Civic Arena Engineering & Innovated in Pittsburgh





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Published on Jan 31, 2009

Thanks to Rick Sebak and WQED

Civic Arena Adaptive Reuse

Promote a sustainable reuse strategy for the historic Civic Arena
Demonstrate that sustainability and reuse of large structures can be an asset to planning, design and development. It will cost over $12 million just to demolish Civic Arena, without having built anything in its place. The term fix-it-first often applies to road and bridge infrastructure, but it also applies to buildings, especially those that can be anchors for new development.

The Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena) is a Pittsburgh landmark and an icon of our citys prowess in engineering and materials. It is a one-of-a-kind building in the world, and worthy of preservation and adaptive reuse.

Objective1: Develop a broader vision for the Lower Hill with the Arena as an anchor
•Imagine if this innovative structure of the 20th century were adapted to meet the needs of the 21st century Hill District and, of course, the region. As a unique destination, it could attract worldwide interest and generate new business and the revenue to maintain the character-defining structural shell. The reuse of obsolete sports facilities has precedent and similar ideas are being explored in Detroit for the old Tigers Stadium. Growing from the ashes of failed urban renewal, the Civic Arena could be an anchor for a sustainable urban plan that integrates with the new Consol Arena and the rebirth of the Hill.

Objective 2: Integrate advocacy for the reuse into civic engagement processes of the city and Hill.
•Identify and involve key stakeholders to explore the potential for this idea.
•Identify potential uses for the structure that are responsive both to market forces and community needs.
•Facilitate the integration of the concept for reuse into the URA and Hill process for a community wide master plan.

Objective 3: Advocate for and support a technical and economic/market feasibility study of the surrounding site to support a sustainable development concept.

Project Outcomes
•A pragmatic yet visionary plan that has the support of the community.
•The creation of a civic and cultural destination unique to Pittsburgh.
•A sustainable economic plan that can support business and job creation.
•An inspirational development that bridges the gap between downtown and Hill District development.

Time Frame
•Identification of feasible reuse: 2008-10
•Renovation and reuse: 2010-20


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