Don's message acknowledged the great progress that Pittsburgh has made, but focused on the challenges we need to face as a region in order for our growth to be self-sustaining.
RIDC President was the featured speaker at an event hosted by the Pittsburgh Business Times called "Vision Pittsburgh," which was attended by 180 people. Young people are moving in and taking leadership positions, employment is up, our core economic sectors are doing well, and our crises in fiscal health and public transportation have subsided. In addition, Pittsburgh has become a great place to live. However, we still face challenges with regards to our State-wide pension system, decreased federal funding to the universities, a shortage of real estate availability to new companies, and several regulatory hurdles that slow down progress.
Don discussed RIDC's role in facing these challenges - taking on real estate projects where the public benefit exceeds the private benefit. With experience in redevelopment some of the region's most challenged sites, RIDC is taking on new projects that have large impacts. RIDC took over the former Sony plant in Westmoreland County and is converting it to a multi-tenant facility that focuses on attracting high-quality jobs. The 2.8 million sq ft building is one of the only places in the region where a manufacturing company can have more than 300,000 sq ft on contiguous space.
RIDC is also managing the Almono development, which is the 178-acre former LTV Steel site in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood. Almono is a site where many of the opportunities facing Pittsburgh converge. The site is programmed to be a premier live-work-play environment, where innovation companies partnering with the universities can call home. The Almono site has also made clear the many regulatory challenges facing new projects in the region, and a more common-sense approach can help further the public interest in growing jobs and increasing fiscal revenue.