Riverfront 47 site prep will advance with $9.6 million loan
Site preparation at Riverfront 47 in Aspinwall and Sharpsburg will move forward thanks to a $9.6 million loan from a private investment fund, organizers announced Feb. 19.
The Power of 32 Site Development Fund aims to propel the number of shovel-ready sites across a four-state region, moving key commercial and industrial sites more quickly to market.
“The fund plays a critical role in getting projects like Riverfront 47 off the ground by providing early financing for challenging infrastructure projects,” developer Steve Mosites said.
Riverfront 47 is a proposed mixed-use development that stretches along the Allegheny River from Aspinwall into O’Hara and Sharpsburg. A project of The Mosites Company and Fox Chapel resident Susan Crookston, it is expected to bring 500 housing units, light industry and retail shops.
Mosites’ decades-long portfolio includes urban projects such as the multi-phased, mixed-use “Eastside” project in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood. Company architect Chris Minnerly said the group is in the planning phase for Riverfront 47 and is “grateful for the Power of 32’s confidence in the project.” Work will revive a 30-acre former brownfield that housed a scrapyard. It includes the potential for a new riverfront park that would span the 1.5-mile length of the site and restore a missing piece of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, along with access to the river’s edge.
Brittany Reno, Sharpsburg council president and executive director of the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, said “it’s exciting” to see Riverfront 47 catapult forward.
“Looking to what’s beyond that, I’m eager to collaborate with the community and the development team to ensure that the park and trail meaningfully reconnect all of our residents to their riverfront and that the development includes housing, businesses and other amenities that are affordable and accessible to all Sharpsburgers,” she said.
Mosites said the loan will bridge $5.5 million in grants received from the state to improve access to the property. A complete reconstruction of 19th Street is necessary to link the site with Main Street and Route 28.
The Power of 32, administered by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, has $49 million in commitments to help sharpen the region’s economic edge.
Money is used to close financing gaps for sites with a potential for regional impact, said Phil Cynar, spokesman for Allegheny Conference.
The fund targets sites that are 25 acres or larger for industrial, commercial or mixed use, with a particular aim of redeveloping brownfields.
Market demand for more shovel-ready sites across the region spurred the Power of 32 Site Development Fund, Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman said.
“More companies are wanting to invest and build facilities here than we have sites that are ready for ground-up construction,” she said. “When companies are ready to commit, having to wait on site preparation can be a deal breaker.
“If our endgame is capturing more business investment to further vitalize our economy, create jobs and ultimately attract even more investment, then we need a fully stocked inventory of sites that are ready to go for construction.” Riverfront 47 is the recipient one of the largest loans doled out by Power of 32.
Other loans include $5.7 million to Phase II of Clinton Commerce Park in Findlay Township in the Pittsburgh International Airport Corridor and $9.6 million to Hazelwood Green, a 178-acre waterfront former brownfield in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood.
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .