MCCC’s Sustainability And Innovation Hub In Pottstown Earns Montgomery Award For Excellent Planning And Design

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— The Montgomery County Planning Commission recently  presented Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) with a 2016 Montgomery Award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub at 140 College Drive, Pottstown.

MCCC was one of five award recipients to receive this honor during a recent awards ceremony held at Theatre Horizon in Norristown. The other recipients are The Courts of Spring Mill Station, Whitemarsh Township; Narberth Place, Narberth Borough; Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton Township; and Reliance Crossing, Souderton Borough. Additionally, Paul W. Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Executive of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Planning Advocate Award.

MCCC’s Hub not only has programs in sustainability and innovation, but the building and property are themselves models of these principles. During the course of six years, MCCC transformed the building, a former energy substation, and three-acre brownfield site into a state-of-the-art center for education, innovation and conservation.

“The building is a sustainable energy hub outside–with the wind turbines, green roof and impervious parking lot—and inside—with programs in aquaponics, hydroponics, robotics, engineering and software development,” said Vice President of West Campus Dr. David DiMattio. “The Hub also represents collaboration with the community, through partnerships with the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage area, Riverfront Park, Schuylkill River Trail and Pottstown Borough.”

The architect for the project was Murray Associates Architects of Harrisburg, and the engineering company was Bruce Brooks and Associates of Philadelphia.

Pottstown Borough transferred the property to MCCC in 2007. The rehabilitation was both part of Pottstown’s Redevelopment Plan, as outlined in its 2003 “Riverfront & Memorial Parks Master Plan,” and a way for MCCC to expand its West Campus.

Starting in 2010, MCCC developed the site in three extensive phases, concluding in 2016 with the opening of the Hub on April 18.

Phase I started with the installation of a 202-space parking lot. The innovative design uses bioretention and includes the planting of more than 130 native plants and trees. Through an EPA grant, MCCC installed energy-saving LED lighting.

Phase II included abatement and cleaning of mold, lead and asbestos from the building and involved preparing the building’s south side infrastructure for demolition and remediation. MCCC replaced the leaking roof with an eco-friendly green roof; added a new entrance, handicap-accessible ramp and energy efficient windows; and updated water and sewer services.

Between Phases II and III, MCCC installed four wind turbines on the property. The turbines produce a collective 4,000 watts of energy–enough to power the LED parking lot lighting. The turbines were designed as a demonstration project to teach students and the community about alternative energy production.

Phase III involved the construction of the Hub’s classrooms and innovation spaces in the building’s south side. The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area (SRHA) has its headquarters in the north side of the building since 2002, which also includes the River of Revolutions Interpretative Center for visitors.

The Hub’s first floor features an aquaponics and hydroponics teaching laboratory, which supports MCCC’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies degree program, as well as future programs in the areas such as greenhouse technology, food production, horticulture and landscape design. Aquaponics and hydroponics involve growing fish and soil-less plants in a symbiotic system.

The Hub’s second floor features an Engineering Design Center, which supports MCCC’s Engineering Technology program and prepares graduates for careers in the advanced technology fields of instrumentation, communications and mechanical structures and systems. In this space, MCCC students, faculty and community businesses are working with robotics and 3D printing.

The Hub’s mezzanine floor is a flexible innovation space that can be used by the community, as well as for classes. MCCC holds its new Software Developer Academy in this area.

For more information about MCCC’s Sustainability and Innovation Hub, contact Dr. David DiMattio at ddmatti@mc3.edu or 610-819-2070.

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Hazelwood: Almono Gives Neighborhood A Shot At Recovery

Salvation sits just across the railroad tracks from Alex Bodnar’s Hungarian restaurant on Second Avenue in Hazelwood.

It doesn’t look like much now, just acres and acres of vacant land, graded but idle. But the redevelopment potential of the 178-acre site has raised the hopes of the struggling city neighborhood.

“The good Lord is answering my prayer,” Mr. Bodnar beamed as he stood in the kitchen of his restaurant preparing a bowl of goulash.

For much of the last century, the Monongahela riverfront site has been closely tied to the neighborhood’s fortunes. For decades, the massive coke works that dominated the land brought prosperity. Jobs were plentiful and Second Avenue teemed with grocery stores, shops and restaurants.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/in-the-lead-2015/reports/2015/05/11/In-The-Lead-Hazelwood-Almono-gives-neighborhood-a-shot-at-recovery/stories/201505140090

Newark, N.J. To Get World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm

AeroFarms, an aeroponics company that was started in 2004, is bringing what is soon to be the world’s largest vertical farm to a former steel factory in Newark, New Jersey’s Ironbound community.

