U.S. Steel To Relocate Corporate Headquarters On Former Civic Arena Site

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pitt...

English: The U.S. Steel Tower, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, with the new corporate logo of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U.S. Steel will move to a new, five-story corporate headquarters on the former site of the Civic Arena in a deal that will provide a corporate anchor tenant for the 28-acre property where $440 million in development is planned, officials said Monday.

The company plans to lease the 268,000-square-foot building for 18 years, the company said at a news conference at Consol Energy Center.

U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi, Gov. Tom Corbett, Pitsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse attended the announcement against a backdrop of artist renderings that showed people strolling a plaza of concrete, grass and trees in front of a conceptualized version of the building.

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Iron Ore Price Decline Hurts U.S. Steel’s Cost Advantage Over Rivals

U.S. Steel

U.S. Steel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U.S. Steel Corp.’s cost advantage over competitors from owning its iron ore mines is shrinking as the price of the commodity used to make steel sinks to a four-year low.

Analysts said iron ore’s decline to $70 a metric ton puts pressure on the Downtown-based steelmaker because competitors will benefit from lower raw material costs that U.S. Steel has long enjoyed. That pressure will mount as steel prices follow iron ore prices lower, especially helping competitors with lower production costs such as Nucor Corp., U.S. Steel’s chief rival.

“The U.S. Steel guys are going to have to work real hard to separate the revenue declines from external forces,” said John Tumazos of Very Independent Research of Holm-del, N.J. “Everything they’ve done in the last two years to cut costs was necessary, but everything points to more cost cuts.”

Under CEO Mario Longhi’s leadership, the Downtown-based steelmaker has closed mills, saved $500 million by halting an iron ore expansion project in Keewatin, Minn., relinquished control of its money-losing Canadian unit and saved $495 million under its Carnegie Way initiative to cut costs and return to profitability.

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Higher Property Taxes In Westmoreland County Ruled Out Despite $15M Budget Gap

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Westmoreland County commissioners said Thursday that there won’t be a property tax increase next year despite a projected deficit of $15 million.

Commissioners revealed a preliminary $340 million budget for 2015 that anticipates declines in revenue and increases in proposed expenses, offset by dipping into the county’s surplus.

If enacted, the budget proposal would deplete the surplus fund to $10.7 million.

The surplus fund should end this year at $25 million.

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Light Up Night, Games, Shows, Concert To Attract 400,000 To Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership expects more than 400,000 people to jam Downtown on Friday night as Light Up Night coincides with a Penguins game, WPIAL championships at Heinz Field and a crowded Petersen Events Center in Oakland likely triggering traffic headaches and a parking shortage.

The Andy Warhol Bridge will close at 9 a.m.; the Roberto Clemente Bridge will close at 10 a.m., both remaining closed until midnight. A host of roads Downtown will close in the afternoon.

“With Light Up Night, we encourage people to use public transportation. People can look at parking on the North Shore and taking T,” said Leigh White, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

“There’s a lot of different, good options like parking at Station Square. People can come in early and have dinner, and it’s a great day to take in other things around town.”

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Pittsburgh Police Beef Up Presence On Streets For City’s Light Up Night

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A wave of gun violence around the city and the possibility of unrest here stemming from events in Ferguson, Mo., have Pittsburgh police ramping up staffing and training in time for Light Up Night on Friday, when hundreds of thousands of people will converge on Downtown.

Pittsburgh police acting Chief Cameron McLay said Wednesday he plans to put patrol officers on 12-hour shifts to handle whatever arises in the next two weeks. He noted the recent escalation in deadly shootings in city neighborhoods and the impending announcement of whether a police officer will be indicted in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in Missouri.

“Quite frankly, it’s an opportunity to get my officers out and more engaged with the public,” McLay said at a news conference at police headquarters in the North Side. “To me, there are no wasted resources when I’m calling extra bodies in early. If everything is going well, it’s a great chance for my officers to celebrate with the community.”

Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability, said she spoke with McLay by phone Wednesday about the potential for a local response to a grand jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson.

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U.S. Steel Reorganizes Operating Units

U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, Penns...

U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

U.S. Steel Corp. is reorganizing its three operating units to focus on industries the company serves, the latest phase in the Downtown-based company’s Carnegie Way program to cut costs, boost revenue and return to profitability.

As part of the new management structure, U.S. Steel is realigning its North American Flat-Rolled division to focus on five markets: automotive, consumer, industrial, service centers and mining.

“These commercial entities will put our company in a stronger position to be best-in-class in product innovation, customer service and solutions, as well as steel manufacturing,” CEO Mario Longhi said.

The company is renaming its Tubular Products unit Energy Solutions, reflecting its focus on providing steel pipe to the booming oil and gas industry. And its operations in Europe were renamed U.S. Steel European Solutions.

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2 Dead, 1 Injured In Early-Morning Shootings In Sheraden

Locator map with the Sheraden neighborhood in ...

