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U.S. Commerce Department Invests Nearly $2 Million to Expand Business Development in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Monday, August 20, 2012

Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine, Congressman Mike Doyle, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Tour Bakery Square complex set to receive funds  

Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine announced two federal investments totaling nearly $2 million to promote business growth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during a visit to the region today. Approximately $1.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds are going to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to expand Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square complex. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined Erskine for a tour of the facility, which is home to cutting edge innovation and research efforts that incorporate the private sector, academia, and government. Additionally, an $80,000 EDA grant to Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. will support the entrepreneurship training program of its Micro-Business Institute, providing practical training to up to 100 potential entrepreneurs in the basics of business ownership and operations, with a focus on green entrepreneurship. Both projects will help catalyze additional growth in Pittsburgh and throughout Allegheny County, bringing new businesses and jobs in such growing fields as health care, information technology, green technology, and life sciences.

“These nearly $2 million EDA investments in Pittsburgh are examples of the Obama administration’s commitment to supporting growth and innovation in urban communities,” said Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank. “The grants announced today will provide training that supports a 21st century workforce, as well as infrastructure improvements in Pittsburgh’s Bakery Square complex, which will bring new businesses to the region and help local businesses and workers build things here and sell them everywhere to create American jobs.”

“The Bakery Square 2.0 project will bring jobs to East Liberty while continuing to position Pittsburgh as a major draw for large employers, so I was pleased to support the grant to move the project forward,” said U.S. Senator Robert Casey. “Additionally, the grant announced today for a business outreach center in Allegheny County is a win for entrepreneurs aspiring to grow a business and create jobs in the Pittsburgh region.”

“This federal grant will help provide the public infrastructure necessary for the second phase of the Bakery Square redevelopment, which has brought new life to the old Nabisco bakery site,” said Congressman Mike Doyle. “Bakery Square has been a great example of a successful public-private partnership to redevelop and re-purpose an old industrial site and revitalize a distressed community. Bakery Square 2.0 will build on the original project’s success and create more office and lab space for Google, UPMC, other current tenants, and new tenants from local universities and medical centers.”

"I am extremely grateful to President Obama and the Economic Development Administration for their support of this great project that will create much needed high-tech office space to support the growth of our high-tech, innovation economy," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. "With this grant, we will be able to advance the successful development of Bakery Square to create thousands of jobs."

The Bakery Square complex project is expected to create 530 new jobs and attract private investment of $49 million by drawing job-creating enterprises to the Pittsburgh region, according to estimates by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the city. The funding to URA is for construction of new infrastructure for Bakery Square 2.0, an expansion of an existing mixed-use development in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh. The work includes excavation and installation of new utility lines; grading and build-out of new streets, sidewalks, and curbs; new street lights and traffic signals; and related infrastructure needed to make the site ready for further development.

The investment in the Micro-Business Institute will establish a business outreach center to assist innovators and entrepreneurs who want to start a green microenterprise in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Training will also be provided to guide new entities through the fundamentals of business ownership, including business plan development, financial management, budgeting, debt management, and other skills needed to successfully establish and manage a microbusiness.

The grants announced today are another example of the Obama administration’s support for policies that will grow the economy and support the middle class, such as the remaining proposals in the American Jobs Act, which independent experts have said could create one million jobs. Specifically, the President continues to urge Congress to take action that will promote a strong middle class, including by ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, making the tax code simpler and fairer for small businesses, and extending the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, including 97 percent of small businesses.