Photo courtesy of Construction Dive, December 21, 2018

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of METALCON 2019, may be seeing a $700 million city enhancement project come to fruition in the near future. According to Construction Dive, local developer Millcraft Investments provided more information last week about the Esplanade, its planned $700 million, 15-acre mixed-use development along the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported that Millcraft Chief Financial Officer Brian Walker said the 1.8 million-square-foot project would feature a Ferris wheel and a 2.5-acre man-made lake by Chile-based Crystal Lagoons. The lagoon will be surrounded by four towers along with a full-service hotel, 209-unit condo building, 330-unit apartment building and a 300,000-square-foot office building. Each building will stand 200 feet tall. The development will also include 150,000 square feet of retail, a 90,000-square-foot “first-day experiential adventure center” as well as a public pier and marina. The apartment building will also include affordable units. 

The Esplanade is expected to generate a one-time, $60 million tax-and-fee benefit for the city, $30 million a year in economic benefits and 800 construction jobs. Construction should start next year and wrap up in 2023. 

This is just one of the many construction projects happening in Pittsburgh. In fact, the construction sector has been leading the way for the city’s labor growth over the past several years. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s May 2018 report, “by September 2017, construction was one of the six sectors that were growing faster in the metro area than nationally.”

In a blog post last July by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh, they also cited that construction was the fastest growing industry in the Pittsburgh region in 2017 noting that 5,300 people were hired by construction companies, growing the total industry by 11% and bringing the total employment to 55,000 people. The Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania anticipated needing double the amount of apprentices in the coming years. Pittsburgh’s huge increase in construction jobs is particularly meaningful considering Pittsburgh’s higher unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the overall Pittsburgh Metro Area’s unemployment rate to be 4.7%, with surrounding counties being as high as 6.8%, and the national average at 4.1%.

Come check out Pittsburgh’s construction boom for yourself by attending METALCON 2019, October 16-18, 2019!