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Redevelopment Of Former SCI Pittsburgh Site, A Possible Amazon HQ2 Location, On Hold

Megan Harris
90.5 WESA

Redevelopment of the 24 acres on which sits the now closed SCI Pittsburgh has not been put on hold while other developments proceed, according to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

“That’s just one parcel among many that are very valuable and very desirable in this region,” Fitzgerald said.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration announced in January that the 136-year-old state prison would close by June 30 to save the state an estimated $81 million. Fitzgerald has called the site along the Ohio River “a prime piece of real estate.”

Last week, the Urban Redevelopment Authority Board approved an amended deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins to redevelop the former site of the Civic Arena.

Monday, there was a ceremonial ground-breaking for an advanced manufacturing facility at Hazelwood Green, a former brownfield site. So have those developments delayed action on the former prison site?

“No, not at all,” Fitzgerald said. “Different sites have pluses and minuses [depending on what developers want.]

"It’s in the mix like all those other ones.”

He said they included the prison site as a possible location for Amazon to build its second North American headquarters.

It’s been five weeks since Pittsburgh submitted its application to Amazon, and Fitzgerald said officials haven’t heard much, “nor did we expect to because they’ve got 238 applications to go through.” 

On Nov. 15, Alaska Airlines announced that next fall it will add nonstop daily service between Pittsburgh and Seattle, the home of Amazon. Fitzgerald said the Airport Authority had been working on this agreement prior to the Amazon application.

“I think the folks at Amazon know there’s a direct flight from Pittsburgh to Seattle,” said Fitzgerald, “it just adds to our ability to win the Amazon bid.”