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Civic Arena Redevelopment Plan Moves Forward

Pittsburgh Penguins Civic Arena Site Redevelopment Rendering

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a step forward in their push to redevelop the former Civic Arena site on Friday, receiving needed approvals from a redevelopment authority.

The Penguins have been working for years to bring new development to the 28-acre site of their former home, but previous efforts–including a plan for a new U.S. Steel headquarters–fell short. A new vision for redeveloping the property was released back in March, and the organization has been working to gain approvals for an initial phase of construction that would include 288 residential units (to be spread over a pair of buildings), and a 97,000-square-foot music venue and 850-space parking garage.

Planning for the project moved forward Friday, when the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority voted to grant preliminary approvals. Other entities–including the Sports & Exhibition Authority, city, county, and Pittsburgh school district–still have to weigh in on various aspects of the plan before construction can begin, so it could take until late next spring or early summer for that work to get started. Nevertheless, Friday’s decision represents a crucial early step in the process for the Penguins. More from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

After nearly three hours of discussion, Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board members gave preliminary approvals to the plans for the $82.3 million apartment development and the $127.5 million music venue and 850-space parking garage.

In addition, the board advanced a plan to divert 75 percent of the parking tax revenue generated by the garage over 19 years — an estimated $24.3 million — to help pay for construction of the structure and the entertainment piece.

With the approvals, Kevin Acklin, the Penguins’ senior vice president, said the team “was at the starting line” in the long-awaited remake of the 28-acre lower Hill District site. The Penguins hold the development rights to the land.

“We’re happy with the votes today. I think we’ve reached a point where we’ve now started a process. But we’re at the beginning,” he said.

The Penguins currently play at PPG Paints Arena. PPG Paints Arena was built on a site adjacent to its predecessor, so this development will be part of the area immediately surrounding the facility.

Civic Arena, known affectionately by many as The Igloo, opened in 1961 and was home of the Penguins from 1967-2010. It was demolished in 2012, with the site used for parking in the years since.

Rendering courtesy Pittsburgh Penguins. 

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