SEA requests proposals for arena demolition

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The owner of the Civic Arena has taken the first step toward demolishing it.

City-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority officials are requesting proposals from firms interested in designing how the silver-domed landmark will be taken down.

Proposals are due Oct. 15. The SEA has received inquiries from about 12 companies with at least an interest in bidding for the work, said Doug Straley, SEA project executive.

"We know groups are looking at it," he said.

Despite strong protests from those in the local preservation community, the SEA board voted unanimously Sept. 16 to demolish the 49-year-old structure to make way for an office and residential and retail redevelopment proposed by the Penguins.

Less than a week later, the SEA posted the advertisement for demolition design services.

Rob Pfaffmann, the Downtown architect who is seeking to save the arena through his group Reuse the Igloo, said the request for proposals was anticipated, adding he expects the SEA to follow all planning and zoning laws related to the demolition.

At the same time, Reuse the Igloo is plotting its own legal strategy and likely will seek an injunction at some point to block the arena's razing.

Mr. Pfaffmann said the group also has been in contact with a developer interested in preserving the arena and "we continue to explore ways we can bring the developer to the table."

The SEA, under its timetable for the arena, probably will begin removing asbestos and auctioning off seats and other contents within six weeks to two months.

The demolition contract could be awarded in February, with the actual work, estimated at $5 million, starting in March. The SEA does not plan to implode the building, meaning that demolition and site regrading could take nine to 12 months.


Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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