Pittsburgh a finalist for Slovenian lighting firm's new plant
The head of a Slovenian LED light maker is returning to Pittsburgh this month to meet with potential investors who could help pay to build a streetlight manufacturing facility in the city, officials said Thursday.
City Councilman Bill Peduto, D-Point Breeze, said Pittsburgh is one of three finalists for a Grah Lighting plant that could employ at least 100 people and become the company's North American headquarters. It could be the main supplier for the city's conversion to more energy-efficient streetlights.
The company's owner, Robert Grah, traveled to Pittsburgh in March to meet with Peduto and county and state officials. Peduto returned the favor last month, meeting with Grah and touring a factory during a trip to Slovenia.
“He has made it very evident that he wants to move as expeditiously as possible,” Peduto said, declining to offer a timetable.
Grah did not return messages.
Grah is expected to meet with potential investors during his Nov. 15 trip to Pittsburgh, said Peduto and Jurcek Zmauc, Slovenia's consul general for 10 U.S. states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado — all of which are in the running for the proposed streetlight plant.
Peduto, the Democratic candidate and overwhelming favorite for mayor in Tuesday's election, said Grah wants to locate in a city that is looking to convert to LED streetlights. Pittsburgh began doing that in July 2011. It has replaced about 3,000 traditional streetlights with LED ones, using a $816,000 state grant for the project.
Officials say they want to replace the city's 37,000 remaining streetlights to reduce energy use and cut costs. Although the new lights cost more, Peduto's office said traditional lights need to be replaced about once every two years, compared with about once every two decades for the LED lights. A city report released three years ago estimated Pittsburgh could save $800,000 to $1 million annually by converting. It spends more than $3.2 million a year on the associated electricity and $1 million on maintenance, according to the report.
Peduto said Grah won't be assured a streetlight supplier contract yet, but officials could structure the request for proposals in a way that gives “bonus points” to manufacturers based in Pittsburgh.
Peduto said Grah is looking for financial partners to invest about $3 million in a plant. Peduto said the city would likely pour money into a project and seek state and federal funding, though he did not say how much.
Peduto's office said the councilman also plans to take Grah to potential sites for a plant, including the 178-acre former LTV Steel Co. site in Hazelwood that is being prepped for $1 billion in development.
Grah also will spend time in Cleveland, where he plans to attend a conference hosted by the Slovenian-American Business Association, said Zmauc, whose consul office is in Cleveland. Grah's U.S. itinerary includes a visit to a company facility in Detroit that makes automotive lighting.
“I can tell you now that Pittsburgh's energy for this is really unique. I think we have really huge possibilities,” Zmauc said.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police break up customer fights over Air Jordan 11 shoes
- Pittsburgh adjusting to new bicycle lane, ‘stop boxes’
- Brashear High ‘little libraries’ program rolls out
- Environmental teachers glean new ideas from networking
- Icy roads, cold causing school delays, wrecks in Western Pa.
- Newsmaker: Cindy Marzock
- Tax exemptions cost Allegheny County governments $620M, auditor general reports
- Second African penguin chick hatches at National Aviary
- 3 Pittsburgh police supervisors promoted to rank of commander
- Pittsburgh fraud case, Uganda-based counterfeiting racket linked
- Fall from Hazelwood roof kills man