The vertical farm will manufacture short, leafy green vegetables grown in vertically stacked trays that will fill 69,000 square feet of the former Newark factory.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/home_and_design/Newark-NJ-to-get-worlds-largest-indoor-vertical-farm.html#6hOeyD2lDQ1rD9Rq.99

Phillipsburg Town Council Starts Year Talking Ingersoll Rand Redevelopment, Vacant Properties

At least one Phillipsburg official is optimistic this will be the year the town finds a redeveloper for the former Ingersoll-Rand site, which has sat mostly unused for years.

John Lynn, who succeeds Todd Tersigni as town council president, said officials will be working diligently during the next three months to secure a developer for the more than 250 acres of property the town bought in December 2012.

“We have some things in the works and our goal is to have them come to fruition this year. We have a lot of interest, and we have a lot of options,” Lynn said after the meeting.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/phillipsburg/index.ssf/2015/01/phillipsburg_town_council_star.html

Corbett Announces $10M In Grants For Almono Project In Hazelwood

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in ...

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

Before local developers can build a projected $1 billion in apartments, offices, retail shops and tech suites on the former LTV Steel Corp. site in Hazelwood, they need about $103 million in streets, utility lines and other infrastructure upgrades.

“There’s huge interest in this site, tremendous interest in this site, from developers not only in the region, but across the country,” said Don Smith, president of the Regional Industrial Development Corp., which is managing the project. “Really, it’s all just interest until we can give them some certainty that the site will be ready for their buildings to open.”

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday announced $10 million in state grants to support development at the 178-acre Almono property along the Monongahela River.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6964700-74/industrial-office-space#ixzz3GLYMNDky
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Four-Building SouthSide Works Project Unveiled

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)

Since arriving in Pittsburgh three years ago, Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods Properties has acquired iconic PPG Place and EQT Plaza, Downtown. Now it’s moving across the river — to build, not to buy.

The real estate investment trust has reached an agreement with the Soffer Organization to erect four office buildings at the 34-acre SouthSide Works complex on the last four parcels left for development.

Highwoods plans to start with a 158,000-square-foot glass office building on the Monongahela riverfront next to Hofbrauhaus restaurant. The six-story building would feature 30,000-square-foot floor plates, terraces, an 8,000-square-foot restaurant, locker rooms, bike storage, a 72-space parking garage, and direct access to the waterfront park, trails and marina. Other buildings would follow based on demand — about 400,000 square feet of office and retail space in all.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/10/10/4-building-SouthSide-Works-project-unveiled/stories/201410100105

Pittsburgh Airport-Area Development Exceeding Expectations

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

It wasn’t much more than two years ago that Richard Donley committed to erecting a new building near Pittsburgh International Airport every 18 months.

At the time, he had no tenants and there was plenty of empty office space in the corridor.

Talk about pressure.

“We were nervous about it,” said Mr. Donley, president of developer Chaska Property Advisors of Cranberry.

Not so much anymore.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/10/02/Pittsburgh-airport-area-development-exceeding-expectations/stories/201410020254

LTV Site In Hazelwood Nearly Ready For New Identity

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)

Work to level a former steel mill in Hazelwood is expected to be done by the end of August, clearing the way for contractors to build a 1½-mile road and run utility lines through the 178-acre property, a developer said on Friday.

“Once the infrastructure work is under way, I think it will unlock tremendous interest in the site” from prospective tenants, said Donald F. Smith Jr., president of the Downtown-based Regional Industrial Development Corp.

RIDC is partnering with four foundations under the name Almono to transform the former LTV Steel Co. site. They bought the riverfront property in 2002 and envision more than $1 billion in development happening there during the next two decades, including 1,400 housing units, 1.3 million square feet of office space and nearly 950,000 square feet of industrial space.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6583745-74/million-site-development#ixzz3A6HN2TvF
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Allentown Waterfront Redevelopment Starts With Brownfield Demolition

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An estimated decade-long, $300 million brownfield redevelopment is about to begin taking shape along the Lehigh River in Allentown.

Dignitaries and the developers today celebrated the start of demolition at the former Lehigh Structural Steel Co. to make way for The Waterfront project.

The Waterfront Development Co. — a partnership among Jaindl Properties, Dunn Twiggar and Michael Dunn Co. — anticipates the entire 1 million square feet of commercial, residential and industrial space along the west side of the river will take eight to 10 years to complete.

