Industrial Scientific moving to Robinson

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North Fayette-based Industrial Scientific Corp. is moving forward with plans to build a new headquarters on Bayer Road in Robinson.

The international gas detection company proposes a 330,000-square-foot building on 25 acres bordering the Parkway West, Settlers Cabin Park and the Bayer campus, according to a site plan Robinson commissioners approved Monday.

Industrial Scientific will expand manufacturing and increase the number of local employees from about 350 to 800, company chairman and co-founder Kent McElhattan said.

Four regional facilities -- three in North Fayette and one in Findlay -- will be closed and combined into the new global headquarters by the end of 2015, he said.

Mr. McElhattan said the Robinson facility will allow for more efficient operations and provide space for the growing international business.

"We're spread out in four facilities in Pittsburgh right now, and it's driving us crazy," he said.

Ground breaking could occur as early as next spring, said Donald Smith of IDC Architects in Robinson.

Industrial Scientific plans to purchase more than 30 acres of undeveloped land from Bayer Corp., including the building site -- near the Ridge Road interchange of Interstate 376 -- and about eight acres on the opposite side of Bayer Road.

Township planning director Rick Urbano said the development is a perfect fit for the property, which is highly visible and zoned for research and development.

"It's a big project," he said. "From what I've heard, it's probably a $40 to $45 million development. And I want it in Robinson Township."

Robinson manager Aaron Bibro said the project will help offset the more transient nature of the township's retail stores.

"A business headquarters like this is going to be here for the long term to create a good tax base and jobs," he said.

Industrial Scientific proposes to consolidate research, office, warehouse and manufacturing functions under one roof in Robinson.

The current headquarters on Oakdale Road includes manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering and support operations.

The company has a service center on Steubenville Pike in North Fayette and a sales and support center in RIDC Park West in Findlay.

A shipping center with about 20 employees is set to open Sept. 1 on Bateman Road in the Imperial section of North Fayette, Mr. McElhattan said.

The Robinson site plan, prepared by Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc., shows the building, two driveways and 1,194 parking spaces largely contained in a three-level parking garage.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to grant conditional-use approval to the plan, subject to the company agreeing to bonding requirements, showing sufficient sanitary sewer capacity and obtaining necessary state, county and local permits.

Board members also approved several zoning waivers dealing with landscaping and stormwater pipes.

In accordance with the company's mission to eliminate on-the-job deaths, Industrial Scientific provides gas detection products and services that guard the health of workers who are exposed to deadly gases such as methane in the coal mining, oil and gas, steel and wastewater industries, according to the company's website.

The privately owned company, founded in 1985, has a presence in 22 countries and operates manufacturing plants in the U.S., China, Germany and France, with about 925 people employed globally.

Mr. McElhattan expected global sales to exceed $200 million this year.

businessnews - neigh_west

Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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