Thursday, March 3, 2011

PGH Historic Review Commission says ‘No’ on Arena

After hours of testimony and months of debate the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission has rejected a request to designate the Civic Arena as a historic structure. The 6-0 vote came yesterday afternoon.

Almost a decade ago, the panel gave a similar petition a preliminary approval but rejected it on a final vote. The 49-year-old Civic Arena closed last year when the Consol Energy Center opened across the street. The Penguins and the Sports and Exhibition Authority have plans to build a residential, office and commercial development on the 28-acre site.

Activists group Reuse the Igloo founder Rob Pfaffmann says he is disappointed but will keep trying to save the structure. The city's planning commission and council still must take up the nomination. A supermajority of the Pittsburgh City Council would be needed to override the negative recommendation.

Developers say they need to have the arena razed if they are to be able to successfully redevelop the land. Supporters of the designation say there is no need to rush into demolition. They say the developers could start building on the parking lots first.

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