PRA Post

PRA Post is the Pittsburgh Region’s Economic Development Newsletter

July 2016

Sign-up to receive the PRA Post | View Archives

Shell to Build Multibillion-Dollar Petrochemical Complex in Greater Pittsburgh Region

Royal Dutch Shell announced plans to move forward with its “once-in-a-generation” petrochemical plant in Monaca, Beaver County, which is 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. The project is expected to generate 6,000 jobs during peak construction and 600 permanent jobs when the facility is in operation. The plant will be one of the largest of its kind in North America, as well as the largest “from the ground up” industrial investment in the Pittsburgh region in the last 30 years. It’s also the first major U.S. project of its type to be built outside the Gulf Coast region in two decades.

Reacting to Shell’s announcement on June 7, Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky said in a statement from the organization, “On behalf of the Pittsburgh region, we congratulate Shell on the announcement of its positive final investment decision to build a multibillion-dollar, state-of-the-art cracker facility here.”

Pittsburgh Prospector allows you to search an expansive up-to-date inventory of available commercial buildings and sites in the Pittsburgh region.

With the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, is the comprehensive, online real estate database for the 10-county Pittsburgh region. Search and find real estate options efficiently by generating site-specific demographic and business analysis reports with this complimentary service. To discover the PRA’s full range of economic development services, visit


How Beaver County Landed the Cracker
“By late 2009, when signs were starting to point to how big the Marcellus Shale would be, Murry Gerber, veteran energy executive and then Allegheny Conference board member, and other regional leaders were already thinking about the industry’s next big play.” Read more

Shell’s Cracker Plant Announcement Pleases Lawrence County Leaders
“The Lawrence County commissioners say they are looking forward to the potential of jobs for local residents with the building of a petrochemical plant in Monaca.” Read more

Business Leaders See Broad Impact from Shell Cracker Decision
“The news of Shell’s decision to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County was given a unanimous thumbs-up by business and industry leaders across the region.” Read more

Cracker Plant Expected to Drive Real Estate Market
“The news of Shell’s decision to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County was given a unanimous thumbs-up by business and industry leaders across the region.” Read more

Beaver County Government, Business Leaders Hopeful Shell Cracker Will Attract Commerce
“Across the county, government and business leaders and longtime residents hope Shell’s announcement signals the start of a new era – one that will attract new ventures and bolster existing ones. Some are well-positioned to benefit.” Read more

Pittsburgh International Airport Eyes Expansion from Shell, Westinghouse Deals
“A multibillion-dollar petro­chemical plant in Beaver County could provide a boom for Pittsburgh International Airport, enticing airlines to offer more and better services.” Read more


Plastics Company, Retal Industries Ltd., to Locate 143,000 SF U.S. Headquarters in Washington County
“Cyprus-based plastics company, Retal Industries Ltd., will locate its U.S. headquarters in the 143,000-square-foot building in Donora Industrial Park, initially employing 43 workers with plans to expand to 88 full-time jobs over three years.” Read more

ANSYS Inc. Partners with Carnegie Mellon University to Create Simulation Laboratory
“Canonsburg-based ANSYS Inc. will build an engineering lab on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus. The three-story facility will be outfitted with ANSYS simulation software that will help prepare future engineers for the next manufacturing revolution.” Read more

University of Pittsburgh and ANSYS Inc. Unveil Additive Manufacturing Lab
“The University of Pittsburgh and ANSYS – a Canonsburg-based simulation software company – are working together to develop computing technologies that would enable companies to more precisely, quickly and safely design and manufacture products.” Read more

Renovated Union Trust Unveiled in Downtown Pittsburgh
“The $100 million restoration of downtown Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building retains its Flemish Gothic architecture but now offers a subterranean, 190-space parking garage, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, a high-tech conference and reception room.” Read more

Nokia Taking 14,000 SF in Union Trust Building for Corporate Offices and Technology Lab
“The historic Union Trust Building in downtown Pittsburgh has reeled in another office tenant, Nokia. The company, now based in Station Square, has signed a lease to occupy 14,000 square feet on the eighth floor of the building for its corporate offices and technology development lab.” Read more

