PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Right now, the old Civic Arena site is still asphalt and gravel parking lots.
“There’s been a lot of talk. Several years. We’re ready to go,” Pittsburgh Penguins COO Kevin Acklin said.
Acklin said they anticipate breaking ground on the new FNB Headquarters over the summer. They still have to get approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Sports and Exhibition Authority, which own the land.
The Penguins organization and developers are meeting today with the city’s Planning Commission on the project.
The construction should last about 18 months. It’s expected to generate $50 million in direct benefit for the Hill District and the city.
“This is not just about building buildings on the Lower Hill. It’s about investing in people. It’s about rebuilding the neighborhood. It’s about addressing past wrongs that occurred in the past century,” Acklin said.
Acklin said other projects, like housing, will start later this year or early next year. A music venue and parking garage are also in the works for the 28-acre site.
The goal is to have everything done over the next five years. The hope is this can set a foundation for investment in the Hill.
“It’s long overdue. In the 1950s, there was some mistakes made relating to how development was done,” Acklin said.
In the more immediate future, the Pens and community partners will put the Lower Hill First Source Employment Opportunity Center in the Hill House on Centre Avenue. It will be a one-stop shop for job resources and employment.
“Residents in those neighborhoods who have lived through the tough times should be able to benefit from that development. Not be displaced,” Acklin said.
People will get help and training for jobs with the Lower Hill Redevelopment and other employers around the city.
“Our hope is to get this under construction, put people back to work. Put revenue into the city coffers and also generate revenue for the neighborhood,” Acklin said.
The employment center in the Hill House is expected to be done and open in mid-May.
KDKA has reached out to the Hill District CDC for comment. We will update this article when we hear back.