Rendering of the urban lagoon at the 15-acre Esplanade on the North Side

Pittsburgh is getting a man-made lagoon in the Esplanade, the planned North Side development which includes a Ferris wheel.

If all goes as scheduled, it will be the first urban lagoon in the world with the capability to convert from a “paradise-like turquoise body of water” with swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding and white sand beaches into a frozen skating rink.

Crystal Lagoons announced its partnership today with Millcraft Investments as part of the 15-acre mixed-use Esplanade development along the Ohio River in the North Side.

The Crystal Lagoons amenity will offer year-round use with thermal baths and an ice rink as part of the recreational, health and wellness components of the project.

The two-acre lagoon will anchor the Esplanade development and will use a patented, high-tech process with 100 times fewer chemicals and 50 times less energy than a traditional swimming pool, they say.

“We are thrilled to open our very first lagoon in the world that will bring beach life in the summer months and transform into a skating rink during the winter months, all right in the heart of Pittsburgh,” said Christopher Souza, regional director of Crystal Lagoons.

Rendering of the lagoon in winter. Image courtesy of Millcraft Investments.

“In response to the growing demand for our Public Access Lagoons, we feel the Esplanade project is the perfect opportunity to provide residents and visitors alike access to outdoor aquatic amenities, while simultaneously adding tremendous value to the development as a whole.”

President and COO Lucas Piatt of Millcraft adds that “partnering with Crystal Lagoons gives us the ability to activate our city’s riverfront while creating a unique environment that will engage the community and bring another first to the City of Pittsburgh.”

While Crystal Lagoons is worldwide, Esplanade’s lagoon will be in the coldest weather climate of any to date. It’s the first urban lagoon project anywhere in the country, according to Souza.

Chelsea Peluso of Millcraft said they expect to start construction in about 18 months.

To date worldwide, 600 man-made lagoon projects have been completed, started or planned by Crystal Lagoons. One U.S. project currently in the pipeline for the company is a 25-acre “lagoon paradise” for Wynn Resorts in the Las Vegas Strip.

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.