Tax increment financing process begins for Hazelwood site

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A bill calling for the largest tax increment financing in Pittsburgh's history was introduced before city council today, 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 deal would allow up to $90 million in 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 and the Benedum Foundation and Strategic Regional Development Inc., which is affiliated with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and Regional Industrial Development Corp.

Despite controversy over another tax increment financing proposal for a half-billion dollar Buncher development in the Strip District, today's legislation was introduced by Councilman Patrick Dowd with little comment. Mr. Dowd, who chairs the committee that handles TIF legislation, held up the bill for Buncher's tax deal for six months because he said the company's development plans were not specific enough. The corporation dropped its request for the tax deal in January.

Councilman Corey O'Connor, whose district includes the 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 up for 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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