U.S. Steel today committed to remaining in Pennsylvania, announcing plans to build its new world headquarters at the former Civic Arena site. The deal reached by U.S. Steel and the Penguins will make the company the anchor tenant in the Lower Hill Redevelopment.

The five-story single tower planned for the corner of Centre Avenue and Washington Place will provide office space for about 800 employees. In announcing the agreement, U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi says the plan bodes well for the company, the city and the region.

“Right now you might see a parking lot out there but I see a vibrant, thriving development that will serve as a cornerstone in the revitalization of this community and our company.”

U.S. Steel’s lease on the U.S. Steel Tower at 600 Grant Street expires in 2017 and there was speculation that the corporation would relocate to Illinois or Indiana, where it maintains significant operations. While Pittsburgh was competing with other states to woo U.S. Steel, Longhi says the collaboration between the city, county, and the Penguins led to the company’s decision to stay. Mayor Bill Peduto says he was intent on keeping the company in Pittsburgh.

“I said to Mario[Longhi] ‘I will not be the mayor to lose U.S. Steel.’”

The Mayor emphasized that U.S. Steel’s commitment to Pittsburgh and to building in the Lower Hill development site will serve to revitalize the Lower, Middle and Upper Hill. He said half of the tax abatement funds generated from the development will go toward projects in the Middle and Upper Hill. Kevin Acklin, the mayor’s chief of staff, added that while a tax increment finanacing district (TIF) had been proposed to generate money for the Hill, they are investigating the use of Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) to more quickly generate funds.

The building will be 268,000 square feet in total; 18,000 square feet will be open for as-of-yet unknown retail tenants. The cost of the building is still being worked out, though the state committed $15 million over the next three years to the project.

Governor Corbett, who in October announced $30.7 million in state funds for U.S. Steel’s update to the Mon Valley Works, says the company’s commitment to the region is good for the state’s economy.

“More than 13,000 jobs are supported by the iron and steel industry in Pennsylvania. Sometimes we forget that manufacturing is a key component of our economy. Manufacturing still represents ten percent of the state’s economic output. And the multiplier effect means that every manufacturing job creates three more jobs in the downstream economy.”

Construction on the tower is expected to begin in fall 2015. Clayco will be the developer. The building is expected to open fall 2017.

Margaret J Krauss

Margaret J. Krauss is a writer, radio producer, and researcher. If not biking Pittsburgh's streets or swimming its rivers, she is likely geeking out about a really good story.