The buildup of modern manufacturing in Hazelwood is expected to continue with the city’s approval of the University of Pittsburgh’s plan for a biomanufacturing facility.

The city Planning Commission approved a proposal for a 68-foot-tall building totaling 185,000 square feet, which would house a cell and gene therapy facility. Approval of the BioForge building continues the high-tech redevelopment of the 178-acre area known as Hazelwood Green, which includes adjacent Mill 19, which is home to Carnegie Mellon University’s Futures Manufacturing Institute. Nearby, Carnegie Mellon University recently received committee approval to build a robotics lab.

Architectural firm HOK expects construction of the BioForge facility to begin later this year and be completed by mid-2025. Pitt has partnered with Massachusetts-based ElevateBio, and the BioForge is expected to cost $250 million to build, according to HOK.

An aerial view submitted to the City Planning Commission of the Hazelwood Green site with a red outline around the BioForge site.

ElevateBio is working on gene and cell therapy, a process that can be used to alter people’s cells and genes as a way to treat and eliminate serious neurogenetic diseases.

Jamila Dokar, executive director of Pitt’s Engaged Campus, emphasized the university’s community outreach efforts.

“Pete has a long history of outreach to the Hazelwood community dating back to 2000,” Dukar said.

In the process of holding community meetings, Pitt found that residents’ main concern was “broad economic inclusion,” she said.

She continued: “To this end, we worked hard to develop the workforce.”

As a result of these outreach and training efforts, Hazelwood residents will be prepared for new job opportunities coming to the area, she said.

Only one member of the public expressed an opinion during the committee hearing process.

Michael Murray, from Hazelwood, said he had retired and developed an “emotional attachment to the site”.

He said he was happy to see that the new facility would complement Mill 19.

“We as a community are very interested in seeing the dynamics of how everything is designed,” Murray said. “We don’t want to lose the authenticity of this site.”

Eric Jankiewicz is PublicSource’s economic development reporter and can be reached at Or on Twitter @ericjankiewicz.

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