Developer Reveals Buncher Plans For 400 Strip District Apartments, Townhomes

The Buncher Co. and a Cleveland-based developer said Thursday they are moving ahead with plans to build 400 residential units along the edge of the Allegheny River in the Strip District.

Buncher, which is based in the Strip, ultimately plans to pump more than $400 million into residential and office development on the riverfront, including $100 million on the 400 units.

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National Aviary Launches Cam Focused On Penguins; Babies Due Soon

Pittsburghers will get a glimpse at the National Aviary’s two newest arrivals next week thanks to a high resolution infrared penguin camera positioned just above their nest.

Laid Nov. 9 and 11, two penguin eggs are expected to hatch sometime between Monday and Thursday.

Both TribLive and the Aviary website are hosting live video of the new parents, Sidney and Bette, who welcomed two other sets of penguins hatched at the aviary in 2012 and 2013.

Aviary live streaming camera, click here:  AviaryPenguins – Tribune-Review.

Pittsburgh Council Makes It Official: McLay Named Police Chief

Pittsburgh City Council today approved acting police Chief Cameron McLay to head the city’s police bureau. Chief McLay has been serving as acting chief since September.

The unanimous vote with virtually no discussion came a day after a 2½-hour confirmation hearing for the 56-year-old former Madison, Wis., police captain, who is the first outsider ever hired to lead the department, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s staff.

Chief McLay will be formally sworn in at 4 p.m. this afternoon in the mayor’s office.

Also today, council passed the mayor’s controversial plan to reorganize the Bureau of Building Inspection into a new Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.

Read more:  http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/12/09/Pittsburgh-Council-approves-new-police-chief-reorganization-of-building-department/stories/201412090181

Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto Goes Undercover On CBS Reality Show To Air Dec. 21

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has his own prime time reality TV show.

Peduto donned a wig with shoulder-length gray hair and a scraggly, long gray beard to star on an upcoming hourlong episode of the CBS Emmy-winning show “Undercover Boss.” The episode is scheduled to air 8 p.m. Dec. 21.

“It will be the only chance that I ever have in my life to hear what people say about me directly to my face, but not knowing who I am,” he said Thursday.

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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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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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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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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

$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

EDMC Loses $664M; Executives Receive Six-Figure Bonuses

Education Management Corp. lost $664 million during a difficult year in which the operator of for-profit colleges struggled with declining enrollment and intense regulatory pressure.

Compensation for CEO Edward West and CFO Mick Beekhuizen plummeted, mostly on the lower value of stock options. But two executives hired last year to handle legal and compliance matters, issues that have dogged the company, received six-figure bonuses that were guaranteed by their contracts.

The year was a difficult one for EDMC, marked by ongoing lawsuits over its recruiting practices and pressure from lenders to collect on $1.5 billion in debt. The lawsuits could prompt potentially hefty financial penalties and add to the company’s financial troubles.

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Pittsburgh Study Shows City’s Vibrancy Has Returned

DSC01844Editor’s note:  We found this to be true during our visit there this summer. Pittsburgh has drastically changed over the last 10 years and the improvement is palpable.

Pittsburgh has transformed from an economically stagnant, transient city to “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” according to Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today.

A new report from the statistics-based project reflects this trend in increased home ownership, showing more residents are making the city their home.

The report shows the Pittsburgh region has the highest percentage of owner-occupied housing compared to 14 other metropolitan areas with comparable size and demographics, according to U.S. Census figures.

Factors like employment opportunities, education and housing have turned the city into “somewhere people want to come to and stay for a long time,” Mr. Heuck said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/10/18/Study-shows-Pittsburgh-s-vibrancy-has-returned/stories/201410180017

PPG Profit Soars 64 Percent In Third Quarter

DSC01828Acquisitions remain a focus for PPG Industries Inc., which has $3 billion in cash that it can spend to increase performance, CEO Charles E. Bunch said Thursday when the company reported a 64 percent jump in third-quarter profit.

“We have a very active acquisition pipeline,” Bunch said. “Including the pending acquisition of Comex, we will likely spend at or above the top end of our previously announced range of $3 billion to $4 billion of cash in 2014 and 2015 on acquisitions and share repurchases.”

PPG’s latest deal is the purchase of Consorcio Comex S.A. de C.V., a leading paint company in Mexico, for $2.3 billion. The deal announced June 30 is expected to be completed by Dec. 31.

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Southwestern Energy Snaps Up Assets In Marcellus, Utica From Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy continued its sell-off of gas drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica shales Thursday with its biggest withdrawal from Appalachia.

Pennsylvania’s biggest shale gas producer agreed to sell 435 shale wells, 1,100 conventional wells and the rights to drill in more than 400,000 acres to Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. for $5.375 billion.

“I certainly think this is consistent with what we’ve seen from Chesapeake,” said Scott Hanold, an energy analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

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BNY Mellon Posts Third-Quarter Earnings Of $1.07 Billion

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. posted a third-quarter profit of $1.07 billion, or 93 cents per share, up from $962 million, or 82 cents per share, during the same quarter a year earlier.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/10/17/BNY-Mellon-posts-third-quarter-earnings-of-1-07-billion-Pittsburgh/stories/201410170178