Earthmoving begins first major construction project
Pittsburgh, PA — Earthmoving has begun on the first major construction project for a unique development in the Hazelwood area of Pittsburgh. The Phase 1 infrastructure, valued at $27 million, will provide a new riverfront street in the city of Pittsburgh (near the intersection of Hazelwood Ave. and Old Second Ave.) and prepare the entire site for redevelopment. The site’s history can be traced back to 1884, when the J&L Company started its first industrial plants along both sides of the Monongahela River. In 1887, the Hot Metal Bridge was constructed to connect the two plants owned and run by J&L Company. In 1974, LTV purchased J&L, and in 1997 the Hazelwood plant was closed. In 2002, four southwestern Pennsylvania foundations formed a limited partnership with RIDC (Regional Industrial Development Corporation), a non-profit private development organization as general partner. The group purchased the 178-acre LTV Steel Hazelwood site with the understanding that “this riverfront plateau offered a rare opportunity to set a new standard for urban riverfront property development.” The name Almono came from the three Pittsburgh rivers — the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio. The complete street project will include utilities and act as a transportation link to connect the site with regional economic centers in Oakland and downtown Pittsburgh. The street will cover 1.5 mi. (2.41 km) and include vehicle lanes, parking lanes, sidewalks and a cycle track with porous pavement. In addition, there will be new storm sewers, water lines and advanced storm water facilities, as well as fiber optic, telecommunication, electric and other utility lines. Groundbreaking for the project was held on Oct. 30, and the general contractor is Independence Excavating of Cheswik. This phase is expected to take 18 months, with the road opening in the spring of 2017. According to Tim White, RIDC senior VP of development, the complete street is the first of its kind in the City of Pittsburgh, built to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and capture all the storm water. The project has received support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is part of the TIF district created with the support of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and School District of Pittsburgh. The entire 178-acre site will reportedly utilize more than $1.1 billion of investment within the Hazelwood community and the development of 5.7 million s/f (529,547 sq m) of light industrial, office, small retail, R&D, hotel, residential and community space. The Phase 1 Development plan is expected early next year, and will include request for proposals (RFPs) to developers for specific parcels. The plan includes a two-acre public plaza as well as residential and office/light industrial buildings. Almono hopes to issue development RFPs for certain Phase 1 parcels later this year. Building construction could occur at the same time as the road construction. In addition, a sustainability plan would lead the site to be carbon neutral and one of the most sustainable large-scale brownfield developments in North America.