Oxford Development Company’s apartment project for the Strip District, The Yards at 3 Crossings, will have hundreds of people living about 100 feet from the south bank of the Allegheny River as early as this year.
Another upcoming development from the Buncher Company will create even more apartments – plus office space, restaurants and even a grocery store – less than a mile down the riverbank.
With so much new development in the Strip, leaders from Downtown-based nonprofit Riverlife wanted to consolidate those plans.
The result was the Strip District Riverfront Park Vision Plan released Friday by Riverlife. The plan calls for public green space to unify the separate developments that are cropping up along the river and improve the existing riverfront trail there.
Within that green space would be a few destination points meant to attract visitors, interspersed between 11th and 31st Streets. That includes a public plaza at 11th Street, a landing for food vendors at 15th Street and a fishing pier at 21st Street.
Riverlife President and CEO Vivien Li said even though the developers are competitors, they came together for this plan with a common goal of improving property values and attracting visitors.
“There are going to be some historic industrial artifacts that will be kept. That will be a place people can gather,” Li said. She noted public art was also a possibility, in addition to public restrooms and water fountains. The Three Rivers Heritage Trail would be widened and improved within the twenty blocks of the proposed park.
Although the land would remain in private hands if the park is built, Li said a public easement would allow visitors from around the region to access the green space freely.
“We are hopeful too that because there are parallel streets that lead to the riverfront, that the residents in Polish Hill and the Hill District will also eventually be able to link to the riverfront here,” Li said.
She said the proposed green space and public amenities would be paid for by the developers and the city, phased in as developments crop up along the river over the course of the next decade.