The week that was: 06/08/14

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2B, 1.5 BA …

… convenient to shopping. The Downtown Macy’s — once the Downtown Kaufmann’s and a 12-story retail behemoth — could be reduced to four floors of shopping as part of a plan to buy and redevelop the Smithfield Street icon. “Philadelphia developer Core Realty has reached an agreement to buy the 13-story building [with] the intent of converting all but four floors into apartments,” according to the PG’s Mark Belko. The building has been on the market for four years.

Convenient to shopping …

… is in the eye of the beholder. Teens could be living in the same building as their favorite retailer but still might not shop there, according to the PG’s Teresa F. Lindeman. Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale and South Side-based American Eagle Outfitters are all retrenching, and reconsidering how much square footage they need at a time when kids increasingly shop by computer and smartphone, rather than at the mall. American Eagle will close at least 150 stores to close in North America over the next three years, and is “closely watching 300 more that have leases coming due.”

Quote of the week

"This is a community that's been knocked around a lot over the last 30 years … Every one of these kicks in the ribs hurts."

— Maury Burgwin, president of the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce, reacting to the news that 177 U.S. Steel workers in McKeesport will lose their jobs in August. The Pittsburgh steel giant is idling tubular plants in McKeesport and in Bellville, Texas. Illegal imports of steel piping are to blame, U.S. Steel says. 

In the red

In its first companywide financial statement since reorganizing its corporate structure and launching its own hospital network, Highmark Health reported a $186 million operating loss for 2013. The main driver of that loss was a one-time $311 million “goodwill impairment charge” related to Highmark’s acquisition a year ago of the West Penn Allegheny Health System. WPAHS is now part of the larger Allegheny Health Network, which saw a $107 million loss across its seven hospitals last year.

In the green

Pennsylvania energy and utility industries would be hard hit by the Obama administration’s announcement last week of new federal controls on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, according to Republican foes and those in the coal and electric power industries. The rules, issued Monday, call for carbon emissions from power plants to eventually be cut by 30 percent from 2005 levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also predicts the new rules would shrink electricity bills by 8 percent, by reducing demand and increasing efficiency, according to the PG’s Don Hopey.

In a poll issued later in the week by the League of Conservation Voters, survey respondents in Pennsylvania and Virginia said they strongly support federal regulations that limit power plant emissions contributing to climate change. About 72 percent of Pennsylvania voters and 67 percent of Virginia voters favor the new EPA limits on coal-fired power plants.

Bill Toland: or 412-263-2625.

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