Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that Commonwealth Cornerstone Group (CCG) has completed a $15 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing transaction that will support the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of “Mill 19,” a riverfront brownfield site that is part of the planned Hazelwood Green project in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood community.
Mill 19 will be redeveloped by Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania into a light-industrial, research and development, and flexible office space attractive to technology companies.
The redevelopment project will consist of three phases that will restore the 264,000-square-foot former steel mill building. It features a “building within a building” concept by including a new, high-tech, three-story building under the old mill’s existing steel skeleton.
The cutting-edge facility will house research, development and office space for the non-profit Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, a $250-million public-private collaborative led by Carnegie Mellon University, and for CMU’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative. Additional flex space will be made available to the university’s partner organizations. Work at the site is expected to produce significant job opportunities.
“This project has great potential for revitalizing an unused brownfield site and bringing jobs and additional high-tech employers to Hazelwood,” said Governor Wolf. “We’re excited about the business synergies that could be created here to benefit the local community and the entire region.”
A special feature of this project is its goal of meeting LEED gold standards for the building’s core and shell construction. The building will implement a large 2 megawatt rooftop solar array, as well as reduce indoor water usage. The end result should be a site that boasts net-zero energy usage and is environmentally sustainable.
“Hazelwood was hurt when the steel mill there closed in the 1990s,” said Brian A. Hudson Sr., CCG chairman and executive director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). “This project holds tremendous promise for not only bringing back jobs but attracting good-paying technology positions. We also think this project could be a regional model for smart energy usage.”
CCG was created in 2004 by PHFA to serve as a nonprofit community development entity.
“The Regional Industrial Development Corporation’s mission is to support economic development in communities around the region by breathing new life into facilities that housed the great companies of Pittsburgh’s past,” said Donald Smith, president of RIDC. “This tax credit program is crucially important in enabling us to apply state-of-the-art design and development strategies to bring this property back to life.”
This project is expected to create 132 temporary construction jobs. The developer already is working the Trade Institute and the A. Philip Institute to place low-income residents in apprenticeship and construction jobs. Additionally, the project will create 116 full-time permanent jobs and retain 63 full-time positions. Carnegie Mellon University and its partners are working on a workforce development center in connection with this project that would help train low- and moderate-income residents with entry level technology skills that could be used by employers at the site.
In addition to New Markets Tax Credits from Commonwealth Cornerstone Group, the developer also received tax credits from Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, Telesis, and PNC Bank.
About Regional Industrial Development Corporation
The mission of RIDC is to catalyze and support economic growth and high-quality job creation through real estate development and finance of projects that advance the public interest. A not-for-profit entity with a 60-year history, RIDC owns over 2,800 acres of land in 11 industrial parks and manages over 50 buildings. Its properties house more than 100 companies employing 5,600 workers that add more than $3 billion to the region’s economy on an annual basis.
About Commonwealth Cornerstone Group
The goal of CCG, through its administration of New Markets Tax Credits, is to fund projects in key areas of communities that have historic or cultural value and offer opportunities to spark economic revitalization. CCG utilizes NMTCs to provide loans and equity investments for business expansion, mixed-use development, and community facilities across Pennsylvania. Examples of past developments that have benefited from CCG’s investment of tax credits include Bakery Square in Pittsburgh, the Coal Street Community Facility in Wilkes-Barre, and Schmucker Hall in Gettysburg. Learn more at: www.commonwealthcornerstone.org/.
About the New Markets Tax Credit Program
The New Markets Tax Credit Program was established by Congress in 2000 to spur new or increased investments in operating businesses and real estate projects located in low-income communities. The NMTC Program attracts investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called community development entities, such as Commonwealth Cornerstone Group. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.