General Site Information
History of the Site
Conditions and Infrastructure at Time of Redevelopment
Current Status of the Site
Background on the Companies
Costs and Funding for the Plant Conversion
Environmental Information on the Site
(Table of Contents)
Site: Pittsburgh Technology Center (PTC)
Location: Hazelwood, Pa; along Second Avenue and the Monongahela River
Date Built: First Developed by C.G. Hussey and Company in 1852
Size: 48 Acres
Owner: Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
(Table of Contents)
The site that now contains the Pittsburgh Technology Center was originally occupied by the Pittsburgh and Boston Copper Smelting Works, later called C.G. Hussey and Company, in 1849 (Archeological Survey, 1989). Until the 1930 s, there were still houses located along Second Avenue where the PTC is now located. The last company to have operations on the site was the Pittsburgh Works of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation in 1979. This area was purchased by the Park Corporation in 1981, when J&L stopped their operations on the site. The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) then purchased the land from Park Corporation in 1983. The following is a list of other companies who have occupied the site in whole or in part before the Park Corporation purchased it. Many of these findings can be documented using Sanborn maps, which were maps created by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company in order to record the facilities which they insured. Figures 1 through 5 are Sanborn maps of the facilities operated by these companies in the past on the PTC site.
*Note that the Districts are defined in Figure 3.
(Above Information Provided By Archeological Survey, 1989)
Figure 9 is a topographical map of the PTC site and surroundings as of 1969.
A concrete structural slab, which was once the foundation of the hot strip mill, exists below the ground surface of the PTC site. The slab has an average thickness of 11 inches, but it ranges from 6 to 34.75 inches. The slab was not demolished once construction began on the PTC. There were also structure and machine foundations: pit, tunnel, and basement walls located below the surface. Before construction began on the PTC, the pits and tunnels were re-excavated to provide better support for the new structures being built (Archeological Survey, 1989).
Before construction began on the PTC, the site was cleared of all existing buildings except one, the former Soho Works galvanizing line and attached warehouse. This building was eventually occupied by Metaltech, Inc. The following is a listing of the buildings occupied by J&L on the site and the organizations the structures were built by.
Jones and Laughlin:
Old Keystone Works:
None of the existing roads within the J&L plant were kept for use in the PTC. All new roads were constructed to provide immediate access to and within the facility. However, the railroad tracks on the site were left standing despite the fact that they are not currently being used. Additional infrastructure built included new sewer lines, electric lines, and a road system.
There are currently two universities and seven companies occupying space or planning on occupying space at the Pittsburgh Technology Center. The Oakland Consortium building is currently under construction and the Aristech building will begin construction in the near future. The other organizations are currently occupying the PTC. They are:
The following are descriptions of the current and projected buildings at the Pittsburgh Technology Center.
The University of Pittsburgh occupies one building at PTC, which houses a center for research. The university focuses their research on three major areas: biological; instrumentation and devices; and information and software (Linn, 1988). The building is 91,000 square-foot (Bates, 1992) and it cost $14 million to build (Barnes, 1986). Figure 10 shows the Biotechnology Center under construction. (see Figure 11 and Figure 12 for current photographs of the building)
The Carnegie Mellon Research Institute (CMRI) is housed in a 5-story, 88,000 square-foot building on the PTC site (Sokol Thomas, 1995). The cost of the CMRI building was $16 million (Sokol Thomas, 1995). Figure 13 shows the CMRI under construction and Figure 14 shows the PTC when both the CMRI and Pitt's Biotechnology Center were under construction. There are four main research groups located at the CMRI. The groups are: Computer, Automation & Robotics; Advance Devices & Materials; Industry Systems; and Biotechnology. These groups, along with the several special long-term projects, form the operations which are being conducted at CMRI (http://www.cmu.edu/cmri). (see Figure 15 and Figure 16 for current photographs of the building)
