a delay in the vote, noting the public was given the plans at the meeting and would have time to understand them.

“I’m recommending to our board that we would call another special board meeting for next Thursday,” he said.

Members unanimously approved the proposal, but did not set a date for a vote.

The residential portion would consist of two buildings at Centre Avenue and Fullerton Street — one six stories and the other 12 stories — with an underground parking garage. They would have amenities such as fitness centers, community rooms, sundecks and rooftop patios.

Fifty-eight of the apartments would be affordable for low-income residents.

Acklin said the project would total around $90 million.

It would include a public subsidy of $1 million.

The music venue and garage, along Logan Street between Bedford and Wylie avenues, would include space for relocation of a Pittsburgh EMS rescue unit and a small business incubator for locally-owned minority businesses. The Penguins would lease the incubator space to the URA for $1 annually with a purchase option after 29 years.

Acklin said that project would total about $120 million and include $3 million in public subsidies.

“We’re comfortable with the (delay in voting) ,” Acklin said. “We think it’s a good deal for the city, a good deal for the Hill District and one that will advance the development. We’re ready to go.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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