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Greater Pitt site project advances

FAA OKs demolition of old air terminal

Saturday, March 20, 1999

By Carmen J. Lee, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Allegheny County Commissioner Mike Dawida's daily phone calls to Washington, D.C., paid off yesterday with approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to raze the old terminal at the former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport.

Demolition of the 47-year-old facility will pave the way for a development project that will include a business park, corporate aviation center and an air cargo center.

The development is expected to generate new tax revenue, help attract new carriers and other aviation industries to Pittsburgh International Airport and create a projected 2,000 jobs over five years, not including construction and spinoff jobs.

"With this OK, we'll be able to start what has been a stalled project and create an enormous benefit for the region by increasing air cargo," Dawida said yesterday.

The commissioner estimated a new cargo center would double, and possibly triple, the airport's capacity to transport air cargo, a rapidly growing global market.

The old terminal was built in 1952 and abandoned after the existing Pittsburgh International Airport opened in 1992.

Demolition of the old terminal began in 1997 but was halted last year so asbestos could be removed from the building. Also, county officials had to fulfill certain FAA requirements, such as conducting public hearings about tearing down the terminal.

County officials expect the work to resume within five days, with 107 days scheduled for demolition.

That means construction of the business park and other centers could begin within 112 days.

Dawida plans to formally announce the FAA approval during a 9:30 a.m. press conference today at the old terminal.

"We've been waiting for two years," Dawida said. "It feels good that all of this has come to pass."

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