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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The old Civic Arena site has sat empty for years but that part of the lower Hill District will be transformed, as the Pittsburgh Penguins unveiled artistic renderings of what will be constructed on the site.
“We’re very pleased to announce to the public that we have a new development team,” Kevin Acklin, senior vice president and general counsel of the Penguins, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Acklin says the Pens, who own the development rights to the site, took time to put together the right team.
“The Penguins, we’re a hockey team, we’re not developers, so we’ve hired developers who we believe have done great work,” Acklin said.
The primary commercial space developer is the Buccini-Polin Group (BPG) with architectural designs by Gensler, who did PNC Tower.
The residential developer is Intergen, a minority-owned enterprise led by Kevin Key and Bomani Howze, both with roots in the Hill, and Robert Agbede, a local engineering executive.
Mayor Bill Peduto says he’s pleased with what he’s seen.
“The Penguins want to build a development that compliments the beauty of downtown Pittsburgh and is done in a dense, urban way, not a suburban sprawling parking lot,” Peduto said.
Included in the new Master Plan for the site are 810,000 square feet of office space, 190,000 square feet of retail shops, 50,000 square feet for entertainment, a 220-room hotel, and 1,420 new housing units.
At least 20 percent of housing will be affordable to lower income residents.
“The 20 percent that they’re working towards will meet or exceed the total number of units of affordable housing that the community had requested,” Peduto said.
For those who say there is not enough green space in downtown Pittsburgh, the developers propose connecting the Hill District with downtown Pittsburgh with a pedestrian-friendly, terraced, 4-acre green park.
So what’s the timetable?
“In six to eight months, you could very easily have three projects underway,” Acklin said.