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Riverhounds planning expansion project that would nearly triple capacity of Highmark Stadium

Riverhounds eye expansion project that would nearly triple capacity of Highmark Stadium
Riverhounds eye expansion project that would nearly triple capacity of Highmark Stadium 02:13

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A major expansion project could be coming soon that would nearly triple the capacity of Highmark Stadium on Pittsburgh's South Shore. 

The three-phase expansion project would ultimately increase the capacity of the stadium from its current 5,500 to somewhere between 13,500 and 15,000.   

"The capacity and some of these amenities will help us bring in even more events to help tourism in the city and help even provide more entertainment options in the city and on the South Side," Riverhounds President Jeff Garner said.

Tuffy Shallenberger owns the Riverhounds as well as Shallenberger Properties, which owns the stadium and is seeking $10 million in grant money from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. 

Grant paperwork shows that the company would provide $15 million for a total of $25 million for the first phase of the project.

In their grant application, the company cited growth and interest in the game of soccer, also noting that the USL, the league that the Riverhounds play in, having doubled in size from 14 teams to 28 teams in recent years.

Phase I's proposed plans consist of seating expansion and an upgraded event center, a rooftop deck, suite seating and locker room upgrades. Phase II's proposed plans would add 1,200 seats through rotundas and expand corporate function spaces. The final phase of the proposed plans would add 8,300 seats and a new press box. 

"We are very excited to be able to just get more people in the stands. We have seen the growth and I think Pittsburgh has seen the growth of the Riverhounds," Steel Army President Arianna Lower said.

The Steel Army, the Riverhounds supporter group, is excited to hear the news. Lower said there has always been a following for soccer but it is growing more each year.

"Clearly there is a hunger in the city of Pittsburgh for soccer and the Riverhounds. Their growth has just been wild these past few years," Lower said on Zoom.

State Sen. Wayne Fontana says it will be a competitive process for the state dollars. Across the state, requests have totaled more than $4 billion. In his district alone, it's been more than $250 million.

"This would be a catalyst to reinvent it down there along with some other new things that I understand are happening," Fontana said.

The expanded capacity is expected to draw other events and concerts that may be too small for venues like Acrisure Stadium but need more space than what is currently there. This would include some college and high school tournaments.

If everything goes as planned, construction could start on the first phase this November. The goal would be to have all the upgrades done over the next few years.

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