McKeesport optimistic in reopening of idle U.S. Steel Corp plant
January 20, 2017 12:00 AM
Connor Mulvaney / Post-Gazette
The former U.S. Steel McKeesport Tubular Operations facility.
By Deana Carpenter
Officials in McKeesport, which has seen a downturn in jobs in recent years, are excited about a new owner’s plans to reopen the closed U.S. Steel Corp. plant in the city.
“We are talking about bringing around 200 jobs into McKeesport, including 100 new hires,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
“There’s an obvious boost to the local economy when we have more people working in our town,” he said.
Dura-Bond Industries of Export announced last week that it plans to reactivate the closed tubular operations plant in McKeesport, turning it into a modern pipe-manufacturing plant. U.S. Steel closed the plant nearly three years ago.
The property where the 317,000-square-foot plant is located is owned by the Regional Industrial Development Corp. Dura-Bond is expected to purchase the real estate after an environmental study is completed.
The company hopes to begin production at the facility within six to nine months, producing tubular products to be used primarily for the energy industry.
A.J. Tedesco, director of community development for McKeesport, called the reopening of the plant “great news” for the city.
“We welcome Dura-Bond to our city and will work with them and RIDC to make this venture a success for all,” he said. “This is the kind of investment we need to continue our progress of making our city thrive again,” he added.
Mr. Cherepko said having residents across the region working in McKeesport would provide an opportunity to market the city’s real estate, noting that employees may find homes in the city appealing because of their proximity to work and affordability.
“We are bringing more traffic into McKeesport, giving people a chance to see what we are all about and what we have to offer our residents and visitors,” the mayor said.
Additionally, he said, the development will help draw more attention to McKees Point Marina.
As part of Dura-Bond’s agreement with RIDC, easements will be granted allowing for development at the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers.
“Even with the initial development of our marina, I think it’s always been part of the city’s vision to develop our ‘point’ in some way,” Mr. Cherepko said. “RIDC and Dura-Bond are willing to let us improve our marina as a destination, not only for boaters but for cyclists and runners who utilize the Great Allegheny Passage.”
He added, “McKeesport’s trail system is a destination for people from our region as well as folks from across the nation and world. As funds become available, we will have an opportunity to expand our trail and beautify the confluence or ‘point,’ which is ripe for development.”
Dura-Bond president Jason Norris said the plant will make pipes from flat roll steel provided by U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal domestic mills and other U.S. suppliers. Dura-Bond also operates pipe-coating facilities in Duquesne and McKeesport and a facility in Export that fabricates steel for the marine and heavy highway markets.
McKeesport’s “tube city,” as it is often referred to, closed in 1987 but was purchased shortly after that by Camp-Hill Corp. and later by U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel idled the plant in 2014, and about 175 workers lost their jobs. At one point in its history, McKeesport’s National Tube Works once employed more than 7,000 people.
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