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Fifth-Forbes New Plan

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation has served as a member of the Plan C Task Force appointed by the Mayor to develop a new plan for the downtown central retail area, the plan was released on March 10th. We issue the following statements in support of the plan prepared by Hunter Associates, the consultant:

1. We feel the Hunter plan largely substantiates the Eckstut plan that we submitted two years ago and adds some useful new ingredients with the proposed hotel/condominium and the move of the public market to Murphy’s.

2. The Hunter plan also calls for purchase of properties, or in lieu of cash participation by building owners in the plan on an equity basis, something we advocated with the Eckstut plan.

3. We have learned that if URA is to be involved, eminent domain must be on the table legally. There is no way around it.

4. We believe the improvement of downtown retail offerings must be accompanied by significant housing, new and loft, specialty office space, hotel, public market and parking. The Hunter recommendations include those.

5. Negotiations that entail cash acquisitions will be carried out with eminent domain in the legal background because we understand that it will alleviate capital gain taxes for the property owners and enable them to obtain more money than fair market value for their buildings at perhaps 120%. That is the fairest route for the property owners; otherwise if the plan does not go forward the value of their buildings will probably go down.

Eminent domain is part of the required legal system affecting redevelopment authorities under Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Law, but it is not to be used as a threatening tool here, but rather as a financial tool to the benefit of the property owners.

6. Therefore we support the plan and Hunter’s recommendations on the basis that all property owners whose properties are needed for the execution of the plan will be offered cash sale or various ways to participate in the plan rather than accept cash acquisition if they wish it and may benefit financially if URA is the agent of acquisition.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633