Redevelopment Wrecks: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Several of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s high-profile buildings along Forbes Avenue—all purchased with taxpayer dollars for government-directed redevelopment plans that failed—now sit vacant.  The annual cost to taxpayers in lost revenue on the URA’s property tax-exempt downtown portfolio tops $800,000 a year, including $300,000 that would go to the cash-strapped city, according to Allegheny County’s online assessment records.[1]  Marketplace at Fifth and Forbes—a $522 million project that hinged on retailer Nordstrom opening a store that would have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers—now consists of a handful of shops and empty buildings, precisely because the City’s grandiose redevelopment plan collapsed.  Now, all the City has to show for interfering in a bustling business district with threats of eminent domain and grand redevelopment plan is a run-down, largely vacant section of downtown.[2]

[1] Andrew Conte, “Critics: URA Hinders Growth,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Nov. 8, 2004.

[2] Ibid.