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URA Moves to Subsidize Several Developments in Pittsburgh

Friday, July 09, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board Thursday made early moves to subsidize developments in the Strip District, Squirrel Hill and the South Side and sold properties to make way for an expanded YMCA in the Hill District.

The subsidies it preliminarily approved were tax increment financing (TIF) plans to support building public infrastructure at: a mixed-use, commercial and residential redevelopment of the lower Strip District between 11th and 21st streets, near the URA-owned Produce Terminal; and a third phase of redevelopment of the former Nine Mile Run slag heap into housing units at the Summerset at Frick Park, extending the development site toward Swisshelm Park. No development costs, designs or timetables were released for either project, as they are still in early planning stages and the board’s action was merely the first of many moves necessary to approve the tax subsidies.

The URA board also approved extending a TIF plan originally approved in 1999 for the SouthSide Works, expanding the money available for infrastructure from $25 million to $35 million, in order to help pay for a new parking garage at the former brownfield site and new riverfront park improvements. Like the other TIF measures, it also needs approvals by the city’s three local taxing bodies — the city, the county and Pittsburgh Public Schools.

The YMCA plans to break ground by September for the expansion of its athletic facilities on Centre Avenue, with the help of 18 adjacent lots controlled by the URA. The expanded building — with the goal of being finished by the end of 2011 — would include an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, health center, computer lab and other facilities.

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