- Community Impact
- Technology & Science
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The Pittsburgh Planning Commission unanimously approved the construction of Pitt’s BioForge Biomanufacturing Center on Sept. 19, paving the way for the University to continue with the construction of the state-of-the-art life sciences hub.
BioForge, a two-story building expected to span 185,000 square feet and stand 67 feet tall, is poised to become a place for scientists, researchers, students and industry leaders to collaborate on cell and gene therapies, among other technologies.
Representatives from Pitt and architecture firm HOK presented the Pitt BioForge to city planning commissioners, providing renderings, detailed architectural diagrams, community engagement information and transportation details for the new facility.
After the presentation, the planning commissioners approved three separate motions: an amendment to the Hazelwood Green Preliminary Land Development PLan; the change of “Street D” at the site into a flexible, shared way; and the construction of BioForge.
The project still needs to be reviewed by the City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure for applicable permits, and the final construction documents must be approved by the zoning administrator before a record of zoning approval can be issued.
The upcoming phase of development will commence with site preparation later this year, followed by building foundations and steel construction in early 2024, with exterior construction anticipated to be finalized in the first half of 2025.
BioForge’s impact on the region
In addition to groundbreaking biotechnology research, BioForge is designed to stimulate new companies in the area, creating additional employment opportunities in the Hazelwood community, Mon Valley and broader Pittsburgh region.
Pitt and its construction partner Turner/Imbutec are also conducting outreach to Black- and minority-owned businesses for subcontracting opportunities and will help support construction and trade pre-apprenticeships, offer paid training for applicants, and offer guidance from a dedicated workforce development counselor.
Pitt’s commercial partner, ElevateBio, has committed to 170 well-paying, full-time positions in the Pitt BioForge building, with half reserved for individuals possessing trade-school experience or community college degrees. The project is also expected to generate an estimated 900 construction jobs and 360 off-site support roles.
Additionally, Pitt will go through a public art process for proposed screening space on Blair Street. A select number of qualified artists will be invited to submit proposals and receive a stipend for their submissions. Community participation will factor into the final decision.
— Donovan Harrell, art provided by HOK