PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The old rusty hulk of a J&L steel mill in Hazelwood was the object of Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest visit to Pittsburgh. He examined a project designed to bring jobs and residents to the last remaining brownfield in the city.
“This is a magnet for people and companies that want to be in a high-tech environment and don’t want to put up with all the nonsense they have to put up in California,” Wolf said after the tour.
Called Almono, the 178-acre site will be a mixed use development at the far end of Second Avenue, where the ribs or steel beams of the mill will be preserved while the siding is stripped away.
Inside the steel shell three buildings will be constructed.
“The idea being embedded in this mixed use environment, people can live down here,” said Regional Industrial Development Corporation President Don Smith. “They can play on the river, in the parks and then they can come to work.”
Smith told the governor the long roof of the old mill will be covered with solar panels.
“We’re going to put solar panels across the entire west-facing roof of this building and we can generate over two megawatts of electricity from the solar panels,” Smith added. “Which we believe will supply the first two buildings that we build here 100 percent of their energy needs.”
While it’s not official yet, the first major tenant is expected to be Carnegie Mellon University, followed by numerous high tech companies.
There will also be residential housing for over 2,000 people.
Wolf says that low-interest loans and grants from the state for this project now total $20 million.
“The bulk of the funds that will ultimately be used here will be private sector funds,” Wolf noted. “But the commonwealth in this case did what it is supposed to do and that is get it started.”
Gov. Wolf tells the “KDKA Morning News” the project has been developing for years.
“This has been [in the works] since 2002 or 2003 and it’s a partnership between the public sector, the foundations in Pittsburgh and the private sector…to actually bring that area back, I was really impressed,” said Wolf.