The first phase of construction includes development at the Furnace Street site south of the Tilghman Street bridge.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/07/allentown_waterfront_redevelop.html

3 Pittsburgh Construction Projects Hang In The Balance in 2014

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year could be a pivotal one in the development of the former Civic Arena site in the lower Hill District, the LTV Coke Works in Hazelwood and the Strip District produce terminal.

Both the arena redevelopment and the Buncher Co.’s plans for the produce terminal not only have the potential to generate drama but could pose the first development-related challenges for Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, who takes office Monday.

Nearly two years after the Civic Arena came down, 2014 could bring the first wave of new development to the site, which is considered among the most valuable pieces of real estate in the region.

But there’s a potential fight brewing.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/03/3-city-construction-projects-hang-in-the-balance-in-2014/stories/201401030104#ixzz2pMlbpeNL

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Ambler Boiler House, Arborcrest Office Park Among 2013 Montgomery Award Winners

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

The Ambler Boiler House and the Arborcrest office campus are getting some high praise for jobs well done.

The two construction projects were among five recipients of the 2013 Montgomery Awards, sponsored by the Montgomery County Planning Commission Nov. 13.

Accoring to a Montgomery County press release, the awards are given to outstanding projects and their creators for the best planning and design in the county. The award is an acknowledgment of the high quality of work and the commitment of communities, organizations and professionals.

According to a press release, the Boiler House was the recipient of the award for “the successful revitalization and adaptive reuse of an historic industrial structure in a state-of-the-art office building that incorporates sustainable design. This transit-oriented project, once a brownfield site, recognizes Ambler’s industrial heritage while advancing the borough’s revitalization efforts and providing environmental and economic benefits to the community.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131121/ambler-boiler-house-arborcrest-office-park-among-2013-montgomery-award-winners

Hazelwood Residents Get Involved In Changes

Locator map with the Hazlwood neighborhood in ...

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

Finding money isn’t the only challenge to rebuilding neglected neighborhoods. At the grass-roots level, it may be hard to get people to open their doors.

But a knot of community census takers in Hazelwood is encouraged.

“We haven’t had to convince many people,” said Shavonne Lowry, a 2009 graduate of Slippery Rock University and one of eight census takers. “I was surprised how many people wanted to talk.”

More than 200 people have answered the door so far for a census designed specifically to glean residents’ attitudes about the neighborhood, its needs and its assets. The census is part of a community strategy that emerged from a three-year Heinz Endowments commitment that goes beyond its investment in the former LTV site on the Monongahela River — the city’s last brownfield, a 178-acre, $12 million mixed-use redevelopment site renamed Almono. It is the property of several foundations that include the Heinz Endowments.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/hazelwood-residents-get-involved-in-changes-708468/#ixzz2iMt09Np0

Developers Plan $30 Million Makeover Along Second Avenue In Hazelwood

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 largely vacant stretch of Second Avenue in Hazelwood would be filled with music, youth programming, and commercial and residential space as part of a proposed makeover designed to complement the $1 billion former LTV coke works redevelopment.

Under the plan, the vacant Spahr Building, which was a former G. C. Murphy’s store, would be transformed into programming and performance space for Hazelwood’s faith-based Center of Life organization.

ACTION-Housing Inc. and Washington, D.C.-based Telesis Corp. are partnering on the proposed redevelopment, which also would include an additional 1.5 acres of vacant land or structures besides the Spahr Building, all in the 4800 block of Second Avenue.

City Urban Redevelopment Authority board members are expected to vote Thursday on whether to begin up to 18 months of exclusive negotiations with ACTION-Housing and Telesis for the sale of the properties needed for the projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/developers-plan-30m-hazelwood-makeover-706824/#ixzz2hHZveyXq

Three York County Projects Will Benefit From Pennsylvania Bond Sale

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Image via Wikipedia

The Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is going to receive just that, an infusion of capital that will make three York County projects possible.  Approval has been given for the sale of $650 million dollars in bonds by Pennsylvania Treasurer, Rob McCord.

The Northwest Triangle project is waiting on a $7.5 million dollar grant to demolish buildings and make way for new construction.  For more information on the Northwest Triangle, you can read my post on this very large brownfield redevelopment project in York City.

York College is waiting on $4 million dollars to complete various projects around their campus including the creation of a business incubator!

The York Fire School wants to construct a new building for live-burn training.  They have applied for $1.5 million dollars to complete this project.