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Economy : Development News

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U.S. Steel keeps headquarters in Pennsylvania, invests in Mon Valley

As part of Manufacturing Day, Gov. Tom Corbett and officials from the United States Steel Corporation announced that the company will remain headquartered in Pennsylvania. 
 
The state is committing $30.7 million in grants to U.S. Steel as part of the $187 million initiative to support 4,300 Pennsylvania employees and expand Mon Valley Works operations. The company will re-line one of its Mon Valley Works blast furnaces at its Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock and make improvements to its railroad transportation infrastructure. 
 
“Pennsylvania is the keystone of American manufacturing,” said Corbett. “By addressing all 15 recommendations of the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council, we’ve worked with the private sector to leverage more than $4.9 billion in total investment to create more than 22,000 manufacturing and related jobs, and retained more than 58,000 manufacturing and related jobs. The backbone of U. S. Steel is its workers, and, today, we're investing in the proud Pennsylvania men and women who forge this iron and who can compete and win against any global competitor. When we ‘Make it In PA,’ you know it's done right."   
 
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, a group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
 
“Today, steelmaking is one of the most highly advanced types of manufacturing, and our industry creates real and substantial economic value,” said Mario Longhi, President and CEO of U.S. Steel. “We’re proud to make a material that is vital to building and maintaining a modern society. And we’re proud that so much of that work happens right here in Pennsylvania.”
 
Gov. Corbett’s visit to U. S. Steel was part of a statewide effort to promote Pennsylvania manufacturing and address all of the 15 recommendations of the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council. In 2012, the 24-member Council outlined 15 key recommendations to help Pennsylvania remain competitive in today’s global economy.
 
Administration efforts to address all 15 recommendations include strategic investments in workforce development and education, creating a state energy policy, investing in infrastructure improvements via Act 89, opening new domestic and international markets, implementing tax and regulatory reform, improving access to capital, and making government work better by encouraging innovation.
 
Projects supported by the Corbett administration are expected to leverage more than $4.9 billion in private investment and create more than 22,000 manufacturing and related jobs and retain more than 58,000 manufacturing and related jobs.

Governor Corbett highlights $28.5 million Birmingham Bridge repair project as example of Act 89

Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett stood before the Birmingham Bridge and declared that its $28.5 million repair project underscores the benefits coming to Pennsylvania because of Act 89, a transportation plan.
 
Act 89, which the governor signed in November, increases transportation investment by $2.3 billion by 2018.
 
"My administration is working hard to deliver the hundreds of additional projects for this year from Act 89 proceeds, and the Birmingham Bridge is a very visible example of what we are delivering," Gov. Corbett said at the news conference near the bridge.
 
The 2,747-foot-long, 19-span bridge opened in 1976 and carries 23,000 vehicles a day. With resources from Act 89, PennDOT was able to accelerate the timetable so work on the bridge could begin this year.
 
Act 89 also supports jobs for local workers, the governor added, noting that the transportation plan saved an estimated 12,000 jobs and will create 18,000 additional jobs this year and 50,000 jobs in the next five years.
 
PennDOT's latest projections show that more than $2.3 billion will be invested into the state's highway and bridge network this year, more than $800 million above what would have been available without Act 89.
 
In Pittsburgh, Act 89 spared the Port Authority of Allegheny County from a trend of cutting service and alienating riders, according to the Governor’s Office. Act 89 funding allows the Port Authority to target improvements, such as overcrowding on routes and on-time performance issues.
 
Joseph B. Fay Co. of Tarentum was awarded the $28.5 million contract for the work on the Birmingham Bridge. It will involve steel repairs, bearing replacements, substructure repairs, light pole replacements, a concrete overlay and a complete repainting. The work is now underway and will be finished in 2017.
 
PennDOT has started work on more than 200 Act 89-funded projects covering more than 1,600 miles of roads and 83 bridges. Overall, more than 900 projects are expected to get underway this year, both from Act 89 and prior funding streams.
 
Source: Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
 

PNC Financial tops off its new global headquarters Downtown

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. celebrated the topping off of its new global headquarters, The Tower at PNC Plaza, Tuesday. Officials, labor dignitaries, construction workers, PNC’s employees and project partners gathered to sign the final steel beam before it was placed atop the building structure.  

The 33-story, 800,000-square foot tower—located on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street—will house approximately 2,200 employees upon its opening in fall 2015. The building will help accommodate PNC’s growth and support further business development in Downtown Pittsburgh. PNC says they expect 2,500 people to be hired during construction of The Tower at PNC Plaza.   

“The tower’s construction is a reflection of PNC’s commitment to Pittsburgh and a testament to our tremendous growth over the past decade,” says PNC Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Demchak. “The new headquarters will serve as a statement about the importance that we place on sustainability and innovation and on providing the best-possible environment for our employees.” 
 
