This sounded like an encouraging lead sentence for those who favor creative commercial re-use:
The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation won't rush to judgment on the future of Mellon Arena. (P-G, Belko)
But it's belied by just about everything else in the article:
"We recognize the uniqueness of the building, but we also recognize that it was inflicted upon the Hill District; and the residents have made it a principle of their new plan that it not be there," Mr. Ziegler said. (ibid)
Not correct. We know the Community Benefits Agreement governing the process is neutral as to the Arena's final disposition. We know it states a directive to reconnect the street grid to Downtown, but we also know that no development blueprint as of yet does anything whatsoever to reconnect the street grid to Downtown, no matter how many times that phrase is repeated. It really is getting quite frustrating.
We know that State Rep. Jake Wheatley, for one, who represents the Hill District, has written during this conversation that looking at that arena is like seeing a Confederate flag flying over his neighborhood. We also know that development money is ready to be directed towards development projects scattered across the larger Hill District, the recipients of which will be chosen and influenced largely by the Mayor -- who openly favors demolition.
Mr. Ziegler said he could not address the group's plea for more time. "We'd like to see the process keep moving, but I don't know enough about it to comment," he said. (ibid)
It is ordinarily unlike the President of a historic preservation non-profit to be concerned about keeping a development project moving when dealing in matters of months. Elsewhere in the article we find "wait and see" may only mean this week or next.
While PHLF is taking a wait-and-see approach, Mr. Ziegler said it would not favor "saving a couple of roof leaves and putting a one-sided hotel underneath them," an apparent reference to Mr. Pfaffmann's proposal. "We don't support that. We just don't know how it would function economically," he said. (ibid)
Criticism of Pfaffmann and his notions always tend to include withering scorn and animosity. Wonder why that is?
ANALYSIS: Some folks desire to cash in on the actual process of demolishing the arena. Some folks desire to cash in on extending the cookie-cutter development underway that will take its place. Some folks desire to cash in on worthy projects elsewhere, and are happy to support the previously mentioned casher-inners in exchange if that will help.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm all about cashing in! But oughtn't we seriously consider cashing in on a unique and valuable amenity that already exists? What ever happened to waste not, want not? Pittsburgh deserves better than short-term thinking -- than slavishness to the expediency of right-this-second -- tarted up as an "evaluation process" where none exists. The Hill District deserves better than to be used with crass and untrue slogans.