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Innovation Hub Seeks To Be Good Neighbor At Hazelwood Green

Margaret J. Krauss
90.5 WESA
Crews retrofit an old rolling mill at Hazelwood Green, the remediated brownfield that stretches along Second Avenue in Hazelwood.

The first major development at Hazelwood Green is underway, with decades of construction to come. 

The foundations that own much of the 178-acre former coke works — Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Benedum Foundation and the Heinz Endowments — want the site’s revitalization to serve the region and Hazelwood.

Bulldozers are leveling out ground and crews are retrofitting the site’s old steel-rolling mill, now called Mill 19. The project retains the factory’s massive steel superstructure and will construct three buildings within it. The 12.5 acre Mill 19 site is owned by the Regional Industrial Development Corporation. The first Mill 19 building is expected to open spring 2019 with its two anchor tenants: Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative.

But other preparations are quieter. The foundations continue to invest in Hazelwood, said project manager Rebecca Flora.

“They really believe in this notion of development without displacement, and that is very real and genuine,” she said. “To basically help ensure the neighborhood can become stabilized and can take advantage of everything and we all can rise up together.”

David Brewton of the Hazelwood Initiative said the organization and its partners are developing a detailed affordable housing plan for the neighborhood. They hope it will include 20 percent of the units at Hazelwood Green.

“Because if they build as many as they’re talking about, that could be as many as four, five, six hundred units of affordable housing, integrated right into a beautiful new market rate development,” he said. “Then all of Hazelwood will have places for people of all incomes, that’s really our vision.”

Brewton added that they hope to build 50 units of affordable housing in the former Gladstone building, and that Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh has made free repairs for more than 100 homeowners so they can remain in the neighborhood.

Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved Hazelwood Green's preliminary land development plan in September. Zoned a specially planned district, Flora said the project can help push high standards for building in the region.

“Nobody’s ever done anything like this in the city,” she said. “We’re trying to set a new bar with this site. Because we have a scale, we can do best practices, do new things.”

Flora’s team is working to develop sustainable energy, housing and multi-modal transportation plans. Last month, they issued a request for qualifications, asking developers around the country to submit ideas for its frst development phase, 27 acres of land around the Mill 19 building. Those submissions are due in November. Hazelwood Green is expected to be developed over the next 20 years.

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