Locator map with the Sheraden neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police are investigating if the same shootout early Monday in Sheraden is responsible for leaving two men dead and a third critically injured, Pittsburgh police said.

Police found a body face down in between two houses in the 2700 block of Zephyr Avenue shortly after 8 a.m. The discovery came hours after a teenager was killed in a shooting incident a block away on Glen Mawr Avenue.

Shortly after the 12:20 a.m. shooting, a 24-year-old male walked into Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, with gunshot wounds and is in critical condition, police said.

Police believe the fatalities and the injury are likely related but are conducting more interviews before saying all three are linked, said Lt. Daniel Herrmann.

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Dilapidated Buildings Hinder Greensburg Downtown Growth

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leaky roofs and outdated structures are one big reason why about 20 percent of downtown Greensburg storefronts are vacant, despite businesses clamoring to move in, according to the Greensburg Community Development Corp.

The nonprofit plans to purchase four of the dilapidated buildings within the next year, and pursue private and public grants to fix them up and resell them to private owners, said Steven Gifford, its executive director.

Downtown real estate is in demand, with more businesses wanting to move into storefronts than there is space available, according to Gifford. Despite this, about one-fifth of the city’s 138 storefronts remain vacant, often because they are too run down or unsafe to occupy.

The development corporation has identified seven buildings with leaking roofs, and another five that cannot be occupied because of building code deficiencies, such as missing sprinkler systems and staircases.

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New Stanton Turnpike Plaza 1st To Offer Compressed Natural Gas

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Motorists who drive vehicles that use compressed natural gas can fill up at the New Stanton plaza of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Turnpike commission officials Thursday kicked off the opening of three CNG fueling dispenser stations at the plaza.

The New Stanton plaza is the first of the commission’s 17 plazas to offer the fuel.

“It’s an outstanding day and supports what we’ve been trying to do the last 75 years: to push for innovation,” said Mark Compton, chief executive officer.

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Charleroi Envisions Riverfront Destination As Focal Point Of Business Redevelopment Plan

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi.

Map of Washington County higlighting Charleroi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Imagine that, another town with a vision and a plan…with the rash of shootings going on in Pottstown again….a vision and a plan would be in order.  Just sayin’…

Donn Henderson sees the Charleroi riverfront development he wants 25 miles away in Pittsburgh.

“It’s not rocket science. There are plenty of examples,” said Henderson, manager of the borough, which will announce a redevelopment plan for the central business district Thursday. “Just look at the North Side. That’s a great model. The South Side, too.”

Re-creating Pittsburgh’s successes deep in Washington County‘s Mon Valley will not be easy. But continuing to watch the once-thriving industrial and retail community lose population amid growing drug and crime problems certainly will accomplish nothing, Henderson said.

“We cannot continue that trend and survive,” he said.

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Bottom Dollar Food Stores To Close By Year’s End And Be Sold To Aldi

The Belgium-based owner of Bottom Dollar Food stores plans to close its 66 store locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets and sell the assets to discount food competitor Aldi Inc. for about $15 million.

Aldi said the purchase is part of an expansion plan that will add 650 stores nationwide by the end of 2018.

Delhaize Group of Brussels said all stores are expected to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until yearend. After that, banner will be retired. The sale of stores and leases to Aldi is expected to be completed by March 31.

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Spirit Adds Direct Flights To Las Vegas From Arnold Palmer Regional Airport

250

250 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spirit Airlines will begin nonstop flights to Las Vegas from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe starting April 16.

Tickets are now available online for the five-hour, nonstop flights, which will depart daily at 7 a.m.

“We’re excited about Vegas. It’s going to be a great addition,” said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which operates the Unity airport.

The daily flights will begin just as seasonal flights to Fort Myers and Tampa, Fla., are ending for the season, airline officials said Monday in their announcement.

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5 Cal U. football Players Arrested In Assault

DSC01929Editor’s note:  As a graduate of this university, I find this behavior appalling and the perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

California University of Pennsylvania canceled and forfeited its home football game Saturday with Gannon University after five team members were arrested for an assault outside an off-campus restaurant that left a 30-year-old man very seriously injured.

The assault followed an exchange of words between a man and his girlfriend outside Spuds restaurant in California and the football players, according to criminal complaints filed with Brownsville District Judge Joshua Kanalis.

The university, in a statement, said all five had been suspended from school.

California police Chief Rick Encapera said the five men were arrested during practice Thursday. They were arraigned later by Judge Kanalis.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/college-district/2014/10/30/Cal-U-cancels-football-game-in-wake-of-violent-incident/stories/201410300291

Vegan Festival Offers A Taste Of Plant-Based Eating

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a festival the cows, pigs and chickens would enjoy.

The second Pittsburgh Vegan Festival is slated for Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills. The event welcomes everyone, not just vegans.

