South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Pittsburgh explores moving civic offices from Ross Street


The City of Pittsburgh and the Urban Redevelopment Authority are exploring moving city services from the John P. Robin Civic Building to a new Downtown location on the Boulevard of the Allies. 

A proposed new location at 420 Boulevard of the Allies would allow for efficient, one-stop shopping – with parking – for residents seeking services from the departments of Public Works, Permits, Licenses and Inspections, Planning and Zoning, and Mobility and Infrastructure. URA and Housing Authority of Pittsburgh offices would also be moved to the building. 

The URA bought the Civic Building at 200 Ross Street from the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation in 1952 and it has not been updated in decades.  

“Years of disinvestment in this and other city facilities are crippling our efforts to give Pittsburgh residents the services they deserve. We need to look at a new location for these offices, while continuing ongoing upgrades to other buildings including public safety facilities, recreation and senior centers, and Public Works divisions,” Mayor William Peduto said. 

All of the major building systems in the 12-story structure need to be replaced, with issues including: 

• No automatic sprinkler system 

• No fire service access elevators 

• No freight elevator 

• Malfunctioning central heating system 

• Malfunctioning cooling units 

• Water infiltration into basement and elevator pits 

City department and agency offices in the Civic Building are at maximum capacity, there is no additional storage space, and the floorplate of the 1907 building is outdated.  

It would cost an estimated $39.2 million to fully bring the building up to code and renovate its 12 floors of offices, while purchasing and renovating 420 Boulevard of the Allies would cost $38 million. The city could lease additional parts of the Boulevard building to bring in additional revenue. 

If the Civic Building were renovated it would require multiple office moves, disruption in services to residents and businesses, and additional off-site office lease costs. Only one move would be required to the Boulevard building, into an energy efficient, ADA-accessible, and newly remodeled site with more amenities for residents and workers. 

If ultimately approved by Pittsburgh City Council, the move to the new building could be completed in 2019. 

No legislation has yet been forwarded to City Council. 


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