Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pittsburgh is becoming a CBA town

Continental Real Estate Cos., a developer hoping to build a hotel and entertainment complex between Heinz Field (the structure on the left in the picture) and PNC Park (on the right), is struggling with local authorities in a dispute over an option agreement involving the land (see here for another account of the story). The Stadium Authority, which owns the land, believes that the option has expired, but Continental has stated that it's going to press on with the project. "Well, we're going to sue them" (meaning the Stadium Authority), Continental's chairman said.

But the Mayor and Stadium Authority Executive Director are much more interested in negotiating than going to court. There will certainly be much wrangling about the price--Continental wants to pay about $1.3 million, the price it claims was set in the option agreement, even though the property may be worth much more. But Pittsburgh wants the development to happen, especially because the city expects that the project will generate a good bit of tax revenue.

It looks like a CBA will be part of the negotiations too though. Community groups in Pittsburgh have been rallying for a CBA concerning the project, and organizations like One Hill, Pittsburgh United and North Side United have shown their strength and tenacity in negotiating to get community benefits. The dispute over the option agreement also gives the community a fair bit of leverage to get the developer on board to negotiate a CBA.

1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

Oh, that would be nice -- but you may want to double-check some things. Firstly, the proposed CBA that the (problematic as it is) community group One Hill actually signed and ratified regarding the Penguins arena development remains unsigned and unacknowledged by the Penguins, the City, and the County, gathering dust. It could very well be that the City et al just needed the burst of good news that would come from One Hill agreeing to something it calls "historic", only to watch as the coalition shrivels and disperses before anyone in power actually agrees to the agreement.

And on the Stadium Authority issue -- some members of the Authority and elsewhere in our government are being pretty heroic, as well as the neighborhood groups on the North Side, but it does not appear to me that the Mayor and the SA Director are on board with renegotiating the lease, much less for "community benefits". There is a vacancy on the Authority board due to the Mayor's removal of the member which started this whole CBA agitation. Filling that vacancy would break a tie, yet the vacancy has persisted for two months.