New arena design modified
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The Penguins have tweaked the design of the new arena's Fifth Avenue storefronts and its Centre Avenue side and made changes to an adjacent garage in a bid to win the favor of the city planning commission.
Architects will take the changes before the commission for approval on Tuesday, slightly less than a month after members panned much of the previous design as bland and too mall-like, particularly along Fifth Avenue.
On the Fifth Avenue side, HOK Sport, the arena architect, has altered the look of the storefronts and redesigned the awnings in an effort to make the proposed retail space more individualized.
Planning Commissioner Todd Reidbord had criticized the look of the Fifth Avenue facade last month, saying it was too much "like Disneyland, where everything's exactly the same." He urged the team to vary the look and add more character to the retail space.
Commission Chair Wrenna Watson also raised concerns about the east side of the arena facing Crawford Square. To address the issue, the Penguins, for the second time, appear to have added more glass to try to enliven the space.
The team also has made some changes to a section on Centre Avenue near where the arena's suite entrance will be, zoning administrator Susan Tymoczko said. Commissioner Barbara Ernsberger had said that some portions of the building, including those along Centre, were too "flat looking."
Ms. Watson said yesterday she still was unhappy with the east side facing the Hill. She said the team has replaced some of the brick with siding.
"To me it looks worse," she said.
The biggest changes may have been made to the five-story garage that will be attached to the arena. It appears that the team has deepened the color of the materials and created more of a wave-like pattern along the long side of the structure.
Ms. Watson said she already has conveyed her concerns about the changes to the Penguins. She said she is expecting architects to make some additional proposals Tuesday to satisfy objections so the project can move forward.
The team declined comment yesterday.
The Penguins are hoping to break ground on the $290 million building this summer, with completion scheduled before the start of the 2010-11 hockey season.
The latest drawings can be viewed on the city planning Web site at www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cp/.
First Published May 3, 2008 12:00 am