Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thoughts on Dahntahn - pt. 4

I decided to abandon my polemic on downtown revitalization as there has been a flury of "interest" in downtown housing in the last few weeks, most notably in the Pittsburgh Business Times. Additionally, however, an associate, The Pissy Inebriated Quasi-Bureaucrat will be doing some pro bono work on Downtown, and has promised to fill me in on the details when he's done.

But that won't be for a few weeks.

Some highlights of what I didn't get a chance to say:

* The URA needs to sell off property Downtown, but is hamstrung by its legal ability to just sell off property willy-nilly. The URA can't just put up a for sale sign, it seems, but needs, in order to thwart speculators, to have a buyer that will complete redevelopment. Apparently this goes for all URA property, not just Downtown. This is a problem.

* Parking is a bitch Dowtown and is a major drawback.

* The City seems to have some advantages when it comes to remediation of buildings that contain hazardous materials. The elimination of lead paint, PBCs, and asbestos on the public dime could be considered a public purpose and could lead to more interested developers for the property.

* Selling off property piecemeal is OK, although a pain to manage.

* The URA seems to do very well in directing funds, making loans, and making grants. They should focus on that.

* Why isn't there a CDC downtown like in Southside, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, or the Northside? I mean a real CDC that undertakes development on its own.

* What have PHLF, the Foundation Community, and the Business Community done for their neighborhood lately? Isn't it time they pony up dough?

* Can Downtown revitalize without bringing down another part of the region? At this point, no.

* Old buildings are nice, but you don't get a good level of marginal efficiency from managing 10 units at a time.

PIQ-B will get back to me with what he finds out.

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