Monday, November 24, 2014
Today the Pittsburgh Penguins and local leaders announced plans to build a new U.S. Steel headquarters on the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District. The site will be built with a mix of private and public dollars including $15 million in state funding and unknown local contributions from taxpayers.
Developers are expected to break ground on the 268,000 square-foot site as early as August 2015 and complete the five-story building in September 2017. The building will also feature retail space and a steel museum.
Development of the 28-acre site has been a point of contention between the Pittsburgh Penguins and some Hill District residents who want development on the site to benefit their neighborhood. While Hill District Councilman Daniel Lavelle, says he hasn't talked to members of the community about the U.S. Steel development, he's confident it will lead to dividends for his constituents.
"I have not spoken with the community as a whole," says Lavelle. "But this is going to kick-start the revitalization we have planned for the Hill."
While officials did not provide information on how much the project would cost, or how much the city's contribution would be, the mayor's office says upwards of $3 million could go toward developing the Hill District as a result of the U.S. Steel construction.
The new headquarters will utilize the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act District tax abatement program. According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the program "was created to improve the economic and business climate of certain residential and commercial districts by lessening the tax burden on new development."
"One of the beautiful things about this development is half of the tax abatement program that's being used to build this building will be spent to rebuild the middle Hill," said Mayor Bill Peduto, "and to reconnect the community back to the center core of the city in a way that will provide affordable housing, job training and other types of amenities that the community will be looking for."
The City Planning Commission has yet to approve the Penguins' development plan for the 28-acre site. Last week, Hill District residents filled the public hearing on the plan, many of them there to call for greater affordable housing in the development proposal.