"All of these companies have spent the last decade squeezing more employees into the same square footage,” said real estate professional Jeremy Kronman. “But that trend doesn't fit within the health and wellness requirements of dealing with the virus."
Update (5/20/20): Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto urged the Urban Redevelopment Authority board to approve the Penguins' proposed developer and tentative plan to build an office tower in the Lower Hill District, in advance of a URA board vote scheduled for Thursday. He called the potential First National Bank office tower "an extraordinary $200 million investment in the heart of Pittsburgh that will help brace our local economy in a time of great need," which would also result in an $11 million investment in housing and development in the Hill District. Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board is planning to move forward with a vote Thursday on proposed terms for construction of a Hill District office tower and parking garage by the Penguins, despite the hockey organization’s announcement yesterday that it is ceasing development operations on the former Civic Arena site. "We're moving forward to get this done in the coming days,” said city Chief of Staff Dan Gilman on Friday morning. “We believe this is a project that is still critical to get done and can and should be a win for the neighborhood, the city and the Penguins."
The Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday announced that they are halting their years-long effort to redevelop the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, following an Urban Redevelopment Authority board decision to delay an approval vote by two weeks. The URA board opted not to vote on whether to approve the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chosen developer and a conceptual plan to build a bank office tower, citing continuing discussions on the benefits that would flow to the Hill District. The board expressed plans to vote within two weeks. The move prompted the Penguins to announce their withdrawal from discussions. “In a week where the Penguins had to furlough a majority of our employees and we are all suffering the worst health and economic crisis in our nation’s history, we are disappointed that the URA delayed a $200 million development project that alone would create 1,500 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs, deliver the highest commitments to minority- and women-owned businesses in the city’s history, and generate $11 million in direct and immediate investment into the middle and upper Hill District,” wrote Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse, in response to a request for comment from PublicSource.
Landlords “have employees to pay. They have debt to pay on those buildings. They have utilities and taxes,” which won’t be suspended during the crisis, said Jim Eichenlaub, executive director of the Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh.
"If there's a second round, and we have this again, and there's more uncertainty, it will really hammer construction and development in general." -- Tony Knoble, CEO of TWG Development, which is restarting work on a 280-apartment complex
“In this last five or six weeks, we’ve seen tremendous pain in the small business community in the Pittsburgh region,” said Robert Stein, executive director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
The political player leads a purple-clad army and wields a campaign warchest that can decide council races. The activist against whom the doors were chained helps direct an organization that demands seats at the budgeting table — sometimes to the chagrin of a mayor he helped to elect.
As part of Develop PGH, PublicSource will report here about notable actions and conversations from the monthly meetings of the Urban Redevelopment Authority [URA]. From the May 14, 2020 board meeting
After the May 14 meeting of the Urban Redevelopment Authority board, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they are halting their years-long effort to redevelop the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, following a board decision to delay an approval vote by two weeks. Read the full story here. From the April 16, 2020 board meeting: URA urges banks to step up in coronavirus crisis as state and federal funds fall short
The needs of Pittsburgh’s pandemic-sickened economy have outstripped the government’s cures, according to Urban Redevelopment Authority officials, who told that agency’s board that they’re casting about for more money to lend to struggling businesses. The URA has assembled $3.1 million to make emergency loans to city businesses.
Mayor Bill Peduto said he agrees "100%" with the report’s priority list. However, he said the city can’t single-handedly bolster the URA’s $14 million operating budget in the face of what he called an "economic depression."