With a double-skin facade and a solar chimney, the tower is anticipated to ventilate naturally at least 42 percent of the year and consume 50 percent less energy than a typical office building. The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and narrow floor plates will allow daylight to illuminate 90 percent of all open workspaces, and a water recycling system is expected to decrease the tower’s annual water consumption by 77 percent.  PNC says they believe that the building will exceed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification and set the new standard for green building. 

“In 2000, the 650,000-square-foot PNC Firstside Center opened as the first U.S. LEED-certified financial services building and the largest LEED-certified building in the country,” a statement from PNC explains. “Since then, PNC has certified 225 projects to LEED standards, including more newly constructed LEED-certified buildings than any other company."
 
Source: PNC

Wins Day highlights successful business attraction

The Pittsburgh Re gional Alliance hosted Wins Day on Wednesday, presenting a performance scorecard capturing 302 economic development deals during 2013 — a 12 percent increase in activity over the previous year.
 
This was the PRA’s, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community, seventh Wins Day. The group describes their economic record of Pittsburgh as a “great American comeback story.” The event highlights what makes Pittsburgh an attractive place for business and expansion.
 
Growth was presented across five key sectors: manufacturing, information and communications technology, financial and business services, natural resources and healthcare and life sciences.Though the lines dividing various sectors are sometimes blurred.
 
“A lot of these sectors are intersecting together, that’s really the strength of Pittsburgh,” said Dewitt Peart, PRA president.
 
Manufacturing boasted the most “wins” at 65, which is a rise from the previous year’s scorecard of 59.
 
“Yes, manufacturing is growing,” announced Peart at the downtown event. Elaborating in a Wins Day press release, “The Pittsburgh region still makes things: specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines — to name a few. We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient.”
 
Pittsburgh has historically been a manufacturing hub, but has recently become known for its growth in technology, an emphasis on which crossed all sectors.

“Tech is ubiquitous,” said Wins Day speaker Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.
 
Peart said there are more than 20,000 current job openings in the Pittsburgh region — and more than half of these openings require technology skills and experience. These jobs are not just with tech agencies, but across several industries.
 
This movement was represented with the Wins Day speakers from “winning” area companies whose businesses spanned various disciplines. Development leaders John Thornton (CEO of Astrobotic Technology, Inc.), Jarrod Siket (senior vice president and general manager of marketing at Netronome), Tony Dodds (Ness Technologies vice president finance and controller) and Patrick Colletti (president of Net Health) spoke about the evolution of their organizations.
 
These testimonials gave insight to the ideas and products coming out of Pittsburgh from medical software to communications technology to the moon — Astrobotic is in a race to the moon with the Google Lunar X Prize.
 
Companies like the ones featured at Wins Day may have international reach —Astrobotic is working with multiple other countries and Ness is an Israeli-headquartered global corporation — but homegrown talent was a theme all speakers addressed, describing the rich pool of candidates graduating from Pittsburgh universities.
 
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Audrey Russo, Dewitt Peart, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

New report shows growth in Downtown Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership released its State of Downtown Pittsburgh 2013 report Monday and the results should come as no surprise: Downtown is growing.

The report boasts that in the last year, Downtown has seen increases in leased office space, transportation usage and, most notably, the residential market.  

“This confirms what we’ve been talking about for a couple years now,” says Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership President and CEO Jeremy Waldrup. “It’s the same growth in Downtown Pittsburgh from all perspectives.”

Downtown has added 632 rental residential units since 2010, and by the end of 2012, 96 percent of all Downtown rental units were occupied. Nearly 2,400 units are in development, about 400 of which are currently under construction, per the report.

“We’re becoming more of a residential community,” Waldrup says. “That, to us, is really exciting and something we want to see more of.”

The 2000 U.S. Census showed there were fewer than 6,500 residents in the Greater Downtown area. In 2010, there were nearly 7,800. The report estimates that since 2010, Greater Downtown has added roughly 900 new residents.

Downtown and the Central Business District are home to more than 126,000 jobs and nearly half of Greater Pittsburgh’s market for office space.

Transit use has increased, too. The T has seen an 18 percent spike in use since the North Shore connector opened, and bus ridership rose 3 percent after three straight years of decline.

“It’s essential not just for our continued growth but to our continued existence,” says Waldrup. “We need to invest in what we currently have, but also look toward the future.”

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Jeremy Waldrup

GoBurgh hosts Pittsburgh's first-ever Transit Day

GoBurgh, a coalition of organizations with a shared mission to promote vibrant and sustainably funded transportation infrastructure in Pittsburgh, hosted the city’s first-ever Transit Day last Thursday.

