“US Steel for Pittsburgh is more than just a company. It’s the foundation from which this city was built.”
That was the message Penguins CEO and president David Morehouse delivered to United States Steel Corporation CEO and president Mario Longhi at a barbeque after learning that US Steel was being pursued by cities around the world to be the new home base of their headquarters.
Morehouse suggested the company use the 28-acre vacant lot where the Civic Arena once stood. This was the first meeting between Morehouse and Longhi – which took place at Mario Lemieux’s barbeque – and the two had an immediate bond and have become good friends since.
“I looked in his eyes and I could see that he understood and from that very moment I knew we were going to get to this point,” Morehouse said.
This point was a deal for US Steel’s relocation of its corporate headquarters to the aforementioned site in what will be the first step in the redevelopment of the land.
“Right now you might see a parking lot out there,” Longhi said. “But I see a vibrant, thriving development that will serve as the cornerstone in the revitalization of this community.”
The announcement was made Monday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center, which is across the street from the development, by Morehouse, Longhi, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny county executive Rich Fitzgerald.
“We usually say it’s a great day for hockey,” Morehouse said to open the media conference, “but today I’ll say it’s a great day for Pittsburgh.”
“As we look to the future of our company, one that I believe will be truly transformational, we’re excited to announce that US Steel’s headquarters will remain in downtown Pittsburgh and be built on the former Civic Arena site,” Longhi said.
The new US Steel headquarters will break ground in August-September of next year and will be completed in 2017. The new 268,000 square foot, five-story building (which 250,000 square feet will be used by US Steel) will also feature a Steel Museum and other businesses. The building will keep US Steel in Pittsburgh for at least the next 18 years.
“As a Pittsburgh boy, this feels really good,” Peduto said. “US Steel belongs in Pittsburgh. And it feels really good to say that that’s going to be the future.”
The deal was the accumulation of a lot of work from a lot of people, many of which worked behind the scenes. And it’s only the beginning of the redevelopment of the lower Hill District.
Longhi closed his remarks with, “I would like to thank the Pens for helping us find our new home.”