LTV site in Hazelwood nearly ready for new identity
Work to level a former steel mill in Hazelwood is expected to be done by the end of August, clearing the way for contractors to build a 1½-mile road and run utility lines through the 178-acre property, a developer said on Friday.
“Once the infrastructure work is under way, I think it will unlock tremendous interest in the site” from prospective tenants, said Donald F. Smith Jr., president of the Downtown-based Regional Industrial Development Corp.
RIDC is partnering with four foundations under the name Almono to transform the former LTV Steel Co. site. They bought the riverfront property in 2002 and envision more than $1 billion in development happening there during the next two decades, including 1,400 housing units, 1.3 million square feet of office space and nearly 950,000 square feet of industrial space.
Smith said the partnership has received inquiries from a range of developers and potential tenants, although he would not identify them. He said he thinks the first phase of infrastructure work will boost interest.
The partnership hopes to award contracts for infrastructure work in the fall. That work, with an estimated cost of $40 million, is expected to take about a year to complete.
“When you can actually see something physical going in, like a road or a sewage line, it’s another way to think positively about what is happening at that site,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, who represents Hazelwood.
The $8 million in grading work that is nearly complete left two buildings on the property untouched: a 1,600-foot-long building known as Mill 19 and a former railroad roundhouse.
“We’re looking at ways to creatively reuse the buildings to preserve the industrial character of the site,” Smith said.
Smith cited projects elsewhere where old, gritty industrial buildings became corporate homes, such as Urban Outfitters’ corporate campus in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where the clothing retailer spent $100 million renovating and retrofitting five old buildings.
Most naval activities ceased at the shipyard in the mid-1990s. Since 2000, when the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development bought 1,000 abandoned acres there, more than $130 million in publicly funded infrastructure improvements have leveraged more than $700 million in private investment, according to the Navy Yard’s website.
In October, Pittsburgh City Council approved an $80 million tax-increment financing plan to help prepare the Almono site for development. The largest such deal in city history, it will use two-thirds of new property tax revenue generated by the development over 20 years to pay off bonds for the project.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].