The Pittsburgh Penguins received another extension to acquire a portion of the former Civic Arena site, but not without contention from some local officials.
As was noted here earlier this week, the Penguins have been working for the last several years to redevelop the site of Civic Arena, their home from 1967-2010 that was demolished in 2012. At one point, U.S. Steel was slated to construct a new headquarters at the site, but that plan ultimately fell through.
The Penguins were previously granted an extension to acquire property for development that moved their deadline back from October 22 to October 29. That deadline has changed once again, as the Penguins will now have until November 9 to purchase the first parcel on the publicly-owned 28-acre site.
Two boards–the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority (SEA) and Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment (URA)–voted 4-1 on Thursday to permit the extension. However, officials–including the URA’s Jim Ferlo– voiced their frustrations with the process, though the Penguins defended how they have handled the situation. More from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“It’s been at least six years now with, in my opinion, no evidence that the Penguins are actually sincere about moving forward with development,” he said.
“I hate to be so blunt but as far as I’m concerned the Penguins organization is disingenuous. I don’t think they’re negotiating in good faith. I consider them not only slick but needy and greedy when it comes to the manner in which they have conducted themselves with the taxpayers.”
The Penguins responded with a body check of their own, with CEO David Morehouse saying that Mr. Ferlo is the one who’s being disingenuous.
“As a member of the URA board, he is well aware of the commitment we have made to this project. The Penguins have invested millions of dollars in pre-development work; partnered with the URA and SEA to attract infrastructure funding; entered into agreements with nationally-recognized developers McCormack Baron Salazar and Clayco for residential and office developments; and engaged the internationally-acclaimed Bjarke Ingles Group to create an open space plan for the site,” he said.
As part of the latest plan for the area, the Penguins have been partnering with the St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar to develop the first phase of a housing development on the site. Had the extension not been granted, the club would have had to forfeit a 2.1-acre parcel on the site to SEA or the URA.
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