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URA ready to seek new developer for Hunt Armory site

Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

An ice rink is “still on the table” but that won’t be the only idea the city will consider for the redevelopment of the Hunt Armory in Shadyside.

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board members authorized a new round of proposals for the conversion of the historic East End site Thursday but made it clear that any plan brought before them must be financially viable.

Their decision comes more than six months after a proposal to redevelop the building into an Olympic-size ice rink fell apart when the developer was unable to secure the necessary financing for the project.

Kevin Acklin, URA board chairman and chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto, said the city is still hoping that some type of recreational use “stays in the mix” for the redevelopment of the building but added that “we don’t want to just limit it to a single use.”

While the new request for proposals won’t restrict potential developers, it will caution them that the community had voiced opposition to a residential project in the last go around, URA executive director Robert Rubinstein said. Such a proposal could face an uphill battle, he noted.

Bowing to community wishes, the URA board selected Toronto-based Cadan Inc. and Kratsa Properties in December 2015 to convert the Emerson Street property into a family-friendly ice-skating facility with three rinks, a cafe, and a suspended walking and running track. Among other amenities, there also would have been 164 underground parking spaces.

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