PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Workers have been clearing the 174-acre site on the banks of the Monongahela River known as “Almono” for months now.
It’s slated to be the largest single development in Pittsburgh’s history, though some in the host neighborhood of Hazelwood have grown skeptical after years of delays.
“All they’re doing is playing in the dirt down there,” says Hazelwood resident Sam Rende. “They bought that 17 years ago.”
But the city and the foundations which control the development disagree. They say the site is finally ready to launch.
Mayor Bill Peduto maintains the neighborhood’s patience will be rewarded with a high-quality development.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “It’s been a long time, Mayor.”
Mayor Peduto: “It has been a long time, but there’s also been a deliberate attempt to make this a world-class development. It’s not going to be a Pep Boys with a big asphalt parking lot around it.”
On Tuesday, the mayor and others sat down with a firm called Lendlease from Australia, which is interested in becoming the master developer of the site.
After taking a bus tour of the area, the parties are now in talks about a partnership to lure businesses to begin commercial and residential construction to the development, which Mayor Peduto says must be green, sustainable and carbon-neutral.
Sheehan: “Do you ever worry that you’re putting the bar too high with this regulation and high-environmental standards… you might scare away potential developers?”
Mayor Peduto: “I think that we’re going to be able to show that logic is not valid. That you can have highly sustainable development that can be built on an old industrial site.
In fact, he says potential tenants are waiting in the wings.
“We have a lot of people interested,” Mayor Peduto says. “Right up the hill is Oakland, and right up the hill is Carnegie Mellon University and companies that want to be close to that university.