Carrie Furnace, UPMC-Braddock site redevelopments march on
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Plans to convert the land around the Carrie Furnace into an office and industrial park advanced Friday following three separate votes by the Allegheny County Redevelopment Authority.
Members approved a $183,000 contract with Independent Enterprises Inc. of Collier to tie waste-water lines serving the 168-acre site along the Monongahela River to the Allegheny County Sewer Authority system.
They authorized authority staff to seek bids to tear down the railroad trestle that cuts the property in two.
Finally, they ratified an application seeking $500,000 in state gaming funds to help finance an effort to raise the eastern portion of the tract out of the river's 100-year flood plain. That work, which includes bringing 75,000 cubic yards of fill material to the site, is being carried out with the help of the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Carrie Furnace project is named for the blast furnaces that provided iron for U.S. Steel Corp.'s nearby Homestead Works for more than a century. Future plans call for making the two remaining furnaces the centerpieces for a national historic site devoted to the steel industry.
The 168 acres are on both sides of the Monongahela and include parts of Pittsburgh, Swissvale, Rankin, Munhall and Whitaker.
Redevelopment Authority members also voted to move plans forward for the reuse of a UPMC-Braddock hospital site less than a mile up river from the Carrie Furnace tract.
Authority members authorized staff to work out terms of a sales agreement with TREK Development that would transfer ownership of the three-acre former hospital property to the developer for about $250,000.
TREK plans to break ground there Sept. 28 for 24 apartments, company president William J. Gatti Jr. said Friday.
The apartments are the first element in TREK's plan to convert the site into housing, commercial space and a park. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave the land to the county after it closed its UPMC-Braddock Hospital in 2010.
TREK's $20.3-million redevelopment plan calls for 11 single-family homes, at least 20,000 square feet of commercial and flex-office space, and the community park in addition to the rental units.
The first tenant signed for the separate commercial building is a MedExpress urgent-care center. That 5,000-square-foot facility is being built through a collaboration between MedExpress and health-insurance giant Highmark Inc.
Mr. Gatti said his TREK is negotiating with a second potential tenant interested in leasing 10,000 square feet. That company, which he declined to name, provides educational services.
The authority's actions on both projects drew praise from county Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
"The steps ... move us closer to redeveloping two key sites in the Mon Valley, which will result in hundreds of jobs, as well as new residential, commercial, light industrial and flex-office space," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "Our efforts will also return dozens of acres of land to the tax rolls, generating income for some of our most distressed municipalities."
Allegheny County officials estimate that about 1,000 jobs will be created during the first 15 years of redevelopment at the Carrie Furnace industrial park.
First Published June 30, 2012 12:00 am