“Transit is big here,” says Chris Sandvig of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, which manages GoBurgh.
“Transit Day’s point is to call attention to the fact that there are a lot of people who rely on the system. We don’t generate tax revenue without transit, and it’s costing us employers.”

Transit Day arose out of PCRG’s efforts toward advocacy fundraising. The proposed 35 percent transit service cuts that were narrowly averted last year thanks to state assistance would have cost more than $300 million to Allegheny County taxpayers.

“We’re starting a conversation locally about what sort of transit system we want,” Sandvig says. “We’ve had no vision of a transit system of the future since Skybus. We have all these great ideas about light rail and commuter rail, but what comes first? That’s the conversation we need to have.”

The Transit Day celebration, which took place in Market Square, offered attendees free Eat’n Park smiley cookies and entertainment from comedian Gab Bonesso and Meeting of Important People’s Josh Verbanets.  

Additionally, commuters who used the Carnegie, Wilkinsburg and Showcase Cinema Park and Ride installations were treated to free coffee and Transit YES! buttons.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Chris Sandvig

Wigle Whiskey to host Modern Tar & Feathering, will soon unveil new distilled spirits

To celebrate this year’s anniversary of the Whiskey Rebellion--which occurred near here in 1794--the Strip District's Wigle Whiskey plans to tar and feather its patrons.  But don't worry, while the distillery might make its rye whiskey much like it was done in 18th Century, their process for tarring and feathering is much more humane.

The event is a collaboration between the Mattress Factory, Attack Theater, Society for Contemporary Craft, Toonseum, Carnegie Library and the Carnegie Science Center.  Each organization will “tar and feather” attendees, with guests will voting on the most inventive method.  The winning organization will receive use of the distillery for an evening.

But why tar and feather?  Meredith Grelli, co-owner of Wigle, explains that historically Europeans and Americans have protested taxes this way, and that local tax collectors were once tarred and feathered by Pittsburgh distillers.

Along with art-related tar and feather activities, food will be provided by the Pittsburgh Taco Truck, Franktuary, and the Goodie Truck.  And Bar Marco will host an afterparty with $5 Wigle cocktails.

In addition to this weekend's event, Wigle is preparing to release several new distilled spirits. 

In October, Wigle will unveil its first traditional Genever gin, and will be one of only two distilleries in the nation currently offering that spirit, Grelli says. 

And Wigle hopes to have a new line of bitters available before the holidays, with experimental flavors such as lychee or honeysuckle. 

"We hope to just keep innovating and introducing people to new spirits, to lost gems of distillation," Grelli says.

Grelli says since opening Wigle has become a destination for whiskey lovers, with enthusiasts traveling from as far as Scotland and Costa Rica, and from throughout the nation.  She expects the momentum of craft distilleries to continue growing.

"The craft distilling environment and the industry is really where craft beer making was probably 20 or 30 years ago,” she says.  “So we're really at just the start of this.”

Wigle Whiskey is open for cocktails and tastings Wednesday through Sunday.  Tours of the distillery can be booked through their website


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Meredith Grelli

Sewickley experiences a revival with eight new businesses

Sewickley is experiencing a revival.  Within the next month eight new businesses will have opened in vacant storefronts, with a possible four more to come.  Businesses include a mix of restaurants and retail stores, and will be unique to Sewickley.  

Kirsten Stripay and Jennifer Markus launched the Explore Sewickley campaign earlier this year.  Their non-profit, Village Green Partners, was contracted by the Borough to help connect entrepreneurs with building owners, and it appears to be working.

“A lot of small towns are struggling,” and might get one or two openings a year, Stripay says. “To get more than a dozen stores in a year I think is absolutely fascinating.  It really, truly is a revival of a small town.”

Most recently, Chris and Jenn Bonfili, owners of the popular Shadyside restaurant Avenue B, have announced that they will be opening a new concept, B Gourmet, in the former Fondi’s Gourmet Market space.  The new location will be a local, organic eatery and market place.

Other new businesses include: Pink and Blue, a modern babies and children’s boutique; Nyches Hot Dogs; House 15143, a home decorating shop; East Coast Sandwiches; Threadz, a women’s apparel boutique; and Pennsylvania Dance Academy.

And Vivo Kitchen will soon open in Sewickley, relocating from their former location in Bellevue.  Owners Sam and Lori DiBattista have begun a soft opening at 432 Beaver Street.  

Stripay says many factors contribute to this positive momentum.  “There's complete organization and it's unique to a small community,” she says.  “[But] there's so many things that play into this.  It's about an entire community, it's about everyone paying attention.”


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Kirsten Stripay
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