“We want anyone interested in knowing more about a plant-based diet or healthier eating options to come. And it is very family friendly,” said Amy “Amethyst” Cottrill.

She started the event to share information about a growing lifestyle — eating a plant-based diet. Many vegans also eliminate all animal-related products from their lives. The first festival was held in July and the response was overwhelming,she said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/food/2014/10/30/Vegan/stories/201410230011

U.S. Steel Reports 3Q Loss Of $207M On Special Charges

U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, Penns...

U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Losses from U.S. Steel Corp.’s restructuring continued despite revenue and operating results that beat analyst’s expectations.

The loss was an improvement from a year ago and was helped by the company’s flat-rolled steel operation and other segments, which did their best since 2008. Operating profit from flat-rolled, tubular, U.S. Steel Europe and other units totaled $479 million, or $94 per ton of steel produced, the company said. That compared to $113 million, or $24 per ton a year ago.

“Steel market conditions in the United States have remained stable, and our operations have performed well, particularly our flat-rolled segment, where we returned to more normal operating levels and income from operations increased by over $300 million from the second quarter,” CEO Mario Longhi said. “Our results reflect the significant improvement in our earnings power from our Carnegie Way transformation efforts.”

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‘Sociable City’ Plan Rolled Out To Coordinate Pittsburgh’s Nightlife

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Responsible hospitality. The night-time economy. A “sociable city” plan.

They’re buzzwords for a basic concept.

Nightlife, and the neighborhoods in which it happens, are resources that need to be planned and managed, from transportation and parking to permitting and policing. And that involves comprehensive coordination between community business owners, an array of city agencies and institutions like universities.

“Like our transit planning, like how we manage special events, these economies will benefit from planning and management,” said Maya Henry, the city’s new night-time economy manager, a $65,249-a-year position created by Mayor Bill Peduto to coordinate those efforts. “My job is to bring the lens of the night-time economy to all of those places that already exist in city planning.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/27/Sociable-City-plan-rolled-out-to-coordinate-Pittsburgh-s-nightlife/stories/201410240211

State’s ‘Public-Private’ Transportation Deal Will Replace 53 Bridges In Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A team of Pennsylvania-based subcontractors has three years to replace 558 structurally deficient Pennsylvania bridges, including 53 in Allegheny County.

PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch announced Friday that Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners would lead the department’s $899 million Rapid Bridge Replacement Project.

In the “public-private partnership,” the state retains ownership of the bridges, but the team is responsible for replacing the bridges and maintaining them for 25 years. Construction must begin in summer 2015.

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Monsour Hospital Properties Sold At Free-And-Clear Sale

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Westmoreland County Land Bank purchased the former Monsour hospital property in Jeannette for $15,712 on Friday at a free-and-clear judicial sale.

Two other properties also owned by Monsour Medical Center, located just west in Hempfield on the opposite side of Route 30, also were sold Friday after a bidding war. A vacant office building, house and garage stand on those properties.

In August a judge ordered that the properties be put up for bid at a free-and-clear sale after no owners, creditors or lienholders showed up at a hearing to object.

Officials are awaiting approval of an application for about $1 million in state funds to demolish the buildings and remediate the property. The project is anticipated to cost about $2 million.

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$2.5 Million Grant To Aid Granite Building Hotel Project In Downtown Pittsburgh

DSC01828Gov. Tom Corbett delivered a $2.5 million state redevelopment assistance capital grant this morning to jump start Downtown’s latest hotel project — 104 rooms, three bars, and a brasserie-style restaurant at Wood Street and Sixth Avenue.

The $38 million independent boutique hotel will be housed in the Granite Building, a Romanesque-style structure built in 1889 and site of the former German National Bank. A building next door that once housed an Arby’s restaurant also will be part of the development.

The project is being developed by Holly Brubach, a former New York Times style editor who bought the Granite Building in 2006 with the intent of turning it into condominiums.

But that project was done in by the recession, prompting Ms. Brubach to change course.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/24/2-5M-grant-to-jump-start-Granite-Building-hotel-project-in-downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201410240194

Shale Oil, Gas Finds Put Mon Valley On Path To Renaissance, Leaders Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lue Ann Pawlick never envisioned companies connected with oil and gas beating a path to Alta Vista Business Park when it broke ground in tiny Fallowfield, Washington County, in 2001.

Today, three of the five companies in Alta Vista work in the industry. An energy company is set to start construction in the spring, and at least one more is close to signing a deal to locate there.

“We’re trying to keep it a mixed-use business park, but we have to recognize the oil and gas industry is the biggest game in town right now,” said Pawlick, executive director of the Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association. “They are the ones driving demand.”

Ten years ago, Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp. drilled the first Marcellus shale well in Washington County. Now the county — which dubs itself “Energy Capital of the East” — is home to about 1,000 wells, the most in Pennsylvania.

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