When energy giant Chevron buys land in Moon, businesses and officials take notice -- it could mean an influx of new employees who will help to grow the existing businesses in the western suburbs.
"The future looks bright," said Greg DeFeo, president of Pittsburgh Technical Institute. The North Fayette school that he describes as a "career-focused two-year college" has already "reached out" to Chevron, pointing out that many of their courses and degrees are preparing students to work in jobs created by natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.
Earlier this month, Chevron announced it is buying 61 acres in Moon on a hilltop site now occupied by a Super Kmart. The Kmart closing, planned for early July, had been announced only a few days before. The Outback Steakhouse on the same site will remain open.
Chevron is also purchasing 43 acres behind the Super Kmart.
Both pieces of property are on a bluff above the Parkway West, about 5 miles from Pittsburgh International Airport and across Montour Run from the Mall at Robinson.
The property could be a potential site for a regional headquarters for Chevron, regional vice president Bruce Niemeyer has indicated.
Chevron officials said in a statement that they expect to close on the properties in the next few months. Later this year, they'll decide how they will use them.
Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce director Bernadette Puzzuole said the Chevron property acquisitions "are a tremendous opportunity" for west communities to continue to grow.
"Chevron is already here," she said.
There are 650 Chevron workers in leased space in two buildings in Moon.
The possibility of construction on the new land presents the opportunity for many more local residents to work for Chevron. Additionally, many construction jobs would be created if Chevron builds on the land, Ms. Puzzuole said.
Ms. Puzzuole said the shutdown of the Super Kmart is disappointing, "but we have another Kmart on University Boulevard and hopefully the customers will go there." According to Ms. Puzzuole, about 143 employees work at the Kmart.
PTI is working to train students for jobs that Chevron may offer. About 200 students are expected to enroll in new programs for oil and gas electronics at a $3.5 million energy technology training center PTI is set to open in the fall.
Linda Wilson Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-722-0087.