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Penguins select McCormack Baron Salazar as lead residential developer of Civic Arena Site

September 18, 2013 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Nationally-renowned development firm McCormack Baron Salazar has been selected as the lead residential developer for the former Civic Arena site, David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Pittsburgh Penguins announced today.

McCormack Baron Salazar plans to develop a minimum of 800 residential units on the site in multiple phases over the next 8-10 years. The firm has an extensive portfolio of urban revitalization projects, including the much-acclaimed Crawford Square in the Hill District. Other local developments include The Legacy and Bedford Hill Hope VI in the Hill District and the Fairfield Apartments in East Liberty.

McCormack Baron Salazar will begin preparing plans, seeking community input and obtaining necessary approvals throughout the next year.

Construction of the first phase of 200-300 units is expected to start in 2015, assuming that the necessary infrastructure is in place, Morehouse said.

The Penguins will work with the Hill District community over the next few months to identify and select a minority-owned firm to develop a minimum of 200 additional residential units on the site.

The Penguins also have been meeting with Hill District community leaders to prepare an innovative and progressive plan for creating positive impacts within the community, as well as preserving its cultural legacy in the development.

McCormack Baron Salazar is committed to partnering with the community, including the development of residential units in other areas of the Hill District.

“It’s an exciting day because the much-anticipated redevelopment of the Civic Arena site will take another step toward becoming a reality,” Morehouse said. “McCormack Baron Salazar is the perfect partner, not only because of its reputation as a premier urban residential developer but also because of its wealth of experience and success in Pittsburgh and the region.”

“McCormack Baron Salazar is thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Richard D. Baron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar Inc. “For over twenty years, we have been dedicated to working with City and neighborhood leaders on revitalizing this area of Pittsburgh. The partnership with an institution like the Penguins, who share our core values of building off the strengths and potential of communities, gives this effort the support needed for an enduring, successful redevelopment that will be an asset to the neighborhood, the City and the region.”

McCormack Baron Salazar and the minority-owned developer will be responsible for 1,000-1,200 residential units. They will be built on approximately 10 acres – or half the developable area of the entire site.

This residential area will be on the eastern portion of the site along Crawford Street.

It is anticipated that these units will be mixed-income and that the first phase will be rental. McCormack Baron Salazar will explore home ownership opportunities in future phases.

In 2014, following required approval of the master plan, the Penguins will seek developers for the balance of the site, which will include office and retail development.

Key points about redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site:

  • The 28-acre site is owned by the Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

  • The Penguins received the development rights via an option agreement as part of their lease for CONSOL Energy Center

  • 20 of the 28 acres of the site are considered “developable” land. The other eight acres will be made up infrastructure such as streets, utilities, etc.

  • The Penguins, under the option agreement, have the obligation to purchase 10 percent of the developable land per year (approximately 2 acres) over a 10-year period, starting in October, 2014.

  • The Penguins are responsible for creating a master plan and re-zoning the site to allow for mixed-use development while the SEA manages the construction of public infrastructure to accommodate development.

  • The Penguins envision a mixed-use development with 1,100 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail and 600,000 square feet of office space