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Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted to approve a preliminary land development plan to build office and retail space at the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty, which is owned by LG Realty Advisors.

Commissioners approved the plan on Tuesday, after nearly five hours of deliberation and public comment from close to 40 speakers, the majority of whom opposed the project. They used their allotted three minutes to call for affordable housing and to critique the community outreach process.

The first of two community meetings on the initial plan for the roughly 9-acre site will be held the evening of Wednesday, March 21 at Eastminster Church. The second is scheduled for Monday, April 16 at the same location.

After a months-long volley of information, Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning determined in February that the developer’s preliminary plan was complete. The land is owned by LG Realty Advisors, Inc.

Company president Lawrence Gumberg said last month they were eager to hear from the community.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

Over the next three to five years, more than 200 affordably priced apartments and homes could be built in East Liberty and Garfield as a result of the negotiations surrounding the demolition of Penn Plaza, according to Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation.