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Riverfront Trails, Offices And Green Spaces Planned For Upcoming South Side Development

McKnight Realty Partners has just purchased South Side terminal properties and plans on investing millions of dollars to bring it up to modern standards for use as office and green space.

McKnight will partner with Friends of the Riverfront, a group that aims to promote access and appreciation of our region’s river resources. In this case, that resource is a riverfront bike trail connected to the Three Rivers Trail.

Thomas Baxter, Executive Director of Friends of the Riverfront, expresses that the existing trail in the area is an asset to the region, and McKnight will make access more apparent by building a riverfront trail link, office space and other accommodations.

“All the parts are there, we just need someone with a vision. We need a really good partner to take us to the finish line,” says Baxter.

Izzy Rudolph, Principal of McKnight Realty Partners, believes they are that partner. This isn’t the first time McKnight has restored vacant historic property. In the 90s, it was McKnight that restored the historic Gimbel’s building after decades of vacancy. The group plans on bringing the terminal space to the 21st century by transforming it into collaborative office space.

That collaborative style of design is characterized by few walls, lots of green spaces and historical charm.The terminal possesses that historical charm thanks to its brick and beam infrastructure, according to Rudolph.

McKnight has plans to develop the space green and use as much original fixture as possible.

Connecting the office space and community to the bike trail is very important to Rudolph.

“We bike three or four times a week down there,” he says. “We thought, ‘Why isn’t this fully accessible to the public?’”

“Other cities are tremendously jealous that we have three rivers,” Baxter says.

Awareness and access to riverfront resources are the biggest challenges, according to Rudolph. McKnight plans on using two bottom floor properties within in the terminal to accommodate parking for up to 650 cars.

As a great deal of the property and train tracks in the area are owned by private companies, "We do have to deal with other major stakeholders when we're looking at developing this sort of riverfront access," says Baxter.

Despite the challenges of rehabbing and renovating the properties, Baxter and Rudolph have high hopes for the project.

“We want to make it shine again,” says Rudolph.


More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

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