PR and Marketing Firm, Stryker-Munley, Enters Pittsburgh
“New York-based public relations and marketing communications firm Stryker-Munley Group has opened a Pittsburgh office.” Read more

UPMC Unveils $3 Million Center for Care of Infectious Diseases
“UPMC recently unveiled its new, $3 million Center for Care of Infectious Diseases at the Falk Medical Building. The center will provide several services for care of infectious diseases.” Read more

Landmark Student Transportation Purchases GG&C Bus Co. Inc.; Plans to Expand
“Landmark Student Transportation – which operates school bus companies in Canada and in the United States, providing contracted student transportation services – completed its purchase of GG&C Bus Co. Inc. and plans to add services and employees.” Read more

University of Pittsburgh Launches Energy GRID Institute
“The University of Pittsburgh unveiled the Energy GRID Research and Infrastructure Development Institute, a public-private initiative for collaborative research to find solutions addressing energy security, resiliency and reliability.” Read more

Pitt Launches University Center for Teaching and Learning and the Centers for Urban Engagement
“The University of Pittsburgh unveiled the University Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Centers for Urban Engagement as part of its strategic plan to provide faculty access to teaching tools and strategies as well as encourage stronger partnerships between Pitt and community groups.” Read more

Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services and Franklin Interiors to Build 150,000-SF Warehouse Facility in Pittsburgh’s Fairywood Neighborhood
“A joint venture of Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services and Franklin Interiors is moving forward with a plan to build a new 150,000-square-foot flex warehouse facility in the western city neighborhood of Fairywood.” Read more

North Fayette’s Southern Beltway Set to Open in 2019; Spur Development and Economic Growth
“With the next section of the Southern Beltway – 13 miles from Interstate 79 to Route 22 in Robinson, Washington County – scheduled to open in 2019, development is expected to swell.” Read more

30,000 SF Office Building Coming to Westgate Business Park
“A 30,000-square-foot building is being planned for the Westgate Business Park off Route 18.” Read more

Hundreds of Acres in Pittsburgh’s Hays Section to be Used as City Park
“A 660-acre site that once was the home of a thoroughbred horse racing track, a casino, a hotel, restaurants and other developments will now become the largest park in Pittsburgh.” Read more

Priory Hospitality Group Plans to turn Westinghouse Castle into Hotel, Event Facility in Allegheny County
“Priory Hospitality Group is planning to convert the former General Office building for renowned industrialist George Westinghouse’s Air Brake Co. into a hotel and event facility with 35 guest suites, three ballrooms, facilities for corporate-type retreats, a full-service restaurant and gaming room.” Read more

Hilton Hotel Planned for Center Township
“Washington County development firm, Millcraft Investments, has announced its intent to build another hotel in Center Township – a Hilton Garden Inn off Wagner Road Extension, west of the Beaver Valley Mall.” Read more

Riverlife Ramping Up Green Projects in Pittsburgh
“Plans are afoot to start filling in gaps this year to complete the Point State Park trail in addition to ‘Strip District Park’ and other improvements including riverbank restoration along the Ohio River between Heinz Field and the West End Bridge.” Read more

Carnegie Mellon University Receives $10.8 Million to Support Technology Education in Africa
“Carnegie Mellon University has received a $10.8 million commitment from The MasterCard Foundation to support its program educating technology leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa.” Read more

Pittsburgh-based Drone Developer, Identified Technologies, Received $1.5 Million Boost from Investors, Plans to Hire
“Investors who staked the three-year-old developer of drones, Identified Technologies, in 2012 has jointly pumped another $1.5 million into the company – enabling it to ramp up its present staff and expand nationally.” Read more

Google Gives Children’s Museum $1 Million for Maker Spaces
“Google pledged $1 million to develop a national strategy to support Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and California-based nonprofit Maker Ed to build more than 100 new maker spaces as part of a new Making Spaces program.” Read more

University of Pittsburgh Partnering with Venture Capital Firm to Spur Investment in Startups
“The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute is now partnering with Osage University Partners (OUP), a venture capital firm established to invest in companies spun off from OUP’s university partner institutions.” Read more

