Thursday, January 21, 2010

Architect devises preservation, reuse plan for Mellon Arena - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Of course there is no rush.
Architect devises preservation, reuse plan for Mellon Arena - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Architect devises preservation, reuse plan for Mellon Arena"

To grow, you need to add. You win by addition. When the new Consol Energy Arena is built, we have a chance to GROW and build more capacity. But, not if the existing is removed. Here is the math: 1 + 1 = 2. We grow. But if it is 1 - 1 = ZERO. We don't grow.

When we got the new stadiums, we got Heinz Field (plus 1) and PNC Park (plus 1). However, we lost Three Rivers Stadium and Pitt Stadium (minus 2). Net growth = ZERO.

We did get The Pete. Great. Plus one. And, Pitt got to keep the Fitz too. Yes. That's growth. But, we could have built The Pete on the river down Panther Hollow near Parkway East and new graduate student housing. But, that's another discussion.

With the Civic Arena, we should keep it. We should aim to grow.

In other news, an apartment in my neighborhood is going to be vacant. The tennant is moving out. So, the tennant tells the landlord that he won't be paying rent at the end of his lease and the tennant tells the landlord that the soon to be empty apartment should now be torn down. WTF. The tennant doesn't own the building. The tennant only rented the building. The tennant has no say in what happens with the property after the tennant moves out. The landlord can fix up the place, if desired. And, the landlord can find a new tennant too.

The tennant is the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins are going to move out of the Civic Arena. They have no sway nor say about what happens there next.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Boren is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-765-2312 or via e-mail.

A Downtown architect yesterday urged Sports & Exhibition Authority board members to preserve Mellon Arena and consider his plan to turn it and the surrounding area into a partially enclosed city park, ice skating rink, performance space, retail and residential center based loosely on Chicago's Millennium Park.

"There is no need to rush the demolition of the arena," Rob Pfaffman said.

Pittsburgh Penguins executives said they're open to ideas for developing 28 acres next to their new home in the Consol Energy Center, but saving Mellon Arena from demolition is unlikely.

Team President David Morehouse said the 2007 agreement between the Pens and the SEA calls for demolishing Mellon Arena.

"I have not yet seen a viable reuse of a stadium or arena anywhere in the country," Morehouse said. "We're as nostalgic as anyone. We won three Stanley Cups in that building; however, even the shrine of all shrines of hockey arenas, Boston Garden, was torn down."

Team executives envision an expansive mix of retail, housing and public space based on successful arena-centered commercial districts such as Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., the Nationwide Arena District in Columbus, Ohio, and the Staples Center area of Los Angeles, Morehouse said.

"I'd love to see something similar in Pittsburgh," Morehouse said. "The opportunity the city has is unprecedented."

A key component will be gathering input from the new arena's neighbors, Morehouse said, an effort that began yesterday when the Sports & Exhibition Authority hired Michael Baker Corp. of Moon to study the historical and archaeological significance of Mellon Arena and the land around it. The cost will be about $90,000.

Because Mellon Arena is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the civil engineering firm will ensure that plans to demolish it and redevelop the site don't violate the National Historic Preservation Act.

What Michael Baker finds could shape how the site is altered and what, if anything, should be preserved. Research efforts will include at least two public presentations, according to its contract.

A spokesman for Michael Baker did not return a call seeking comment.

Many longtime Hill District residents believe city planners ignored residents and business owners when they allowed the Civic Arena to be built in the middle of a thriving neighborhood during the 1950s.

Some are afraid it could happen again if they're not given a say on how the area is developed. Morehouse said public input will be received, but likely not until after the new arena opens.