Friday, April 20, 2012

URA Updates -- Soccer Stadium & More

I had forgotten yesterday was the 3rd Thursday of a month which contains a Friday the 13th during a leap year.

In no particular order:

Also on Thursday, the board voted to acquire for "nominal consideration" the streets surrounding the $119 million Bakery Square 2.0 mixed use development proposed by developer Walnut Capital Partners at the former Reizenstein School on the Shadyside-Larimer border.

The transaction is part of the planning for the public infrastructure around the development. The URA hopes to secure a $1.96 million federal grant to help with that effort. (P-G, Mark Belko)

Grants for some phases of certain developments seem to go as high as $2 million then. We assume directly acquiring streets from such entities is a regular occurrence and efficient. We assume the School District and its students have escaped the tumult relatively unscathed.

URA board members also approved a $300,000 grant to help fund a program designed to assist Pittsburgh neighborhoods in putting together their own plans for economic development and other initiatives.

Under the program, neighborhoods would be eligible for grants of $10,000 to $50,000 to help pay for design and planning services. The URA is working with the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh to establish the program. (ibid)

Nice. Hope that's serious enough money as these things go.

The city's Urban Redevelopment Authority board helped to clear the way Thursday for the construction of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds' new $10.2 million stadium at Station Square.

Board members unanimously approved a $500,000 loan to the soccer team to complete the last piece of financing needed for the 3,500-seat stadium on the riverbank between the Sheraton Station Square hotel and the Fort Pitt Bridge.

The Riverhounds hope to break ground on the project within the next few weeks and have it completed in the fall, said David Wilke, one of the team owners. (ibid)

I didn't know we were erecting a soccer stadium! What's it going to look like?

"This is really a community asset," URA board chairman Yarone Zober said. (ibid)

Assuming it's used for youth and college sports and music and other cultural events, it sure is. All assets are unique and its "communities" are heterogeneous -- this project sounds like it will be of a generalized benefit to the immediate region. Station Square is an isolated pleasure-colony and not much of a local community in terms of residential quality of life, and spectacle admissions lean toward broad, regional consumer benefits. To that extent it's not so much a neighborhood-oriented project as it is a core lumbar commercial one.

I don't know what you call Bakery Square. Station Square East? A cervical spine commercial project? Disc surgery? Growing wings? Call it happening.

Finally, it's not URA business but we can add this to the round-up:

Pittsburgh visitors soon will be able to feed parking meters with plastic as the city moves to high-tech, solar-powered machines that accept coins or credit cards. (Trib, Bob Bauder; see also P-G)

Just wait until somebody gets a dubious parking ticket while having their assessment appeal rejected. People will be lighting themselves on fire.