Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh holy sweet babies please let this happen

The Consol Energy Center is impressive, it really is. It dominates the view into downtown from the Hill District, greeting you with a booming "HELLO! HOCKEY!!" when driving down Centre Avenue. Even its construction time has been so atypical of the Pittsburgh-esque glacial-paced development trend we've grown accustomed to.

Either way, the Con is not the Igloo. It is not one of the great sport of hockey's last great temples, and it never will be in our lifetime. Which is why we are delighted to find out that there are folks like us out there that want to see to it that the Civic (and later, the Mellon) Arena remains intact and becomes a historical site in our city. And, unlike us, these people are architects.
A local architect today took his battle to save Mellon Arena from the wrecking ball to its owner, the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority.

Rob Pfaffmann urged the SEA board to allow for a full public dialogue on the future of the arena, including his plan to salvage the 48-year-old landmark and transform it into a community ice skating rink along with shops, entertainment, and restaurants similar to Chicago's Millenium Park. He also would reconnect Wylie Avenue in the Hill District with Downtown as a pedestrian greenway.

Mr. Pfaffmann, a Downtown architect, said the team may be able to secure historic tax credits for the development. He also feels it is more cost effective to work with the existing infrastructure than to tear it up and start anew.
Chicago's Millenium Park (click for a bigger one):

In case you were wondering, yes, those are gardens on the roofs of some of those buildings. That's a tag team effort in garnering Rustbelt's support. Tell me that wouldn't be an epic win for the old girl, who has seen too many amazing memories over the years to be simply torn down.

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