Pittsburgh-Area Historic Site Revamp Moves Forward

The county redevelopment authority has selected a new partner to develop infrastructure and tech-flex buildings at the 52-acre property.

Carrie Furnace Site, Allegheny County, Pa.

Carrie Furnace Site, Allegheny County, Pa. Image via Google Earth

A meeting last week has marked a turning point in the future of the Carrie Furnace Site, a sprawling gathering of acreage that was once home to the historic Carrie Blast Furnaces in suburban Pittsburgh.

The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County voted on August 26 to form a partnership with the Regional Industrial Development Corp. to help transform the 52-acre site into a new economic hub with the capacity to accommodate up to 500,000 square feet of development.

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“We are very excited to launch the Carrie Furnace site forward and bring investment and jobs back to the area,” Timothy White, senior vice president with the Regional Industrial Development Corp., told Commercial Property Executive. It’s been quite some time since the Carrie Furnace site has been a productive source for Allegheny County.

Located along the Monongahela River, the Carrie Blast Furnaces opened in 1881 and ultimately spanned 168 acres before closing in 1978. Allegheny County acquired the land in 2005. While a portion of the property, having been the site of the Battle of Homestead in 1892, is part of a National Historic Landmark, the remainder of the land stays in the hands of the county. RAAC has long planned a revitalization project and early on completed a $20 million investment to clear and remediate much of the land, which bridges the boroughs of Munhall, Rankin, Swissvale and Whitaker.

A seasoned partner

In selecting RIDC for the Carrie Furnace site venture, RAAC has chosen one of the most experienced developers in the Mon Valley. RIDC has completed six major redevelopment projects in the region, Mill 19 at Hazelwood Green among them, and is skilled at balancing the need for growth with maintaining the scenic beauty and serenity of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“All of these sites are former industrial sites that were abandoned, then RIDC and partners cleaned them up and rejuvenated them for productive use,” White noted.

Under the terms of the agreement with RAAC, RIDC will develop a segment of the Carrie Furnace site, initially taking on the construction and extension of infrastructure in the designated area. Eventually, the multi-phase redevelopment will feature a mix of commercial uses, including light industrial, life sciences, tech-flex, workforce education and film production.

RIDC will commence activity at the Carrie Furnace site with work on infrastructure and roadway design. “The initial infrastructure will include running all the site utilities to support the buildings, an interior road network, storm water features and access points for bike/pedestrian connections,” White added.

Construction will get underway in spring 2022, paving the way for the development of two buildings totaling 100,000 square feet of tech flex space near the entrance.

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