The project site is located in one of Pittsburgh’s oldest residential and culturally significant neighborhoods. In 1957, the Lower Hill was declared blighted and 93 acres were cleared of buildings and businesses, disenfranchising the community from the neighboring city. The Civic (Mellon) Arena, former home of the city’s beloved Pittsburgh Penguins, was the only structure erected as part of the initial plan to rebuild the area. Today, the site is bordered by Centre Avenue to the south, Washington Place to the west, Bedford Avenue to the north, and Crawford Street to the east.
Michael Baker’s master contract for the project, which is sponsored by the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (SEA), incorporates preliminary engineering, final design, and construction-phase services. This relates to all streets, sidewalks, traffic signals, traffic control, signing, pavement markings, utilities, drainage, lighting and landscaping necessary to support the development of the site for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design—Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) certification. The finished project has the potential to support vertical private development consisting of 1,188 residential units, 250,000 square feet of commercial space, 632,000 square feet of office space, a 150-room hotel, and will include 10 percent open space.
Of special significance are the 134 Michael Baker-designed bioretention tree wells that are incorporated along the sidewalks to capture, control and treat the “first flush” of rainfall. Each well measures six feet wide by 20 feet long and are spaced 10 feet apart. The tree wells act as stormwater retention basins, providing access to water that can be used by the plant or evaporated. Each tree well is designed to hold a minimum of 1,500 gallons of water.
The project also incorporated the completion of environmental studies and required clearances including: an environmental site assessment; Phase I and II archeological investigations; and a pre-final geotechnical engineering report.
“We are proud to have played a key role in the redevelopment of this coveted parcel of land. This project showcases our seamless integration of diverse design capabilities to revitalize the local community.”
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