Plans for redevelopment of Civic Arena site set for approval

Tom Davidson, The Tribune-Review, Greensburg
·2 min read

May 3—The Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday will consider approving plans for the first phase of development of the former Civic Arena site in the city's Hill District.

The plans are centered on a 24-story, $200 million office tower that will be the new headquarters for FNB Corp. Construction on the tower is set to start later this year, pending approval by entities like the planning commission.

In advance of the commission's meeting, the Buccini/Pollin Group, which is developing the project with the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Monday issued an open letter to Hill District residents affirming the commitments made throughout the lengthy process of developing the site.

"This is just the beginning — at last. We remain committed to honoring and repairing some of the harm done... and to continuously engaging with and providing resources for the Historic Hill District community for years to come," the letter closes.

It was the latest overture to the community by those involved in the development, which has been years in the making.

Several Hill District residents are involved with the project and the developer is committed to aligning the project with the goals set out in a Community Collaborative Implementation Plan (CCIP) that was drafted in 2014, long before Buccini/Pollin Group was involved in the project.

Development of the site is being led by the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it involves a number of city agencies and neighborhood groups.

All have promised a development that proceeds differently than the one in the 1960s that included the Civic Arena, when hundreds of Black Pittsburgh residents were displaced and the neighborhood razed to make way for the arena and parking lots.

Hill District residents will have a chance to apply for jobs to work on the project when the Lower Hill First Source Employment Opportunity Center opens later this month at Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave.

FNB has also committed $7 million to programs that aim to improve the neighborhood and foster small business development.

In addition to the FNB Headquarters, a concert venue is planned, along with commercial, retail, residential and parking spaces. The site will be adjacent to a cap over Interstate 579 that is expected to be finished later this year that will include a park and will connect the Hill District to Downtown.

The Planning Commission will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday to consider the project.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, or via Twitter .