Pittsburgh Among Smart Growth America’s Six Cities Using the New Recipe for Economic Development
“Pittsburgh’s efforts in using smart growth and placemaking strategies to gain a competitive edge and attract new companies and residents to the area is highlighted in Smart Growth America’s recent ‘Amazing Place: Six Cities Using the New Recipe for Economic Development’ report.” Read more

Steel Town to Tech Town: Rising in America’s Rust Belt
“Pittsburgh’s reinvention from a steel town to a tech town is why companies like SolePower and big tech names, including Apple, Google and Uber, are choosing to stay and expand here.” Read more

Flexible Robot Developed in Pittsburgh for Lifesaving Medical Procedures
“James Jordan, vice president and chief investment officer at Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, showcases the Flex Robotic System that ‘can only be done in Pittsburgh [due to the city’s] medical expertise and robotics expertise, and an interest in economic development in the life sciences.'” Read more

Six Pittsburgh Companies Among the Fortune 500
“Six Pittsburgh-region companies ranked among the Fortune 500 with Kraft Heinz Co. placing highest among the locals.” Read more

Six Indiana County Business Leaders Inducted into the Business Hall of Fame
“Indiana County’s Business Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding business leaders for their achievements and their contributions to their community, state and country. Six individuals were honored in the county’s second class of inductees.” Read more

Pittsburgh Makes USA Today‘s List of “10 Cities that Put Cars in Park for a Day”
“The Open Streets movement is spreading its vision for car-free fun from coast to coast, and Pittsburgh is playing a central role in the new urban phenomenon, being listed among 10 cities that ‘put cars in park for a day’ in the USA Today.” Read more

Pittsburgh: Men’s Journal‘s 10 Best Places to Live
“According to its recent report, Men’s Journal names Pittsburgh among ’10 towns where you can ski, bike, climb or paddle without forcing your career into early retirement.'” Read more

Pittsburgh’s Vibrant Tech Scene is Vital for Growth of Google’s Pittsburgh Office
“Kamal Nigam, head of Google’s Pittsburgh office, is excited by the addition of more technology companies in the city because they create a more vibrant scene for his own expanding workforce of 450 employees.” Read more

Pharmaceutical Drug Development is on the Rise in Pittsburgh
“Pittsburgh has never been known as a pharmaceutical powerhouse but that assessment masks growth in the local market, which has begun percolating in recent years.” Read more

German Companies Build Strong Presence in Pittsburgh
“German companies have become a growing presence in the city and is near the top of the list of largest foreign investors. Its companies span a diverse array of industries in Pittsburgh, from medical equipment manufacturing (Bayer) to supermarkets (Aldi) and energy (Siemens).” Read more

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on U.S. News Honor Roll for Seventh Consecutive Year
“Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been named to U.S. News and World Report’s honor roll for the seventh consecutive year.” Read more

Nova Place Earns First Platinum Wire Certification in Pittsburgh
“Nova Place, Faros Properties’ 1.5 million-square-foot office redevelopment project in Pittsburgh, received the Wired Certified Platinum Rating by WiredScore, becoming the only building in the city with this designation.” Read more

OneJet Announces Additional Nonstop Destinations from Pittsburgh International Airport to Include Cincinnati, Louisville
“OneJet will operate a total of 10 additional nonstop destinations, deployed in a metered sequence over the next two years, with routes specifically designed to meet the needs of some of Pittsburgh’s largest corporate employers.” Read more

Southwest Airlines’ Move at Pittsburgh International Airport Tells of Future Expansion
“The decision by Southwest Airlines to move its ticket counter and curbside check-in at Pittsburgh International Airport may have … set up the popular carrier to expand here.” Read more

Vacation Express Expanding Service in Pittsburgh
“Pittsburgh International Airport will have additional charter service to Jamaica with Vacation Express – the Atlanta-based charter service – announcing its 2017 schedule.” Read more

Frontier Airlines Expands Service from Pittsburgh International Airport
“Frontier Airlines is offering nonstop service from Pittsburgh International Airport to five popular destinations: Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and Las Vegas.” Read more