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Politics & Government

Purchase Is First Step to URA Reviving Shadyside Armory

The City of Pittsburgh, through the Urban Redevelopment Authority, approved plans Thursday to purchase the Alfred E. Hunt Armory in Shadyside from the state.

The 102-year-old historic landmark will be purchased by the URA without having to go through a bidding process, according to Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman.

“That allows us to have better local control over the future redevelopment plans, whereas the state just requires selling to the highest bidder,” he said.

But Gilman said the city doesn’t want to own the property for long.

“We want to hear from the residents,” he said. “I don’t think there is a priority for the city other than we don’t want to own it, and we want it on the tax rolls and in the hands of a private developer.”

Shadyside residents have already started to put forth redevelopment suggestions: apartments, a business incubator and a farmer’s market – all a far cry from the site’s lively past.

The armory, which closed in 2013, was used by local soldiers as far back as World War I. It was also one of city’s largest gathering places in the middle of the 20th century; hosting Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Led Zeppelin in 1969.

Before a request for proposals can be submitted, Gilman said parking and spatial concerns will be addressed within the community.

“It’s a unique property with a unique redevelopment future,” he said. “And, by taking ownership, we can now lead a community process working with our partners to create a vision for the space,” he said.