Almono LP and Regional Industrial Development Corporation:
Expanding Pittsburgh’s New Economy
In 2002, the Foundation, in partnership with the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) and several other funders, acquired the former 178-acre J&L Coke Works site in Hazelwood and created Almono Limited Partnership to maintain the site, invest in basic infrastructure, and establish a master development plan to provide economic opportunity and serve as a regenerative steward of the site’s unique natural assets. Since then, the Foundation has invested $41.5 million to prepare the land for development and attract tenants, restoring three historic buildings from the J&L Coke Works: Mill 19, Pumphouse, and Roundhouse.
The restoration of Mill 19 is nearly complete, and tenants include Carnegie Mellon University’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, both of which were launched in 2016 with a $20 million Foundation grant. Catalyst Connection, another Foundation grantee, and Motional, a for-profit autonomous vehicle company, are also tenants in Mill 19. One of the key elements to ensure the building functions and meets Hazelwood Green energy standards is to provide onsite renewable power for its tenants. To achieve this goal, RIDC will install a solar array—designed to meet all local utility requirements—across the entire length of the building to provide two megawatts of power or enough to meet the needs of two buildings within Mill 19. The final installation, in combination with other building features, will qualify Mill 19 for gold-level LEED certification and reduce energy usage by 34 percent compared to the standards set forth by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. A Foundation grant of $5.1 million will ensure that RIDC can complete the project and transfer ownership of the solar array and its operation to the Almono partnership for ongoing operation and maintenance.
Another historic building, the Roundhouse, was the site’s link to railroads across the country. Like Mill 19, costs to redevelop the Roundhouse are prohibitive for private developers, though it holds significant potential as speculative space. Based on the area’s shortage of short-term lease space, however, the Almono partners will convert the Roundhouse into a space to meet local demand. A $10 million Foundation grant will provide support to renovate the Roundhouse building into a 26,000-square-foot, LEED Gold space that Global Silicon Valley Labs will call home for its Innovation Hub in Pittsburgh, its third after establishing similar Hubs in Silicon Valley and Boston.During the last two years, in addition to restoring two of the site’s historic buildings, Signature Boulevard and temporary parking lots have been completed; Mill Road is nearly completed; Mill Plaza is under construction and nearly completed; and an RFP for master developers was released. A Foundation grant of $937,178 will support the project’s operating expenses.