A proposed $900 million development at the former LTV coke works in Hazelwood already is attracting considerable interest, long before the ground is broken.
Don Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp., said Wednesday he was "extremely confident" that he could secure a tenant for the 178-acre site if it were ready for development today.
"We're anxious to get the go-ahead to go because we think the demand is there," he said during a meeting with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board members.
Mr. Smith said interest in the site is coming primarily from technology, engineering, manufacturing and development companies. He said RIDC is in "active negotiations" with potential tenants. "We have no commitments. We have a lot of interest," he said.
RIDC officials also have heard from six to eight national or regional residential developers with an interest in the site, he said.
The proposed development on the bank of the Monongahela River 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. No single-family homes are planned.
It also would include a "signature" riverfront boulevard and more than 26 acres of open space, including parks and trails. Almono LP, the site owner, wants to connect the development to Hazelwood, which has fallen on hard times since the coke works there closed in 1997.
Key to the development is $80 million to $90 million in tax increment financing, the largest such package in the city's history, which is needed to fund $143 million in infrastructure requirements, including roads and sewer and water lines.
The city Urban Redevelopment Authority board has given the go-ahead for the financing, which will divert 65 percent of the property tax revenue generated by the site to pay for improvements. It still must be approved by the city, Allegheny County and the city schools.
RIDC, which is managing the site for Almono, plans to submit an application for a specially planned district next week.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.