Robinson, South Fayette projects get $5.5 million in grants

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 Two major building projects, in Robinson and South Fayette, are getting a boost from $5.5 million in state grants.

Industrial Scientific Corp. will receive $1.5 million from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help build a new global headquarters on Bayer Road in Robinson, along the Parkway West.

Justin McElhattan, president and CEO of Industrial Scientific, which is based in North Fayette, said his company is investing more than $50 million to expand and consolidate four North Fayette and Findlay facilities into a single, easily accessible location in Robinson by mid-2015.

“We’re very grateful for the grant,” Mr. McElhattan said in a phone interview. “We’re making an enormous investment in the region here, and this grant will certainly be helpful as we drive to grow.”

The privately owned international gas detection company employs more than 400 people in the Pittsburgh area and could double that number of jobs in the coming years, he said.

The headquarters initially will include 190,000 square feet of manufacturing, research, office and warehouse space and could expand up to 330,000 square feet. The 25-acre site borders the Ridge Road interchange of Interstate 376, Settlers Cabin Park and the Bayer Corp. campus.

Workers have been preparing the site for construction, with a focus on stabilizing underground mines, Mr. McElhattan said.

In South Fayette, a $4 million grant will help build Newbury Market, a plan for 1.2 million square feet of retail, restaurant, hospitality and office space bordered by Route 50 and Presto-Sygan Road, near the Bridgeville interchange of I-79.

Developer EQA Landmark Communities of Pittsburgh expects to open the first businesses about late 2015.

South Fayette manager Ryan Eggleston said the township had written a letter of support for Newbury’s grant application.

“It’s competitive, so it’s a pretty big deal to be able to snag one,” he said.

The $450 million, 300-acre Newbury plan — including the 88-acre market, a neighborhood of 200 single-family homes and a 250-unit apartment complex — is a brownfield redevelopment of the former Koppers chemical plant property.

The initial phase of Newbury Market is set to include a Giant Eagle supermarket, a Courtyard Marriott hotel and two office buildings plus a pedestrian-friendly, Main Street-style section with a plaza, fountain and mix of retail, restaurant and banking uses.

Deron Gabriel, president of the South Fayette commissioners, said the township has been supporting the Newbury project for six years.

“It is becoming more and more evident that our efforts, particularly over the past two years, are bringing us closer and closer to reaching full development potential,” he said.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, or RACP, is administered by Pennsylvania's Office of the Budget. The most recent round of funding awarded more than $133 million to 58 projects, with applicants having to secure 50 percent matching funds.

State Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, announced the grants Dec. 23.

“These investments will spur long-term economic development, create jobs and enhance the community,” Mr. Smith said in a statement. “With each of these projects shovel-ready, state investment is poised to generate immediate returns.”

Andrea Iglar, freelance writer:

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