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                                                       File/Joe Wojcik
The site of the former Civic Arena in the lower Hill District of Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the Pittsburgh Penguins' preliminary plan for the former Civic Arena site and affiliated properties.

The plan now must be approved by Pittsburgh City Council. This approval could come as soon as next month.

Only half the board voted on the measure, with chair Christine Mondor recusing herself, and members Fred Brown, Dina Blackwell and Lucy Spruill not in attendance.

The approval allows for the creation of a specially planned zoning district for 42 acres in the Lower Hill District that includes the arena site's 28 acres. Conditions include requiring developers to provide a written endorsement of a community collaboration agreement, residential developers to submit affordable housing plans, and for final development plans to include reasonable efforts to hold community design charets.

Travis Williams, chief operating officer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, described the vote as "a great day for the development."

"It's been a long time coming," he added. "We've worked hard to get to this point."

Yet Marimba Milliones, president and CEO of the Hill Community Development Corp., was not instilled with confidence by the commission's discussion and said major issues such as building heights and parking were not discussed prior to a vote.

"They seemed really confused," she said of the commission, describing the vote as "very risky" due to what she saw as a lack of guidance among the board members.

Tim Schooley covers retail, real estate, construction, hospitality, arts and entertainment, and government. Contact him at or 412-208-3826. 

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Date Published: 
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 | 412-765-1820 |

Serving the Greater Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA