PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — His name is Merrill Stabile.

He’s the largest private owner of parking garages and lots in the city, and he wants to turn a lot on the North Shore into an office tower – 10 stories or higher.

“In my opinion, the higher the better because I think you want to something that adds a little more shape to the skyline of the North Shore,” Stabile said.

Stabile has a development partner and is willing to pay $10 million for the site. The problem is the development option belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers – at least for now.

The Steelers’ option expires this week and the Sports and Exhibition Authority must decide whether to extend it, but since the authority board has extended the Steelers’ option twice already – Stabile says he should get a crack at it.

“I think the stadium authority should seriously consider what options are out there before extending the existing agreement,” he said.

The Steelers and the Pirates have had the development rights to the land between the stadiums since they were built a decade ago. They’ve developed a hotel, offices, restaurants and bars — and most recently Stage AE.

Steeler President Art Rooney II had no comment today, but told the Post-Gazette:

“We are in the middle of a very successful development. I don’t see why a change in the developer makes any sense, particularly if you consider that Mr. Stabile has no real track record as a developer. The whole thing is a farce.”

Stabile says his project is for real and that his $10 million offer is seven times the $1.3 million the Steelers would pay.

“I think that what I’m offering is a great thing for the stadium authority and a great thing for the city,” he said.

The SEA Board will make their decision on Wednesday. Either way, it’s not likely to be the last word on who gets to develop the site.

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