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Civic Arena demolition authorized; preservationists step in to delay

Civic Arena{jathumbnail off}

Although the Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted to allow the demolition of Civic Arena yesterday, preservationists nominated the facility as a historic building with the Historic Review Commission; the mandatory review could delay the proceeds for upwards of a year.

Two groups — Reuse the Igloo and Preservation Pittsburgh — have been working on a plan to save the former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), but despite their best efforts no solid plan has been forthcoming. The deal with the Penguins for Consol Energy Center gives the Pens ownership development rights for the property; they’d like to see the arena torn down to make room for parking (initially) and future development.

The application to the Historic Review Commission will block any demolition until the commission and the City Council review things, a process that could take up to a year. The City Council has once already denied a historic-preservation application.

The move is a temporary stall: if someone doesn’t come up with a plausible reuse plan for the facility, it more than likely will be torn down. The Pens are key to this: If a reuse plan comes in that makes money for the Pens and make them a White Knight, you can bet Civic Arena will be spared.

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