The Highline
South Side Riverfront Trail. Courtesy of McKnight Realty Partners.

McKnight Realty Partners has purchased the historic and massive Terminal building with plans to develop the site as “The Highline,” one of the largest riverfront development projects in Pittsburgh’s modern history.  Currently known as River Walk Corporate Centre and located at 333 East Carson Street on the South Side, the building has nearly one million square feet of office and warehouse space.

The name of the new development comes from the conversion of the existing roadway that transects the upper floors of the building, the former railroad spur, into a public green space concept similar to the High Line in New York City.

The Highline will contain 500,000 square feet of creative office space, 100,000 square feet of supporting retail and over an acre of public riverfront green space. Public space along the river will be used for events like farmer’s markets and concerts. In addition, there are plans to connect the riverfront trail and add 650 parking spaces.

The initial plans for the site were conceived by the New York office of architecture firm Perkins Eastman and moving forward designs for the project will be completed by Indovina Associates Architects.

“We believe that creative environments help attract new companies to the Pittsburgh marketplace. This development will give the public access to the water which the property is screaming for,” says Izzy Rudolph, director of development and acquisitions at McKnight Realty Partners.

The Highline
Pittsburgh’s version of The High Line. Image courtesy of McKnight Realty Partners.
Pittsburgh’s version of The High Line. Image courtesy of McKnight Realty Partners.

From East Carson Street, the building’s brick exterior clearly indicates its industrial past, but the size is deceiving, appearing much smaller than the full view afforded from the Mon River. It also appears to be two buildings, but is actually one, being connected underneath the street that will become the high line. Originally constructed as a delivery and warehouse terminal, the facility was the largest of its kind between New York and Chicago when it was completed in 1906.

The Highline
The high line will terminate at a rooftop park. Image courtesy of McKnight Realty Partners.

The building currently houses Friends of the Riverfront, Allegheny County Conservation District and the Green Building Alliance, among others, and McKnight is working closely with these existing tenants to make sure the project is truly successful.

Historic Tax Credits will be a key component of the deal. McKnight Realty Partners has acquired and revitalized several historic properties such as The Henry W. Oliver Building, The Grant Building, and the Heinz 57 Center. McKnight owns and manages properties in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, and Indianapolis.

Maya Haptas

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.