By Jon Delano

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A cold 20-degree wind swept across the site, but that didn’t deter officials from breaking ground on phase one of a new mixed use development adjacent to Station Square to the east of the Smithfield Street Bridge.

The name of the first building to be completed in 2019 is Glasshouse.

“When completed, Glasshouse will be home to 320 residents,” said developer James Murray-Coleman of Trammell Crow Compnay.

“It’s going to have 15-thousand square feet of amenity space. and it’s going to have a brand new restaurant as well. We’re going to have outdoor decks that overlook the Monongahela River.”

“The residents are going to have access to a pool, three courtyards, multiple outdoor kitchen and dining areas, an outdoor movie screen, not to mention the great Allegheny Passage which is the trail right behind you here.”

With the help of local glass blowers, Pittsburgh’s history in glass was recalled by Murray-Coleman.

“In 1880, Pittsburgh made about 30 percent of the glass in America. By 1920 it made about 80 percent of the glass in America. This was the glass capital of the United States.”

In the mid to late 1800s, this site was the home to the Attleburg Glass Company. Hence, the name Glasshouse and the focus on glass.”

Structures that emphasize glass is a big switch from recent use.

“If you think about the past 50 years, the greatest value of this land was to park cars on,” noted Mayor Bill Peduto, who along with Allegheny County Rich Fitzgerald was there for the ground-breaking.

The project is underwritten by Northwestern Mutual which is betting on the need for more Downtown housing.

“With the economy of Pittsburgh being very strong, we feel like there’s a lot of rent growth that’s available,” predicts Tom Spragg with Northwestern Mutual.

And it’s just the beginning.

“We’re going to build offices here. We’re going to build an hotel here. We have another phase of residential if this one works out,” Murray-Coleman told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

No word yet on how affordable these units will be — but one unique attraction — a partnership with Gig Zero means internet speed for all residents of one hundred times normal.

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