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In the News

March 11, 2016

Don Smith talks about the science and art of re-purposing industrial sites

When the Shenango Coke Works site announced it was shutting down operations, many turned to RIDC president Don Smith for his advice and expertise.  RIDC has a long history of remediating and re-purposing former industrial sites — RIDC has undertaken the former US Steel sites in McKeesport and Duquesne, a Westinghouse facility in Turtle Creek/East Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Technology Center, the Edgewater Steel site in Oakmont, the former Heppenstall steel site in Lawrenceville, and Almono, which was the former LTV Steel Coke Works in Hazelwood.

Don was quoted in the Tribune-Review article on February 17 titled “Options broad for redeveloping Shenango coke works site.” Don explained three large hurdles in these large redevelopment projects:

  1. Developers must decide which buildings must be demolished and which can be re-used.
  2. Then developers must figure out how much environmental remediation is required.
  3. Infrastructure is the third consideration. Many industrial sites have excellent rail and water access but only one entrance and exit for vehicular traffic.

On Tuesday, March 8, Don was asked to join Essential Pittsburgh, a program of 90.5 WESA, to discuss further the challenges of re-purposing industrial sites.  Don talked about the fact that many of these former industrial sites can fill a regional need because they are well-located and are large enough to fit significant development.  Our region needs more flat sites to attract new projects to the area, and these former industrial sites can be the answer.  Light industrial space is in high demand, especially near the city.

Don also discussed balancing the economic needs with the environmental benefits as well.  RIDC has been putting an emphasis on the environmental stability of its redevelopment projects in recent years.

You can listen to the entire radio program here.