Jim Ferlo thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins are stalling development of the 28-acre former Civic Arena site. So when his fellow Urban Redevelopment Authority board members were asked to approve spending another $250,000 on site environmental work, Ferlo made an alternate suggestion—seize the property.
“Personally, I feel we should pull the plug on the Penguins. I don’t see them ever developing this site,” said the former state senator. “I think they’re making too much money parking cars there every day.”
Instead of the authority paying for environmental analyses, it should use it as leverage to seize the development rights from the Penguins. Failing that, he suggested, it should use eminent domain.
“I don’t see (development) happening,” he said. “I don’t see any way for it to happen with the Penguins involved.”
Though the board voted 4-1 to approve a $250,000 contract with KU Resources Inc. to conduct an environmental and geochemical review of the upper portion of the site—which, because it is designated for residential development, must meet stricter requirements—members Danny Lavelle, Pittsburgh councilman, and Cheryl Hall-Russell, Hill House president and CEO, also expressed frustration with the pace of development.
Hall-Russell said this was one of the first development projects she learned of when she moved here more than five years ago, and she’s still waiting.