OUR THOUGHTS ON:

Not Just for Kicks

Construction

By Joe Bruce

When the Pittsburgh Passion kicks off against the DC Divas on Saturday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m., it will mark the opening of a state-of-the-art multi-sport and entertainment facility worthy of the Pittsburgh tradition of fantastic sports venues. Highmark Stadium, home to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Professional Soccer Club, is located on 3½ acres adjacent to Station Square, and becomes the first-ever soccer stadium in downtown Pittsburgh.

The Stadium boasts game day capacity of 3,500 seats, all of which have exceptional views of the city skyline, since the north side of the field was left unobstructed. The stadium will also house 15 corporate suites, balcony areas, concession stands, banquet facilities, bike racks for 118 bikes and conveniently located parking and access to the Station Square restaurants and amenities. The construction for the stadium began just nine short months ago, and was the vision of the Riverhounds’ ownership group that took control of the franchise in 2006. The group’s plan, which focuses on the development of youth soccer players through a sophisticated youth training platform (including training with professional players), culminated in the construction of the stadium during 2012.

Highmark Stadium was designed to operate as a multi-sport, year-round facility, that, in addition to the Riverhounds and Passion, will host high school and collegiate lacrosse and rugby, field hockey, football, outdoor boxing and mixed martial arts, concerts, charity events, adult co-ed leagues, beer and wine tasting events and ice skating and hockey in the winter months. Additionally, although the Stadium will have substantial public use, the $10.2 million price tag was footed entirely through private investment, which was “a hurdle not easily overcome during a substantial economic downturn”, noted Riverhounds co-owner Jason Kutney.

Kutney indicated that the project has been a great learning experience, whether the group was dealing with land development issues, restrictions on signage or understanding noise and light pollution regulations, as well as securing financing. Kutney indicated that his development team of ThenDesign Architecture, Millcraft Industries and Nello Construction remained creative and diligent throughout the process, and that their collaborative efforts have produced a rewarding result. Kutney believes this takes soccer to the next level in Pittsburgh, and noted that beyond the spectacular views, the stadium “was designed for the fan to enjoy a professional experience, whether they are watching a professional or amateur event. There are no bleachers, every fan has a seat.”

The Riverhounds’ home opener on Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 pm is sold out, which indicates that this newly constructed gem on the South Side may not be a well-kept secret for long.

Highmark Stadium

Pictured Above:   Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds

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