SBD/January 6, 2014/Facilities

Penguins' Civic Arena Redevelopment Remains Stalled Due To Community Disagreement

Officials don't see eye-to-eye on residential costs for the Civic Arena redevelopment
The Penguins after nearly a year of talks "still haven't been able to win the backing" of Hill District leaders for a proposed residential, office and commercial redevelopment on the publicly owned land where Civic Arena stood, according to Mark Belko of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Disagreement over affordable housing has been the "big stumbling block." Hill District leaders want 30% of the units "priced low enough to be within the means of lower-income residents," but the Penguins and their residential developer, St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar, "have set the limit" at 20%. The Penguins "have been talking to various city and county officials," including members of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto's staff, "about the implications involved in increasing the level of affordable housing." The team said that it "likely would require some form of public aid to bridge the funding gap." This "could pose a challenge for Mr. Peduto, who has been trying to limit the amount of public money that goes into the development." While Penguins COO Travis Williams "still hopes to reach an agreement with Hill leaders, he noted the team at some point may have to press ahead if it is to meet an October deadline to start development." The Penguins "secured the rights" to the site in the '07 deal to build Consol Energy Center, and "must take down at least 2.8 acres of land in the fall or risk losing the rights to the parcels." The redevelopment issue "could pose the first development-related challenges" for Peduto, who takes office today. The site is considered among the most valuable pieces of real estate in the region" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/3).
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