McKnight Realty Partners celebrated the kickoff of a $110 million place-making strategy…
By Pittsburgh Business Times
April 20, 2018
Pittsburgh – McKnight Realty Partners celebrated the kickoff of a $110 million place-making strategy to reinvent the historic terminal building on the South Side into a new mixed-use redevelopment now called the Highline Building.
On an unseasonably cold Spring day, Gov. Tom Wolf joined the leadership of McKnight along with a host of local and state politicians to consider the promise of the plan.
With a collection of tenants already in the building, McKnight’s plan is to renovate the 868,000 square feet of space in the collection of properties and to convert an elevated road that passes through the main building’s companion towers into a public parklet of green space, benches and other amenities.
The 500-foot-long public amenity that will be the signature highline component of the redevelopment is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.
“This is a really big deal,” said Wolf, noting the $15 million in federal new market tax credits the state of Pennsylvania helped to facilitate for the program. “Have any of you have been to the Highline in New York?” said Wolf, referencing the former elevated rail line in New York City that was redeveloped into a public park. “It has been transformed. It has made a big difference in the lives of people living in the area and it has been amazing as an economic development tool. And I think the same thing is going to happen here.”
Working with the $15 million in tax credits along with $2.5 million in state Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program funding for the public amenity portions of development, McKnight plans to rip up the asphalt road that passes through the two facing structures of the building to turn it into a public plaza. The company will also invest in public upgrades and trail connections at the base of the building, which is currently being redeveloped from former industrial space to an interior garage with spaces for 527 cars, along with storage for bicycles.
McKnight is working to balance the renovation of the spaces while maintaining the property’s established tenants. At the same time, McKnight is engaged in leasing the project to newcomers in a strategy expected to include a total of more than 500,000 square feet of office space along with more than 100,000 square feet devoted to retail use expected to include a mix of restaurants and merchants poised to benefit from the neighboring trail and riverfront.
McKnight is working with Strip District-based Indovina Associates Architects on the design for the redevelopment.
With the parking garage component already well underway in the terminal building’s base floors, Izzy Rudolph, president of McKnight, said the project will take place in two phases, the first roughly estimated to cost $50 million in a total development expected to reach $110 million.
It’s investment that the largely industrial stretch of the South Side between Station Square and the core of the South Side business district hasn’t experienced in decades, said Rudolph.
“The area between the Smithfield Street Bridge and the 10th Street Bridge is really an area that hasn’t seen a whole lot of investment in 100 years,” he said, “We’re very excited to bring new life to this side of the river. We are a riverfront destination. And what is Pittsburgh without our rivers?”