Long-term Pitt construction plan approved by City


TPN File Photo

The Cathedral of Learning alongside the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain.

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

The City of Pittsburgh approved Pitt’s Institutional Master Plan late last month, giving its seal of approval to the University’s construction roadmap for the next 10 to 25 years.

The move capped years of public hearings surrounding the plan, which includes proposals for many new academic and athletic buildings, renovations to existing facilities, as well as new student housing around campus. Community members hotly debated parts of the plan, such as possible changes to the historic Music Building and a potential new 800-bed housing development in Central Oakland. The approved IMP states that the Music Building “should be maintained,” and the housing development was ultimately removed from the plan.

Following several hearings and approval from the City Planning Commission, the City Council’s hearings committee held its own mid-July public debate about the plan. The full council passed a resolution approving the plan by a 8-0 vote on July 27, with District 5’s Corey O’Connor absent from the meeting, and Mayor Bill Peduto signed the resolution into law July 29.

Pitt spokesperson Kevin Zwick said the IMP provides a “flexible framework” for campus development, which comes after collaboration between community stakeholders, organizations and City of Pittsburgh departments.

“This vision considers a number of factors — including campus needs, resident engagement and local topography — and is poised to deliver meaningful benefits to the City as well as our partners, neighbors and University community members,” Zwick said. “Conversations about these development projects will continue, and we look forward to extending and further strengthening our community partnerships as the IMP comes to life.”

Aside from the IMP, the University has made other recent public commitments about its plans for future Oakland construction. It announced late last month that it planned to redevelop its property at 3401 Boulevard of the Allies into a grocery store and residential housing units, as well as sign a series of agreements with the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. when the local nonprofit agreed to sell an Atwood Street property to the University.

Pitt is also partnering with local real estate company Walnut Capital to redevelop a series of rowhouses bounded by Bates Street, Boulevard of the Allies and Zulema Street. What will take the place of the Bates rowhouses is currently unknown.