Civic Arena

"Teenie" Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art Heinz Family Fund

Cities like Harlem and Chicago are often associated with “The Great Black Renaissance,” but for a brief  time in the 20th century, Pittsburgh was an epicenter for black art, sports, business and political influence.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Tuesday that he expects to have an agreement with the Penguins on the first phase of development on the Lower Hill by Wednesday afternoon.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week, reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin behind the headlines for an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

Former Arena Site Controversy Lands In City Council

Jan 9, 2017
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Unrest over the lack of development on the 28-acre site that once included the Civic Arena has found its way to Pittsburgh City Council.

Council members will vote this week on a bill requesting the involvement of the city solicitor. The bill was introduced by Councilman Daniel Lavelle who represents the neighborhoods closest to the site.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority is paying for what will be the third round of environmental testing of the former Civic Arena site.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Residents of the Hill District would have a much easier time walking or biking to downtown Pittsburgh after the construction of a proposed three-acre park with pathways on a platform raised overtop of I-579 in the Lower Hill.

The project, which has already undergone a year-long planning and design process, will be ready for construction after the federal government releases $19 million in grant funding for the effort this October, officials announced Tuesday.

Pittsburgh-Area Trumpeter Recalls 'Pinch-Me' Moments Touring With Prince

Jun 18, 2016

The meeting happened nearly 30 years ago, but Matthew Blistan remembers nearly every detail.

Mr.T77 / Flickr

U.S. Steel has decided against building a new headquarters on the site of the former Civic Arena.

“This decision has been shared with employees by President and CEO Mario Longhi. U.S. Steel will remain in the U.S. Steel Tower through the term of its lease,” spokeswoman Sarah Cassalla said in a statement. The lease expires in 2017.

Perry Quan / Flickr

  Developers of the former Civic Arena site in the Hill District are looking for feedback from the community.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

City and county officials, the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis based-developer McCormack Baron Salazar announced Thursday the Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group will design the residential portion of the lower Hill development at the old Civic Arena site.

“Part of what we’re doing is going to be a mixed-income community, and there will be opportunities for lower-income individuals and families to live in the community, just like we did in Crawford Square,” said Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar. “So the idea here is to be an inclusive development.”

Flickr user Peter Radunzel

The Pittsburgh Penguins and development firm Clayco are just six months away from the proposed groundbreaking for a 28 acre mixed use development in the Lower Hill. City Council on Tuesday approved a unique approach to tax abatement, which has been vital to getting the Hill community on board with the plan.

It’s been more than half a century since eight thousand Pittsburgh residents were displaced from their homes in the lower hill district, when 95 acres of a thriving, mostly African American community were razed to make way for the Civic Arena.

Pittsburgh City Council is planning a public hearing before they give the final stamp of approval to proposed tax abatements and exemptions for developers of the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who has been instrumental in developing a plan for revitalization of the area, said developers will still be paying property taxes on the value of the land and related improvements.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

Redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s lower Hill District is one step closer to becoming a reality, with City Council on Wednesday giving preliminary approval to a bill designating the area as a Specially Planned District or SPD.

“It took a while to get here … and now we’ve got to actually begin building,” said Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District.

Plans for the Civic Arena Site Taking Shape

Jan 22, 2015
Mr.T77 / Flickr

Negotiations between the city, the Penguins and the Hill District Community Development Corporation have resulted in plans to move forward with the development of the former Civic Arena Site. We’ll discover what could be next for the site with Hill District CDC President and CEO Marimba Milliones.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

United States Steel Corp. CEO Mario Longhi said he took Monday’s sunshine as a good omen for his company’s new headquarters on the site of the old Civic Arena.

Longhi joined Penguins CEO David Morehouse, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to make the announcement at Consol Energy Center on Monday.

Longhi said the five-story, 268,000 square foot building will serve as the cornerstone of revitalization of both US Steel and the surrounding Hill District community.

