The URA has unanimously approved a preliminary tax increment financing plan for the
project, a redevelopment of the former LTV steel mill site in Hazelwood. If a deal is reached, it would give up to $90 million in funding for roads, parks, utilities, and other public improvements for the development—the largest of its kind in city history.
According to the URA’s Paul Svoboda, a TIF would direct future tax revenue—to be paid in full by the developer—to pay for specific public infrastructure improvements at the site.
“But for the TIF, these kinds of public infrastructure investments couldn’t happen,” he says. It allows for these expensive improvements to be made ahead of new construction and without obligating the city. Svoboda says all debt would be taken on by the developer.
The 178-acre site—which calls for a mix of office, research and residential uses—is owned by a partnership that includes the Heinz Endowments and the Benedum Foundation. RIDC is currently managing the site.
Svoboda says the plan would extend improvements into the existing Hazelwood community, a neighborhood long deserving in investment, and would not be limited to the brownfield site.
Across the Monongahela River is the South Side Works, also a former steel mill site. Svoboda says because of tax increment financing there that project has benefitted from extensive public investments, including a riverfront park.
Although the Almono site is the largest development site to date in Pittsburgh, with a massive amount of work ahead, Svoboda hopes for a similar success in Hazelwood.
The TIF still needs approval from the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and Allegheny County.
Last summer, a new segment of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail was extended into the Almono site, connecting Hazelwood to Oakland and Downtown Pittsburgh.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Paul Svoboda