The Redevelopment
The History of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company


This Document First Published: March 31, 2017

The Redevelopment


Into the 21st Century
The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority claimed that the Iron City Brewing Company owed one million dollars in unpaid bills. The company claimed it owed $450,000.

Water charges are based on the amount of water coming through a meter. The water authority does not change the cost based on what happens to the water once is passes the meter. For the normal household most water is used in drinking and cooking. Yes, a good bit is used in bathing and cleaning but most of it does down the drain. Not so with breweries and bakeries. They use a lot of water in product sold and the percentage of wastewater is a lot less than a normal home. If a company had a flow meter on the discharge sewer a difference could be calculated and the water bill adjusted. Pittsburgh Brewing did not have such a meter.

2009 October 21 Demolition Process Begins
The Iron City Brewing Company applied for a demolition permit to demolish five four-story structures. The permit was placed on hold after the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority protested as it was seeking payment for unpaid water debt.

2009 October 24
Iron City Brewing prepared to demolish five four-story brick buildings along Liberty Avenue at a cost of $500,000. This was at the time they claimed they could not pay the one million dollar sewer bill.

2009 December 2012 Historic Review Commission
A preliminary meeting was held for the historic designation of the Iron City Brewery.

2009 December 9 Historic Review Commission
The Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh held a hearing for landmark nominations for the Iron City Brewery. One hearing was for a preliminary determination of eligibility and a second for the proposed demolition of building “F”, circa 1970’s.

2010 Historic Designation Approved
The Post-Gazette reported on February 4 that the city planning commission unanimously approved a historic designation for the buildings. City Council approved this recommendation on February 17.

2011 Ice House Demolition
The Historic Review Commission approved demolition plans for the Ice House. The building is one-story and renovation was expected to be $750,000.

Advance Builders was hired to demolish the five story fermentation building containing 33 storage tanks. The tanks were in close proximity to the existing boiler house. In addition demolition and salvage of processing, bottling and transport equipment was performed. The contract was for $1,500,000 according to Advance Builders. No date was given.

2011 March 4 Brewery put on Sale
The Iron City Brewing Company listed the property for sale or lease.

2011 March 11 Lawrenceville Corp Withdraw
Lawrenceville Corporation withdrew their involvement with the Iron City Brewing Company in developing a master plan for the property. The Corporation accused the owner with developing a parallel plan without community input. Realistically Iron City did not want to spend the money it would take to bring the brewery into the 21st century. Selling the property eleven months later brought them cash and removed them from a program that may never had ended. Other than keeping a presence in Pittsburgh by leasing space at the complex Pittsburgh Brewing’s operations were done.

2012, February Property Acquired by Collier Development
Keystone Brewers Inc sold the property to Jack & Jim Cargnoni: owners of Collier Development. The Iron City Brewing Company is leasing office space. Allegheny County Deed 14802, Page 326 for lot 26-A-300 with a date of February 1, 2012.

Lot & Block Parcels
26-A-300 Recorded February 1, 2012, Sale Price $1,725,000
26-A-140 Recorded February 1, 2012, Sale Price $1,725,000

Collier Development
5020 Thoms Run Rd
Presto, Collier Township
(Bridgeville area and zip code) Allegheny County, Pa. 15142
Tim Frew, Project Manager for the Iron City Brewery project

Allegheny County Real Estate has:
5020 Thoms Run Road
Oakdale, Pa. 15071-1702

Collier leased office space to Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

2011 February 3
Collier demolished the icehouse, which was also known as the pipe house. The Historic Review Commission gave approval for the demolition after finding that the building was properly documented and would not jeopardize the site’s potential for placement on the National Historic Places. Preservationists argued against any demolition at the brewery site before completion of a master plan.

Collier proposed to restore the buildings along Liberty Avenue as well as the brew house built in 1884 and the keg storage building built in 1886. The site would have apartment, offices and a 100 room hotel among others.

2012, June 6
Redevelopment plans are formulated for the property and Lawrenceville Corporation would become involved in the planning process giving the project community input. This lasted until October 27, 2013. First they had issues with Iron City now Collier.

2012, August 1 Unauthorized Building Demolition
Collier was cited for demolishing portions of the buildings without approval of the Historic Review Commission. Bizjournals com wrote that Tim Frew of Collier Development said the demolition was in vio;ation of the rules but the demolition was unplanned.

2012, December 5
Cleared of violating
Trib Live News Story,
$100 Million Redevelopment Outlined for Former Iron City Brewery.

2012, December 6
A spreadsheet published in Building Pittsburgh by Jeff Burd gave the square footage of the buildings in the proposed redevelopment and for what purposes, rental, residential, etc. I am not repeating that here but I do want to identify the buildings as noted in the spreadsheet. They are”
Building A, B, C, E, J, M, Q, T, O (OR 0), 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29.
Building F is not shown but was a part of the Historic Review Commission meeting on December 9, 2009. Obviously the spreadsheet only showed the building under consideration for redevelopment.

2013 October 27 Lawrenceville Corp Withdrawal 2
Lawrenceville Corporation withdrew their involvement in working with Collier Development citing Collier’s lack of cooperation.

2013, April 27
The property owners granted permission for the Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar to hold a cider and mead festival in the old Ober House. Arsenal is the first commercial cider maker in Pittsburgh and this is the city’s first festival devoted to cider and mead, both of which are fermented to produce an alcoholic beverage.

2015 March 4 Tunnel Demolition
A Pittsburgh Zoning Board hearing was held for Collier Development to demolish several tunnels (actually they were vaults) under Liberty Avenue that were collapsing. These tunnels can be seen on the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (unknown date) that show them extending under Liberty Avenue. They were originally used for storage of beer but in recent times they stored electrical transformers and other non-brewing equipment.

2016 January Core Development
Core Development had a pending agreement to purchase some or all of the buildings from Collier. Core had similar designs for the property at Collier and this would have been a perfect time for Collier to exist. Much like Iron City getting out Collier could have walked away this nightmare.

2016 August
Core Development’s agreement to buy the site expired as reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times, August 10, 2016. Part of the proposed development under Core was t have the Iron City Brewing Co. operate a brewery-pub in the Oberhaus. The brewery would have been a test facility to brew small batches of beers for a test-run and to move to full production in Latrobe had they received positive results from drinkers. With the agreement expires so goes the plans for the brewpub. Iron City would have continued with their brewing license G25 and it would have included GP25 for the restaurant pub.

People Involved with the Redevelopment


Cargnoni, James, president of Independent Enterprises as well as Collier

Cargnoni, James, Collier development Co.

Dowd, Patrick, Pittsburgh City Councilman and Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board member in 2009.

Frew, Tim,
Project Manager Collier Development

Jennings, John, Assistant Director, Pittsburgh Building Inspection

Kenney, Michael, the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Executive Director in 2009

Lanier, Margaret, Pittsburgh City Treasurer and Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority board member in 2009.

Loy, Paul, Demolition Manager, Pittsburgh Building Inspection

Michaelson, Chad, Collier Development attorney

Peterson, Carol, Historian, Lawrenceville Stakeholders preservation committee.