$9.5M loan jump-starts development of former LTV Steel site in Hazelwood
Pittsburgh’s largest redevelopment project is “ready to go” thanks to a $9.5 million loan from a regional economic development fund, officials said Thursday.
Representatives of Power of 32 Site Development Fund LP, which provides money for projects in a 32-county area that extends into Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, announced the low-interest loan for the former LTV Steel mill property owned by three local foundations.
The money will help pay for a 1.5-mile “complete street” through the 178-acre Almono property in Hazelwood, according to Donald Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the site manager.
“This $9.5 million was crucial in allowing us to complete that complete street and to open up this site for development,” Smith said during a gathering of officials at the site. “The good news is, thanks to their investment and the support of all our public partners, we’re ready to go.”
Power of 32 fund Chairman Dennis Yablonsky, who also heads the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, said 15 private entities created the fund with donations of $49 million. Loans are designed to help pay for infrastructure and prepare former industrial properties for construction.
The Pittsburgh region is handicapped in attracting new companies because it doesn’t have enough sites prepared for new occupants, Yablonsky said.
“For the last seven years in a row, the overwhelming No. 1 reason that we lose is we don’t have available pad-ready sites or buildings for people to be able to move into very quickly,” he said. “Our competitors have more, so we decided to do something about it.”
The Almono partnership — including the Heinz Endowments and Richard King Mellon and Claude Worthington Benedum foundations — is preparing the LTV property for $1.3 billion in offices, light manufacturing and housing.
The complete street is Signature Boulevard, which will run from Second Avenue to Hazelwood Avenue and is called such because the 90-foot-wide right of way will accommodate vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, drain off storm water through natural ground filtration and house all utility lines.
RIDC has $80 million plans to reuse the last remaining LTV mill building — Mill 19 — for offices and light manufacturing. RIDC will move its office to the building.
Smith provided new details about the project, including a public plaza twice the size of Market Square that the Almono partners are planning for just south of the Mill 19 building.
He said Almono also plans $7 million in traffic improvements to streets outside the property, including a queuing lane for traffic to line up on a ramp leading to the Glenwood Bridge and turning lanes in both directions from Second Avenue to the Hot Metal Bridge.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called Almono “a model of 21st-century development” and a place that will provide jobs for Pittsburgh’s growing high-tech economy.
“This will be a place,” he predicted, “where people will come to study from around the world about how we could create the highest level of sustainability on a site that was heavy industry.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or [email protected].