Leaders celebrate new building, jobs at former housing site in Fairywood

PITTSBURGH — A property that’s stood vacant for 15 years in Pittsburgh’s Fairywood neighborhood is now the site of a new 150,000-square foot building.

“I think just seeing this investment is bringing a lot of hope back to this community,” said Pittsburgh Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith.

On Thursday, city, state and county leaders united for a ribbon cutting inside of the building’s warehouse. It is now the new home for Ferguson, a company specializing in providing expertise and products for infrastructure, plumbing and more.

“I love a groundbreaking but I love a ribbon cutting even more,” exclaimed County Executive Sara Innamorato

Ferguson moved to the site, on Broadhead Fording Road, from a previous, smaller location in Sheraden.

The building’s construction created thousands of jobs, leaders said. Roughly 50 people are now employed in Fairywood. About 15-20 of those individuals are new hires, per Regional Manager Jay Ray, and additional full-time jobs are posted.

“This was a site that was really kind of a blight on the community for so long. To have this beautiful building and these 50 jobs and this great company here is a really a win for the region,” said Don Smith, President of The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern PA (RIDC).

The project was a joint venture between RIDC and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). It further received support from the state, including $3.5 million in the form of a grant and a loan from the Business In Our Sites (BIOS) program.

“We can be the city we want to be as long as we have this level of partnership,” said Mayor Ed Gainey.

The property had previously served as a public housing development, but Hurricane Ivan damaged it beyond repair.

Now, across the street, the URA is developing affordable senior housing at the former Fairywood School site.

“When (URA) first told me that they were going to do something here, I said, I’ll be honest, ‘well, the residents want homes.’” Kail-Smith said. “So, working on this led to the site also across the street, which increased homes, the patio homes, and it’s such a great project, as well as this project.”

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