Chevron targets location in Moon
Chevron USA's proposal to build a regional headquarters in Moon would be the largest single development in the township since the former Pittsburgh airport terminal was built in 1952, a township official said.
The population of the mostly middle-class township increased during the past few decades — 24,185 people lived there as of 2010, census figures show. The township experienced a slowdown in commercial development starting in 2008 because of the economic downturn, said Richard Mills, solicitor for Moon Transportation Authority.
The tide is starting to turn, a Moon supervisor said, and a Chevron campus would significantly contribute to that.
“It's going to create jobs for Moon Township. Obviously, a development of this size increases our tax base,” said Marvin Eicher, chairman of the board of supervisors.
Chevron spent $17.5 million to buy two parcels of land along Market Place Boulevard, but a company spokesman said Chevron has not decided about building in Moon.
“I can't tell you when a final decision will be made,” spokesman Trip Oliver said.
Last week, Moon supervisors approved the conditional-use, master site plan and laboratory applications for the first phase of a proposed Chevron Appalachian-Michigan Business Unit headquarters, which manages the company's natural gas assets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan from leased offices in Moon.
The project would be built on two parcels, including one that is a former Kmart store site, totaling 61 acres.
Chevron has 700 employees working in Moon and Smithfield in Fayette County, Oliver said.
Chevron estimates the headquarters would house about 1,000 workers and the number would grow to about 1,500 employees by 2025, Eicher said.
Oliver would not disclose details of the company's plan.
Eicher cited the Chevron proposal as one of several examples of progress in commercial developments in Moon.
He noted the relocation of a commissary and post exchange from a nearly closed military base in Collier to facilities that will open next year in Moon. And last year, Columbus, Ohio-based Continental Real Estate Cos. and Cranberry-based Chaska Property Advisors Inc. started construction of Pittsburgh International Business Park on 47 acres on Cherrington Parkway that they lease from the Allegheny County Airport Authority, he said.
With more than 700,000 acres in the Marcellus shale, San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron Corp. is the sixth-largest leaseholder, ahead of EQT Corp., Downtown, and Exxon Mobil Corp. in Irving, Texas, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd., a Scotland-based energy research firm with U.S. headquarters in Houston.
Chevron's proposal indicates the Pittsburgh region's growing dominance in the drilling industry, though it is still developing, experts said.
Pittsburgh's university research centers, cultural district and sports teams draw industry to the region but it needs to build the infrastructure to become a major exporter of gas, said Kurt Rankin, an economist at Downtown-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
“Over the long term ... we're talking 10 years out or more, I do expect Pittsburgh to be the epicenter of natural gas development and shipping,” he said.
Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.