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Western Pennsylvania claims development 'wins' worth $1.5 billion

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By Thomas Olson
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Western Pennsylvania scored 286 economic development "wins" in 2011 totaling almost $1.5 billion in capital investment -- up slightly from the previous year, according to the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

The Regional Alliance, which markets the region to business and industry, tracked announcements of major capital investments and real estate developments in 10 counties of Western Pennsylvania to amass its list of economic development "wins."

The number of deals last year was 14 more than in 2010, when the Regional Alliance logged 272 wins, and the dollar value of significant capital investments last year was about the same as in 2010, when the organization said they totaled "at least $1.5 billion."

For example, the Elliott Group began a $26 million project to expand the manufacturer's headquarters in Jeannette last year. The expansion will give the company room for 80 new employees.

"The data tell us that domestic and international companies recognize Pittsburgh as a solid investment," said David Malone, who chairs the public/private partnership within the alliance that compiled the economic development data.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which oversees economic development activity in the region.

The majority of the 286 wins involved the expansion of existing businesses. The region drew 58 new projects from companies outside the region last year, an increase over the 47 in 2010.

To be counted, a "win" must involve capital investment of at least $1 million, create 50 or more jobs or add at least 20,000 square feet of office or production space.

The energy sector was a key sponsor for economic development, accounting for 79 wins, the alliance said. For instance, Talisman Energy last year announced it was expanding its regional office in Cranberry by 22,000 square feet.

By far the largest development announcement last year was PNC Financial Services Group's plan for a new $400 million headquarters Downtown. Targeted for completion in mid-2015, the 33-story tower will contain many environmentally friendly features.

Additional Information:

Top projects

Here are the largest economic development projects in the 10-county Pittsburgh region last year, ranked by total capital investment or real estate development value.

1. PNC Tower, $400 million

2. UPMC Center for Innovative Science, $300 million

3. Iberdrola Renewables, $100 million

4. Houston Processing Plant Phase 3, $40 million

5. Bluestone Gas Processing Plant, $38 million

6. McConway & Torley LLC, $27 million

7. Elliott Group, $26 million

8. Cigna, $25 million

9. Hyatt Summerfield Suites, $25 million

10. Meadows Racetrack & Casino, $25 million

11. Mon Valley Hospital, $25 million

12. TMK Ipsco Steel, $22.8 million

13. Redd Compressor Station, $20 million

Source: Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

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