A day after one of the region's newest players, Chevron, announced that it may build a headquarters in the suburbs, one of the region's most venerable, U.S. Steel, appears to be siding with Downtown.
After mulling a possible move to Findlay, the steelmaker most likely will remain in the Golden Triangle, either in its current home in U.S. Steel Tower or in a new building.
The corporation is said to be considering several Downtown sites, including Oxford Development Co. property on Smithfield Street and a riverfront tract in the Strip District owned by the Buncher Co.
Its decision comes more than a year after news broke that the company, after more than four decades in Pittsburgh's tallest building, was considering a move to the suburbs -- specifically to a 116-acre parcel off McClaren Road owned by District Judge Anthony Saveikis.
At the time, engineers reportedly had been at the Findlay location inspecting the land for an unidentified client. Mr. Saveikis said earlier this week that he has had no contact with U.S. Steel or anyone else for that matter. "There's nothing to report," he said.
Over the last year, U.S. Steel has been tight-lipped about its intentions, a strategy it continued to employ Thursday.
"Our lease in the U.S. Steel Tower ends in 2017. We're currently exploring several alternatives in order to arrive at the best long-term business solution for our company," spokesman Chuck Rice said.
The corporation currently occupies 14 floors in the 64-story U.S. Steel Tower. It is said to be looking for 800,000 to 1 million square feet of space -- enough not only for the roughly 1,400 employees it has on Grant Street but also for workers at other locations in the region.
State and local politicians, including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, as well as business and civic leaders, have been lobbying U.S. Steel to stay in the Golden Triangle.
"We continue to work with U.S. Steel in our efforts to keep them in Downtown Pittsburgh. We don't know anything beyond that," Mr. Fitzgerald said Thursday.
If the steelmaker decides to move out of U.S. Steel Tower, there are several sites Downtown that could fit its needs.
The corporation has had an interest for some time in the Buncher Co.'s proposed office, retail and housing development on 55 acres between the Veterans Bridge and 21st Street in the Strip. In fact, the riverfront parcel has been considered a favorite in the U.S. Steel search.
One reason is that it is large enough to accommodate the campus-like headquarters the company is said to be considering. Tom Balestrieri, Buncher president and CEO, could not be reached for comment.
Oxford Development Co. also has been searching for a tenant to anchor a $238 million, 33-story skyscraper it wants to build on Smithfield between Forbes and Fifth avenues. So far, it has been unable to find that tenant, but U.S. Steel could be a prime candidate if it is staying Downtown. Steven Guy, Oxford's president and CEO, could not be reached for comment.
In an interview last week, James Scalo, president and CEO of Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services, said U.S. Steel also had considered a 29,000-square-foot parking lot he owns on Fort Pitt Boulevard near Smithfield Street for a headquarters. He said the company told him it was looking for more of a horizontal campus-like headquarters than a vertical office tower.
Another site that could get consideration is the 28-acre former Civic Arena property in the lower Hill District. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the rights to the land, declined comment Thursday.
Mr. Fitzgerald has said that he has talked to U.S. Steel in the past about that site and the Buncher parcel in the Strip. But he added Thursday the main goal is to keep U.S. Steel "as the signature corporation in the Golden Triangle," regardless of location.
Chevron also had looked at space Downtown. However, it announced Wednesday that it had reached agreements to acquire 61 acres off Montour Run Road in Moon for a possible regional headquarters.
Mark Belko: email@example.com or 412-263-1262.