Smack-dab in the center of Pittsburgh’s East End is a property that’s prime for development, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority is looking for a developer.
The URA has issued a request for proposals to bring new life to the 16-acre Lexington Technology Park, the North Point Breeze property at 400 N. Lexington St. that has housed Allegheny County’s emergency services department and 911 center for 20 years.
The city hasn’t indicated the property’s potential sale price. The URA hopes to start exclusive negotiations with a developer before year-end.
“This is an exciting opportunity for a part of the city that is poised for regrowth and investment,” says URA Board Chair Kevin Acklin.
The URA acknowledges two aging buildings at the site need significant improvements, despite more than $4 million in renovations in the years since Rockwell International Corp. gave the city the property in 1996. County departments housed there have cited leaky roofs, maintenance issues and a need for upgraded technology.
The county police will relocate to renovated office space at 10 Parkway Center in Green Tree. The emergency services and 911 center will move to the now-vacant former U.S. Airways operations center in Moon, which the Allegheny County Airport Authority bought from American Airlines in January 2016.
“We don’t have a set time frame but expect that it will be 12-18 months before a move,” says county spokeswoman Amie Downs.
With vast development in East End neighborhoods, the URA believes the market is ripe to develop the N. Lexington Street property for housing and commercial use. The property would need to be rezoned from urban industrial to support housing or mixed-use development.
The parcels include four acres, currently used for parking, that could be developed with housing. This portion of the property also has two existing residential structures. The additional 12-acre segment has two commercial buildings with 375,573 square feet of warehouse space and parking.
Many Pittsburghers refer to mostly-residential North Point Breeze as if it is part of Point Breeze proper, a neighborhood to the south. With wide boulevards and Victorian homes, North Point Breeze has on its western end Fifth Avenue, Mellon Park and Bakery Square. The East Busway runs along its northern border with Homewood.
The 400 N. Lexington St. property lies in the neighborhood’s eastern end, near light industrial and commercial businesses including Construction Junction and the East End Food Co-Op.
Rockwell International used the property for manufacturing, corporate offices and warehouses. Once one of the nation’s largest aerospace contractors, Rockwell announced in 1988 it would move its corporate headquarters from Pittsburgh to offices near Los Angeles International Airport. In 1996, The Boeing Company acquired Rockwell’s aerospace and defense businesses.