East Liberty development remains in limbo
A dispute over the configuration of an East Liberty park has stalled plans for a major residential and commercial development along Penn Avenue.
Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday again delayed a vote on rezoning the site of Penn Plaza Apartments between South Negley and South Euclid avenues from residential to mixed use. Members rescheduled the vote for Wednesday, but say it likely will be postponed.
Pennley Park South, which owns the property, has plans for an access street that would lop off about one-third of Enright Parklet.
Residents have opposed the plan, and city officials said they hope to negotiate a compromise.
“We won’t accept for a developer to come in and say we’re going to build a road here across public land without a robust public discussion,” said Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff. “… We’re still committed to finding a solution.”
Downtown attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents Pennley Park, said the development would include additional public green space to make up for the loss.
It includes a public space on Penn Avenue, a tree-lined walkway from Penn to the park and a grassy area from South Negley to the park.
The Pittsburgh Planning Commission required the developer to maintain at least 2.2 acres of green space, equal to that of the park.
“Our proposal provides them with park space equal to the current size of Enright Parklet with 91,000 square feet of contiguous park space and the park on Penn Avenue, which is what they’ve always requested,” Kamin said.
Pennley Park plans to demolish the two Penn Plaza buildings and replace them with two new buildings of affordable and market-rate apartments and ground-floor retail space.
Enright Parklet is tucked behind the two existing buildings.
Residents have lobbied the city to retain the park, saying it provides a critical space for recreation in a densely populated area.
“We really believe that it’s such a large site surrounded by so many streets that there are a lot of ways to access the site,” said Angelique Bamberg, 46, of East Liberty, a member of the Enright Parklet Neighborhood Association. “We believe there are a lot of ways for them to preserve the park and have a really nice development site.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or [email protected].