ShareThis Page
Business

Fifth Avenue may get ice rink

| Thursday, March 3, 2011

Six months after Sir Paul McCartney rocked Consol Energy Center with its first concert and five months into the Penguins hockey season, adjacent Fifth Avenue mostly looks the way it did a decade ago — run down.

"Everybody's waiting. Nothing has changed," said Dan Petruzzi, owner of AAA Engraving at 1042 Fifth Ave.

That soon could change.

By June, a T.G.I. Friday's will open in the arena along Fifth Avenue, Travis Williams, the Penguins' vice president of business and legal affairs, said yesterday. Team officials are in talks with Qdoba Mexican Grill, and the center has space for six or seven other small shops along its Fifth Avenue side, he said.

The Pens are exploring whether to build the city's only indoor ice rink along the same block between the arena and Stevenson Street, or whether to say in the suburbs, Williams said. The team trains at the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Washington County.

"Right now, we are looking into whether it would be economically feasible," Williams said.

The rink would be one part of a revived neighborhood team officials hope will thrive on its own, not just when games or concerts are scheduled. The Consol draws as many as 18,000 people to about 150 events each year, Williams said.

A 2007 agreement with the Sports and Exhibition Authority also gives the Penguins development rights for the 28-acre Civic Arena site, which the city's Historic Review Commission yesterday declined to designate the building as a historic structure.

Development of that site inevitably will spur growth on Fifth Avenue, Williams said.

"We believe in the Fifth Avenue corridor between Downtown and Oakland," he said. "It is an area that has potential for residential and commercial growth."

Any redevelopment of the Civic Arena site likely will take years, said Rob Stephany, executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. Revamping Fifth Avenue could be done far more quickly, he said.

"We think the new arena is well positioned to revive Fifth Avenue," Stephany said. "The underpinnings of the market are there."

Fifth Avenue business owners, meanwhile, say lack of redevelopment reflects a slow economy.

"If this were a better economy we were in, this block would have been redeveloped two years ago," said Howard Elinoff, owner of three Fifth Avenue buildings that house Uniforms USA.

Elinoff, whose loft building has high ceilings and room for a roof-top deck, said several developers have shown interest but plans fell through after they ran into problems securing credit.

"I hope this area could become a South Side Works sort of place," said Carly Sypherd, whose family has owned Souper Bowl Restaurant & Lounge on Fifth Avenue for 22 years. "Right now, on a Friday night -- if there is not an event at the arena -- it's like a ghost town here. Eighty percent of our business is from the arena."

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.

click me