Joseph Novak / Flickr

City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents much of the Hill District, wants to make that the history of the area does not repeat itself.

In the mid-1950s, redevelopment of the Hill District and construction of the Civic Arena displaced 8,000 residents, most of whom were black and more than a third of whom ended up in public housing.

Now, that same area is slated for redevelopment by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Plans include housing, mixed-use retail, a hotel and an outdoor plaza.

Pittsburgh's Lone Beatles Concert Reaches its 50th Anniversary

Sep 12, 2014
Perry Quan / Flickr

It was fifty years ago Sunday that the Beatles performed at the Civic Arena, their one and only appearance in Pittsburgh.

We'll talk with legendary concert promoter Pat DiCesare, who brought the band to town and is producing this weekend's 50th anniversary events. Also joining us in studio is Chuck Brinkman, a former KQV disc jockey who introduced the Beatles on stage on that memorable night in 1964.

In 1961 the Hill District was cut off from downtown with the building of the Civic Area, and with the demolition of the arena developers have been drawing up plans to hopefully reconnect the two.

The city has been granted $1.5 million to hire engineers to start drawing up plans to being bidding for the construction of a cap that will be installed over 579 between downtown and the old Civic Area.

Pens Reach Deal to Develop Arena Site

Sep 9, 2014

The Pittsburgh Penguins say they should be able to begin developing the 28 acres that once held the Civic Arena in the next six to nine months thanks to a deal that city leaders believe will positively impact the entire Hill District and Uptown.

As Deadline Looms, an Update on Civic Arena Site Development

Aug 7, 2014
AxsDeny / Flickr

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the rights to develop the 28-acre site of the now demolished Civic Arena in the 2007 deal to build the CONSOL Energy Center.

Under that agreement, the team was to draw down the first parcel by Oct. 31 or possibly lose the development rights. The Penguins are asking the city and county to push that deadline back a year.

Opposing this request is Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District. Lavelle said the Penguins and Hill District leaders are still at odds over minority participation in the project. Another point of contention is the amount of affordable housing to be built on the site. Lavelle, however, does not believe delaying the deadline shows promise for both organizations.

“Unfortunately, this site sits in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in this entire country," he said. "This should be an opportunity to sort of rectify that and lift these individuals out of poverty, with the contracting and business opportunities that will exist on that site.”

City Council News With Noah

May 20, 2013
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Legislation to change the powers of the Citizen Police Review Board is up for a final vote on Thursday.  Currently, the CPRB reviews new police policies after they are implemented, but the new legislation would alter this system resulting in the board reviewing  policies before they take effect. Sponsoring Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, who originally wanted to publish an abridged version of the police rule book until it was found to be against state law, says he's hoping to use the CPRB as the "eyes and ears" of the public regarding police policies.

The demolition of the Civic Arena wrapped up in March of 2012, and a broad stretch of parking spaces now occupies the space where the Igloo once stood.

Now, the gears of redevelopment could soon begin to turn for the 27-acre site in the lower Hill District, as Pittsburgh City Council is moving legislation to apply for a $20 million federal grant for the project.

On Wednesday, Council unanimously approved the legislation necessary to apply for the so-called TIGER grant, readying Hill District Councilman Daniel Lavelle's bills for final passage on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council This Week

May 13, 2013
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Last week, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to Councilman Ricky Burgess's bills to reform the police bureau's domestic violence response policies.  One bill pays for training under the "Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program," and the second bill changes the city code to reflect the new policies. A final vote comes Tuesday.

When receiving a 911 call regarding domestic violence, responders must ask the callers a series of questions to determine the risk of imminent harm to the victim. Afterward, the officers must offer to call a women's shelter to help the victim.

City Council Update with Noah Brode

Mar 25, 2013
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  90.5 WESA reporter Noah Brode gives us a weekly update on funding approval for Pittsburgh's Bike Share program. And we'll discuss plans for the first steps in the redevelopment of the Civic Arena.