Bill proposes Hazelwood tax increment financing

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A bill calling for the largest tax increment financing in Pittsburgh's history was introduced before city council Tuesday, bringing the city one step closer to an arrangement that would provide upwards of $90 million in tax benefits for a proposed $900 million residential and commercial development in Hazelwood.

The proposal would allow a portion of the tax dollars paid on the property to be earmarked for roads, utilities, parks and other public improvements on the riverfront land, the former site of the LTV coke works.

It would lay the foundation for a proposed mixed-use development at the site, the last of the city's brownfields, that would feature more than 2 million square feet of office and research and development space and as many as 1,200 units of housing, either townhouses, condos or apartments.

The site is owned by a consortium of foundations called Almono, which is made up of the Heinz Endowments, the Benedum Foundation, Strategic Regional Development Inc., which is affiliated with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the Regional Industrial Development Corp.

Despite controversy over another tax increment financing proposal for a half-billion dollar Buncher development in the Strip District, legislation for the Hazelwood project was introduced Tuesday by Councilman Patrick Dowd with little comment.

Mr. Dowd, who chairs the committee that handles TIF legislation, had held up the bill for Buncher's tax deal for six months because he said that company's development plans were not specific enough. The company dropped its request for the tax deal in January.

Councilman Corey O'Connor, whose district includes the Almono project site, called it "not only great for Hazelwood but for the whole region."

If all goes as planned, the bill will be up for a preliminary vote by council March 13 and a final vote in two weeks.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.


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