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Politics & Government

Fitzgerald Calls Pittsburgh Prison Closure A ‘Unique Opportunity’ For Development

Megan Harris
90.5 WESA
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says he's excited for what's next at the site of the closing Pittsburgh Prison.

It’s been less than two weeks since the Wolf administration announced that the 136-year old Pittsburgh state prison would shut down by June 30. But Allegheny County Executive said developers have already shown interest in the 24-acre site along the Ohio River.

“We’ve already gotten some calls from people that are interested in it,” Fitzgerald said. 

SCI Pittsburgh was one of five state prisons under consideration to be closed to reduce costs.

Credit Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA
Fitzgerald said developers have already shown interest in the 24-acre site of SCI Pittsburgh.

“In comparison to the other potential closure sites, we believe that the Pittsburgh site is at the greatest advantage for future revitalization based on its location, assets and the city’s robust economy,” said Dennis Davin, secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development.

Davin said he thinks the site could be re-purposed quickly.

“I think what the secretary was indicating was, because there is so much interest in this region right now and in Pittsburgh and in Allegheny County, that there are a lot of companies that want to be here,” Fitzgerald said. 

But it's unclear who will oversee the development. According to Fitzgerald, those details remain to be “worked out.”

“My guess is the state would be turning it over to the city and county, or the city or county, maybe the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) or the county Redevelopment Authority," Fitzgerald said. "Whatever really makes sense, we’ll all sit down and figure that out.”

Fitzgerald said that a mixed-use development is possible, including residential or recreational space, since the site sits along the riverfront. He's optimistic about the site's potential, he said. 

“This is a unique opportunity for a very prime piece of real estate,” he said. "Once this land is made shovel ready, we’ll see what’s best for the community.”