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Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today introduced legislation to City Council that will turn a former downtown fire house, located at 344 Boulevard of the Allies, into a key development of Point Park University's downtown expansion plans called the Academic Village Initiative.

"Point Park University's aggressive transformation plans are a key component in ensuring that downtown's revitalization continues," Ravenstahl said. "This is a terrific partnership that will allow for Point Park University to continue their expansion plans downtown, and at the same time, improve a facility that will be used by both the City and the University."

The City will sell the three-story, 11,580 sq. ft. property to Point Park University for the appraised value of $275,000. The University will rehabilitate the property as part of a University Student and Convocation Center that will extend through several properties on the Blvd of the Allies.

"Point Park is pleased to be able to work with the City on a transaction that would benefit both the University and Downtown Pittsburgh," said Paul Hennigan, president of Point Park University. "The option agreement being considered before City Council is yet another step in making the Academic Village Initiative a reality."

The Student and Convocation Center is the final piece to the first phase of Point Park's Academic Village Initiative, a multi-block living and learning hub that will transform the campus and downtown. The Center will encompass areas for group and quiet study; advanced computer labs; a gymnasium and health center; student club offices; a multi-purpose student lounge for lectures, performances and other student activities; and a 1,800-seat space for community events and activities. The University is currently raising funds that will allow it to begin work on the Student and Convocation Center. That effort is expected to take three to five years.

Last fall, Point Park completed the restoration of two residence buildings on the Boulevard of the Allies. Other development happening along that corridor include: a $4 million smart transportation project at Wood Street from Ft. Pitt Blvd. to Third Ave.; and an urban park at the corner of the Blvd. of the Allies and Wood Street.

The legislation also provides the City with a 50-year lease to continue to utilize the facility at the cost of one dollar. Currently, an EMS medic unit and police bicycle patrol detail operates out of the facility. They will be temporarily relocated during renovations at no cost to the City. After renovations are complete, the units will return to a more updated facility.

"Market Square's revitalization is bringing in new investment downtown, creating jobs and attracting new residents," Ravenstahl said. "That momentum is continuing along the Forbes Avenue Corridor, and with Point Park's efforts, the other side of Market Square is getting the attention it deserves to help us turn downtown into a 24/7 City that attracts even more residents and economic development."