Christopher Heinz — heir to the famous ketchup fortune, son of a senator and stepson of a secretary of state — will move to Pittsburgh from New York City by fall 2016.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday that the 42-year-old investment advisor is house-shopping in the East End for himself, his wife and their children, ages 5 and 2.
Heinz told the newspaper that he wanted “a better life for my kids” in a city that “offers a lot of what I’m interested in: a financial sector, a nonprofit sector and great sports.”
Heinz was born and raised primarily in Washington D.C. where his father, H. John Heinz III, served as a congressman and U.S. senator for 20 years until his death in a small aircraft crash in 1991. Sen. Heinz was a noted philanthropist and environmentalist who played a leading role in bringing the Andy Warhol Museum to Pittsburgh. Chris Heinz’s mother, Teresa, later married John Kerry, a former U.S. senator who became U.S. Secretary of State in 2013. Both mother and sons were active campaigners during Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.
Chris Heinz and his brothers spent summers at Rosemont, the family estate in Fox Chapel (which played host to Michelle Obama and other international leaders’ spouses during the 2009 G-20 summit here). He visits frequently for meetings of The Heinz Endowments, one of the family’s charitable foundations. (Learn more about Chris Heinz in the P-G story here.)
In Pittsburgh as everywhere, the Heinz name is synonymous with ketchup. But through philanthropy, the family’s name has made a mark throughout the community, including the nearly-hundred-year-old concert hall that was saved from the wrecking ball in the late 1960s by preservationists and funders lead by H.J. “Jack” Heinz II (Chris’s grandfather). Jack Heinz helped drive creation of what is now called the Cultural District, a once-blighted area downtown Pittsburgh between Liberty Avenue and the Allegheny River. A generation later, it’s recognized by economic development experts worldwide for having set the stage for rehabilitation of the city core and providing vitality that draws visitors, inventive restaurateurs and, increasingly, residents.
Other examples of the family legacy include the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District (a Smithsonian affiliate), the public policy college at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh’s memorial chapel – a highly sought-after venue for weddings of Pitt alumni. Visible from North Side highways just up the Allegheny River from Heinz Field are several of the original factory buildings dating from 1912 that are now luxury loft apartments, as well as the original Sarah Heinz House, a Boys & Girls Club.
H.J. Heinz began with a horseradish recipe in 1869 in Sharpsburg, about five miles northeast of downtown. (Ketchup came along seven years later, according to the Heinz website.) The headquarters has been in Pittsburgh since soon after the company’s founding, although most of its local food production has been sold to other companies for more than a decade.
Pittsburgh is home to about 800 local employees of today’s Kraft Heinz Company, which resulted from the July merger with Chicago-based Kraft Food Group. The Heinz family is not involved in the business; Teresa Heinz Kerry sold most of her inherited stock in the mid-1990s.