Pitt buys parking lot from UPMC

By Dale Shoemaker / News Editor

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Though it has no formal construction plans yet, the Property and Facilities Committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees bought a 2.1-acre portion of land in Oakland Wednesday.

The acquisition is the parking lot just behind the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, which is north of Fifth Avenue and between Bigelow Boulevard and Lytton Avenue. UPMC owns the parking lot, which Pitt bought for $10 million.

Currently, the city of Pittsburgh has zoned the property as Educational Medical Institutional, meaning that Pitt doesn’t have to get any further permits or City approvals to begin building on it.

Arthur Ramicone, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor, chief financial officer and interim executive vice chancellor for business and operations, said in a release the University conducted several studies prior to purchasing the lot and determined it was good for future use, but has not yet set any plans in motion.

Pitt could develop any number of buildings on the site, Ramicone said.

“Given its location, the property could potentially support a number of different uses including, among others, the creation of innovative space to support new collaborations among faculty, students and partners inside or outside the region,” Ramicone said in a statement.

The University monitors local real estate markets for lots like the one it purchased Wednesday, Ramicone said.

The committee does not need further approval from the Board of Trustees to approve the sale. According to Pitt spokesperson Ken Service, the Board of Trustees has granted the Property and Facilities Committee the right to purchase property, even that in excess of $1 million.

The committee will, though, report the sale to the Board’s Budget Committee so it can include the purchase in the University’s capital budget.

The Board of Trustees will not use any money from the University’s operating budget to pay for the lot. Rather, the committee will buy the land with money from the University’s property acquisition fund, though Service did not say how much Pitt currently has in the fund. The fund is a part of Pitt’s capital budget and contains unrestricted money that Pitt received in donations.

Ramicone said the University will undergo several planning stages and approvals processes, which it hasn’t started yet, before it builds on the lot. Pitt will work with the city and Oakland community to determine the best use of the lot, Ramicone said.

“Opportunities such as this, to acquire property of this nature in Oakland,” Ramicone said, “are extremely scarce.”

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