Mill 19

By Donald F. Smith, Jr., President of RIDC

Before there were robots, Pittsburgh was a city of iron and steel. But now Mill 19, a former steel mill located on the 178-acre Hazelwood Green site, once owned by J&L Steel Hazelwood Works and LTV Steel, is the last large riverfront brownfield within city limits. The building was left to rust when the steel industry collapsed, but its bones – an underlying steel superstructure – remain strong.

With revival and reuse plans well underway, Mill 19 is becoming more than a reminder of Pittsburgh’s bygone industrial steel era. Steel beam by steel beam, it is being transformed into an industrial hallmark of the city’s, and the country’s, present and future economic growth and prosperity.

Robotics and advanced manufacturing are rapidly becoming the new economic pillars of the region. They’ve brought an influx of jobs and people which will later translate into prospering commercial business, real estate and housing markets, and thriving communities.

By providing homes for these companies – which need some level of manufacturing capabilities to develop their products – Mill 19 will become a testbed for new technologies and a center for new jobs, economic growth and community involvement in Hazelwood.

Mill 19’s redesign features a building within a building concept to showcase the community’s past, present and promising future. The mill’s metal walls and roof have been stripped away to reveal its underlaying steel superstructure and the new 94,000-square-foot building currently being built within it.

Two-thirds of that space will be leased to Carnegie Mellon University for the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and Manufacturing Futures Initiative, and feature light industrial, R&D, office space and outdoor public amenities.

By the end of May 2018, over 30% of the new interior building’s steel was erected. Two other buildings will be constructed on site – one for a multinational artificial intelligence firm – and altogether the three buildings will form a 264,000 square foot high-tech complex.

In contrast to the pollution produced by the original facility, as was once typical of the steel industry, Mill 19 has been designed to be eco-friendly, environmentally sustainable and LEED v4 Gold certified. A high-performance envelope provides maximum thermal efficiency and up to 96% daylight autonomy.

Mill 19’s redesign features a building within a building concept to showcase the community’s past, present and promising future. The mill’s metal walls and roof have been stripped away to reveal its underlaying steel superstructure and the new 94,000-square-foot building currently being built within it. 

Two-thirds of the complex’s total electricity usage will be offset by energy generated on site and storm water will be conveyed through a rainwater garden to centrally located infiltration basins. Captured rooftop rainwater will be reused in the cooling tower and for flushing in the restrooms.

Outdoor amenities will include a “ruin” garden, a contemplative space that combines the remnants of old machinery foundations with thoughtful landscaping. Seating will be made from steel beams and concrete salvaged from the original building. Other amenities will include a quarter mile long loggia, a stage for outdoor performances, and bikeable and walkable paths reconnecting Hazelwood to the Monongahela River and other city trails.

As robotics companies continue to flock to Pittsburgh, and are born here, redevelopment projects like Mill 19 will continue to restore what the steel industry left behind and reverse the negative effects of its collapse – economic decline, urban decay and population loss. As much as we are a forward-moving city, we like to remember and honor our roots. That’s why we are revitalizing the symbols of Pittsburgh’s past, building by building, community by community, for present and future reuse.