Union Switch and Signal (US&S), which is owned by The Ansaldo Group (a transportation company based in Genoa, Italy), operates an office and research building at PTC. At this site, research is being conducted in the field of vehicle control and location systems (Florence, 1993). US&S employs 650 people at the three-story, 175,000 square-foot building, which cost $20 million to construct (Gaynor, 1993). A parking garage (Figure 17) was also built on the site to provide parking for US&S employees. US&S was the first private investor to build at PTC. (see Figure 18 and Figure 19 for current photographs of the building)
Metaltech Inc. is a privately held partnership that produces coated steel coils. They operate a manufacturing plant at PTC which employees 85 people (http://www.saic.com/fed/uscompanies/labor/a_m/metaltech.html). The site which the plant is located on was owned by the Park Corporation, which bought it from J&L Steel. The galvanizing lines and the attached warehouse now occupied by Metaltech were originally part of the Soho Works in the late 1800's (Davis, 1989). (see Figure 20 and Figure 21 for current photographs of the building)
Aristech is a manufacturer of polypropylene, a plastic which is used to make such products as automotive parts, textile fibers, and packaging films. They are currently in the process of building a research center at PTC. The total cost of the center is $25 million, $16 million of which is coming from state and local funds (http://www.polysort.com/news/jan-march/aristech11296.htm). The building being planned is 80,000 square-feet and is expected to be completed in July 1997 ("Aristech picks Pittsburgh for its new R&D facility", 1996) . They also have an option to develop another 175,000 square-feet (Elliott, 1996). Aristech is owned by Mitsubishi Corporation.
The Oakland Consortium is an alliance of four high-technology groups located in the Pittsburgh area: Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania; The Enterprise Corporation of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh High Technology Council; and Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center. These four companies which comprise the Oakland Consortium are not directly related or joined. The idea behind the Oakland Consortium is to market themselves as a package and provide different levels of advancement to technological companies (http://www.industry.net/c/orgunpro/phtc/oakland). The building which will house the Oakland Consortium is currently being constructed. The Oakland Consortium will be located on the first two-stories of the building at PTC which is 70,000 square-feet and cost $8.5 million (http://www.industry.net/c/orgunpro/phtc/2000). Other private industries will be located on the other two floors of the building.(see Figure 22 and Figure 23 for current photographs of the building under construction)
Figure 24 is a map of the Pittsburgh Technology Center as of October 1995.
The following is background information on the organizations occupying or soon to be occupying the Pittsburgh Technology Center.
The University of Pittsburgh Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering focus their research on three major areas: biological; instrumentation and devices; and information and software. The biological division researches such things as genetic engineering and tissue used for implantation. The research on instrumentation and devices is looking at probes to measure specific body chemistries. The information and software research is focusing on the development of new drugs for treatments.(Linn, 1988).
Union Switch and Signal is owned by The Ansaldo Group, which is based in Genoa, Italy. The Ansaldo Group is a subsidiary of Finmeccania SpA. (McKay, 1993) The headquarters for Union Switch & Signal are located in Columbia, South Carolina. Union Switch and Signal specializes in the design, manufacture, and service of signaling, automation and control systems, and components for the railroad and mass transit industries (Florence, 1993).
Carnegie Mellon Research Institute (CMRI) is an applied research facility which works toward improving technology to serve industry and government. CMRI consists of four operating groups: Computer, Automation, and Robotics; Advance Devices and Materials; Industry Systems; and Biotechnology. In conjunction with these groups, several special long-term projects are in progress. (http://www.cmu.edu/cmri)
Metaltech, which was formed in 1984, is a privately held partnership that employees 85 people. The company is a manufacturer of coated steel coils and is based in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with the Metaltech manufacturing plant located at PTC, a sister plant is also located in Turtle Creek, PA.
Aristech Chemical Corporation is a manufacturer of polypropylene, a thermoplastic used to make such as products used in the medical field, households, and packaging. Aristech is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation. They produce over 850 million pounds of polypropylene a year and generate annual revenue of $1 billion (Carlisle, 1996).
