An open-air music venue, food hall, hotel and playground are among the elements included in the master plan for the redeveloped Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill District, which will be named “Centre District.” Detailed renderings of the $750 million project were unveiled to residents at a community meeting Wednesday evening.
The 28-acre mixed-use site, which will be redeveloped by the Pittsburgh Penguins, also includes retail space and up to 1,400 apartments, including 20 percent of which are expected to be affordable units.
When the Civic Arena was constructed, it created a barrier between the Hill District and downtown. Vaki Mawema, architect for Gensler, said the idea behind the redevelopment is not to be a border, but to stitch the two areas together.
“The retail, the commercial, all of the sort of artistic activations, the residential, it's woven in such a way that you can’t tell where it starts, and where it ends,” said Mawema.
Kevin Acklin of the Pittsburgh Penguins said he hopes to diversify the workforce of the site through partnerships with the Pittsburgh Promise and Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania.
“The ultimate goal here is to use this opportunity to create more high-paying jobs, trade jobs, in the unions, for people of color, and there’s been too often a gap,” said Acklin. “Too many folks in the trades look like me.”
Wednesday’s meeting was the first in a new series of community meetings, which will occur every other month throughout construction on the site, to keep residents informed of progress.
Development of the main cap park over Crosstown Expressway is underway with Pittsburgh-based Intergen Real Estate Group expected to break ground on the first phase of residential construction this fall. Commercial developer Buccini/Pollin Group is slated to begin work on mixed-use buildings, including retail space along Centre Avenue, later this year.