Allegheny County

URA board approves Lower Hill development project

PITTSBURGH — The Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted 4-1 on Thursday to finally move forward with the Lower Hill District project that has been in the works for several years.

It’s the largest community agreement the city has ever entered into for any development in Pittsburgh, according to Mayor Bill Peduto. The board held a virtual special board meeting via Zoom and Facebook Live Thursday afternoon.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins had pulled out of plans to redevelop the Lower Hill just over a week ago after the URA delayed a vote on a proposed First National Bank office tower.

Earlier today, the mayor explained the reason behind that delay.

“And the Penguins had agreed to different stipulations but hadn’t put it in writing, so the URA was delaying to give the Penguins the time to put the documents in writing and present it back to the community,” said Peduto.

Those stipulations within the agreement are now in writing, which the board and community wanted.

The URA said the majority of jobs will benefit the Lower Hill District.

During the meeting, Pittsburgh Penguins Senior VP Kevin Acklin said they are committed to help the community, as this development will be a big lift for the area.

The Penguins released the following statement following Thursday’s vote:

“We are encouraged by today’s approval by the URA board to advance construction of our $200 million, 26-story F.N.B. headquarters development in the heart of the Lower Hill. We all have a lot of work ahead of us, and together we need to build a development process better rooted in transparency and accountability. First and foremost, we thank F.N.B. for their continued commitment to Pittsburgh and to the community. This building alone will generate $11 million in direct and immediate investment in the middle and upper Hill District, create thousands of family sustaining construction and permanent jobs during a global pandemic, and catalyze almost $1 billion of private investment in our city. We thank organized labor, in particular Darrin Kelly, President of the Allegheny County Labor Council, for stepping up to fight for jobs that will benefit more women and minority owned businesses than any development in our city’s history. Finally, we are grateful to Mayor Bill Peduto and his Chief of Staff Dan Gilman, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Representative Jake Wheatley and Councilman Daniel Lavelle for their leadership, and we look forward to rebuilding the Lower Hill, together.”

The redevelopment plan includes a new $200 million headquarters for First National Bank.

Originally expected to be completed in 2022, it was expected to accelerate the rest of the development at the site, which is currently controlled by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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