Pittsburgh City Council approved a land swap on Tuesday that will allow development of the former Penn Plaza site in East Liberty to move forward.
The land swap relocates Enright Parklet outside the bounds of the future Pennley Park South development, and was part of a 2017 legal agreement reached between the city, the site’s owners — Pennley Park South, an affiliate of LG Realty Advisors — and community groups. That agreement said all parties would work together to make the exchange happen, while also planning for the future of the park.
Community groups say those conversations have yet to happen. Nor has the city extended the boundary of an affordable housing fund, another condition of the 2017 agreement.
Jennifer Haven of the Friendship Community Group said it’s time to start the process of making good on those promises.
“That’s not so hard,” she said. “It doesn’t take any money to have meetings, it doesn’t take any legislation to have meetings.”
Councilor Deb Gross, whose district abuts the park, said at Tuesday’s meeting that concerns about the park and affordable housing didn’t belong in the bills under consideration. However, she said, “I have a lot of mixed emotions again about how we are you know moving forward without full commitments in place.”
In an e-mail, LG Realty Advisors' president Lawrence Gumberg said the company is pleased with the Council's decision and that it expects to break ground in December.
"As part of our development, LG Realty Advisors will contribute $1 million to rebuild and improve Enright Park, the City park adjacent to the development site and an important community asset that serves as a meeting place and green space for residents. The reconfigured Enright Park will promote connectivity and park access from all directions, and will truly be a park for all," Gumberg wrote.
Councilor Ricky Burgess, whose district includes the former Penn Plaza site, was among the seven legislators who voted in favor of the land swap. Gross and Councilor Darlene Harris abstained.