The Oakland Consortium is an alliance of four high-technology groups located in the Pittsburgh area: Ben Franklin Technology Center of Western Pennsylvania; The Enterprise Corporation of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh High Technology Council; and Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center. These four companies which comprise the Oakland Consortium are not directly related or joined. The idea behind the Oakland Consortium is to market themselves as a package and provide different levels of advancement to technological companies.
Ben Franklin Technology Center (BFTC/WP) promotes the transfer of new technology into the marketplace. BFTC/WP focuses on four main methods: technology assessment; technical assistance; technology solutions; and technology development
The Enterprise Corporation of Pittsburgh assists entrepreneurs in the original set-up and organization of their businesses. Enterprise continues to provide its services until the business is established. They also provide programs in support of creating and maintaining a successful entrepreneurial climate in the community. Enterprise offers its services free-of-charge since most of its funding is provided by foundations and community organizations.
The Pittsburgh High Technology Council (PHTC) was established in 1983 to promote development in high performance manufacturers. PHTC provides such services as business building programs, and information and communication services in order to support their mission of promoting modernization while improving the regional economy.
Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center (SPIRC) provides improvement services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. SPIRC focuses on four principle areas: production improvement services, education and training, financial assistance, and international business development. (http://www.industry.net/c/orgunpro/phtc/oakland)
According to the various sources, it cost $18 million to remediate the PTC site and make it attractive to outside buyers. This money was used for land acquisition, site preparation, installation of sewers and electric lines and building a road. Figure 25 and Figure 26 show the site once it was cleared. Portions of the money came from the following public sources (Barnes, 1986):
- $6 million from the state Commerce Department for land acquisition and site preparation
- $2.4 million from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for installation of utility lines
- $1.9 million from the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) land acquisition fund
- $1.4 million in city bond funds
- $1.3 million from the Regional Industrial Development Corporation, which the URA had chosen as the developer for the project
Because of the wide variety and large number of industrial companies that have occupied the current PTC site, there are many environmental factors to take into consideration. Ferrous (Iron) cyanide was found on a section of the site where the Pittsburgh Gas Company, and later the Consolidated Gas company, were located. Two environmental assessments of the site as well as an investigation conducted by Dr. Richard Luthy of Carnegie Mellon University revealed the cyanide. Tar pits were also once located on the same site. Because of the Ferrous cyanide and the possibility of tar turning up in the future and causing the site to be put on the National Priority List, Carnegie Mellon University decided to relocate its Carnegie Mellon Research Institute to a site fifty feet downstream from the property line of the gas plant (Barton, et al., 5) Figure 27 shows the site next to the University of Pittsburgh's Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center where the land with the cyanide contamination is present.
The cyanide, located 25 feet below the surface, had previously caused a two-year ban on development on the PTC. In October of 1995, the state Department of Environmental Protection lifted the ban. The URA was required to continuously monitor and test underground wells for the presence of cyanide or evidence that the cyanide was moving (Barnes, 1995). However, the fact that the cyanide was of enough concern for the state to keep developers from building while it was running tests was more than enough to scare away potential companies and investors. It wasn't until this year that the center really started to fill up. According to Suzanne Elliott, there are only three acres left to be developed.
The site in question has not been remediated because it was determined that the cyanide has a very low toxicity and that it is stable. If, however, the cyanide was not stable or it leaked into the groundwater, a costly clean up process would result.
The PTC is an excellent example of how a brownfield can be transformed into an asset to the community. Once an abandoned steel mill, the PTC has become a thriving technology center which brings research and industry together. Despite many obstacles and delays, the PTC was still able to be developed because a great many people were working toward the same goal. Those working in the research areas at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh wanted to find some way to make their research more accessible to industry. Those working in industry wanted an easier way to access the plethora of information available at the university level. Once the gap between the two areas was filled, not only did the universities and industry benefit, but also the surrounding community. The city of Pittsburgh has gained much reward from this development, which only five years ago was nothing but an abandoned field and a growing idea.
Web Pages for the PTC Created By: Adrienne
Messenger and Carla Santoro, Carnegie Mellon University.
Questions or Comments: Send E-mail to: email@example.com
Last Updated: July 08, 1999.