PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a unanimous vote, the Sports and Exhibition Authority approved plans for the Pittsburgh Steelers to expand the Great Hall at Heinz Field.

It will be a major upgrade when it comes to fans being able to find their favorite team gear all in one place.

(Source: Heinz Field/Sports and Exhibition Authority)

(Source: Heinz Field/Sports and Exhibition Authority)

Because it is an expansion of Heinz Field, the matter needed the approval of the Sports and Exhibition Authority at its meeting Thursday morning.

The brand new flagship pro shop will be built where the ticket office is at Heinz Field right now, and will come out to the sidewalk on Art Rooney Avenue.

The two-story structure will stretch all the way to the 50 yard line. When it is done, it will be 12,000 square feet of new space to sell Steelers’ merchandise.

How much will it cost?

Heidi Edwards, project coordinator for the Steelers can’t say just yet.

“We don’t have final pricing. Our estimate is from somewhere between $11 million and $13 million for the project,” she said.

However, the Board was pleased to hear that none of that money is coming from taxpayers.

“All project costs in the alteration will be paid by the Steelers,” says Doug Straley, of the Sports and Exhibition Authority. “When complete, it (the expansion of the Great Hall) will become part of the lease premises.”

The public will have access to the new pro shop from inside the Great Hall as well as from street level outside Heinz Field. It will be open — perhaps even on game days — for fans who don’t have a ticket.

With the reach of the Steelers brand, Sports and Exhibition Authority Board members, like Sen. Wayne Fontana, are excited about what it could mean for the North Shore.

“You can just walk through that. You don’t have to buy anything, right? You can go up and eat if you want. You can go up and buy something and just see it — all the memorabilia that is there from the history of the Steelers. I think people are interested in that,” he said.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Anthony Coghill, who also is an SEA Board member hopes it becomes a tourist attraction for the city.

“I think people will, especially out of town people who come see games, will flock to it. Now, will that produce restaurants and people spending more money? I hope so,” he said.

(Source: Heinz Field/Sports and Exhibition Authority)

The Steelers ticket office will need a new location. That is part of these construction plans. It will be down at the other end of Art Rooney Avenue closer to the Fred Rogers Statue.

Everything should be done in time for football in 2020.