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Sustainable reclamation of a steel-plant site



For almost a century, from 1884 to 1974, the J&L Steel Company made coke and manufactured steel bars on the shores of the Monongahela River, in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The site was then sold to the LTV Steel Company, which shuttered the plant in 1998 and filed for bankruptcy in 2000.

The last brownfield site in the City of Pittsburgh, the 178-acre (72-hectare) Hazelwood site includes a railway roundhouse built by J&L, a 1,300-foot (396-meter) steel bar mill, and a variety of old buildings. Despite its desirable riverfront location, obstacles to development include uneven topography, existing infrastructure, and industrial contamination.


In 2002, the site was purchased by the Almono Partnership, which includes the Benedum Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and McCune Foundation. Almono Partners is named for the three rivers that converge in Pittsburgh: the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio.

Together with its managing partner, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) of southwestern Pennsylvania, Almono plans to redevelop the site with offices, retail space, light industry, and more than 1,000 units of housing. The development will include a “signature” riverfront boulevard, a neighborhood grocery, and more than 26 acres (10 hectares) of parks, trails, and bicycle lanes, including a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) extension of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail from the Hot Metal Bridge through the site.

Working with the local community and other stakeholders, Almono has developed a vision that focuses on environmental sustainability, saying that “alternate sources of energy, storm and waste water management and transportation innovation are key components of the plan.”

The Almono Partnership has chosen Mott MacDonald to provide construction management services for the Rough Grading Project of its new riverfront development. About 800,000 cubic yards (611,000 cubic meters) of fill have been used to level the property and protect it from flooding. The Rough Grading Project is the first of many projects planned for this $1 billion development.


The Hazelwood development is part of a two-decade effort to reclaim the Pittsburgh waterfront. According to Almono Partners, “This prominent Monongahela River site is poised to re-enter the market, connect with regional economic hubs, share the mile-and-a-half of shoreline with the community, and become an instigator of growth, renewal, and progress in Pittsburgh.”

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