There aren’t a lot of pieces of land in Pittsburgh that have seen more drastic change than a spot on the Monongahela River. Once home to a massive J&L Steel mill, it was transformed in 2004 into a mixed-use office/residential/retail development known as SouthSide Works.

SouthSide Works has had its up and downs but on Tuesday morning it celebrated a big win when ground was broken on a 350,000-square-foot, 247-unit market-rate apartment project called The Park.

Under construction next to Hofbräuhaus and South Shore Riverfront Park, The Park is key to the latest redevelopment of SouthSide Work by New York-based SomeraRoad, which took control of the property in 2020.

“It’s an example not only for Pittsburgh but for the nation of what adaptive reuse of neighborhoods like this, of sites like this, can be,” says Ian Ross, founder of SomeraRoad.

The Park will house a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-story townhouse apartments with amenities including a rooftop deck, gardens, a fitness and meditation center, car and bike parking, and a dog wash.

Lawrenceville-based Desmone Architects designed the $75 million apartment project.

Rendering of The Park at SouthSide Works courtesy of SomeraRoad.

“It’s truly a walkable community,” says Ross. “You’re along this beautiful waterfront trail. Thankfully for the city’s work, and the URA’s work, you don’t have a train running in front of us here — you have a park.”

SomeraRoad has been trying to change the trajectory of SouthSide Works. While office and residential demand has been solid, the retail component has languished as the site lost its movie theater and shops, including national chains such as Sur La Table. SomeraRoad announced it is spending approximately $137 million to redevelop the property and attract locally-owned businesses, such as The Speckled Egg and Commonplace Coffee.

More residents will mean more shoppers and more foot traffic for the planned public spaces, which include a dog park, playground and community garden.

Rendering of The Park at SouthSide Works courtesy of SomeraRoad.

A sign in front of the Town Center, which is currently under construction, indicates that Lucha Street Tacos, Slice on Broadway and Smoking Ghost BBQ are on the way.

Also at SouthSide Works, the former movie theater is being transformed into the Box Office, which will house office space for tech firms. The Box Office will also be the home of Pins Mechanical Co., a 30,000-square-foot entertainment complex that pairs duckpin bowling, classic pinball and arcade games with cocktails and beer.

The Park is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2024.