The Pittsburgh Pirates – enjoying their first playoff berth in 21 years – are once again making the region proud. But beyond the ball field triumphs, the region itself has a lot of which to be proud. Re-imagined and re-made, Pittsburgh might not be recognizable to the fans that flocked to Three Rivers Stadium in 1992. Like the team, the region has been transformed and is on a winning streak of its own as a clean, green and dynamic destination for business investment, as well as a place for great jobs and a great life. Inspired by the Buccos performance this season, we present “The Pittsburgh Playbook: 21 Regional Home Runs.”
Pittsburgh’s a sports town, with three million fans turning out annually for professional sports events. Monday Night Football announcer Howard Cosell first coined the term, “City of Champions” in the early ’80s, after the Pittsburgh Steelers won their first Super Bowl and the Pirates their second World Series in the ’70s. Over the past 20 years the sports scene has gotten even better, especially with the recent success of the Pirates.
- Since the 1992 National League Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers have made four trips to the Super Bowl, bringing home two Lombardi trophies, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have appeared in two Stanley Cup finals and won the Stanley Cup once.
- Pittsburgh’s hosted major national sporting events, including the Men’s and Women’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament (twice for men’s tournament); the MLB All Star Game (also twice); and the NHL Winter Classic; and the NCAA’s Frozen Four – to name a few.
- The Bassmaster Classic bass fishing tournament came to town in 2005, drawing national attention to the reclamation of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers, which are now home to not only bass, but walleye, catfish, sauger, and mayflies – a long-time harbinger of good water quality.
While other downtowns declined or even decayed, Pittsburgh’s central business district has continued to thrive, benefiting from more than $7 billion in investment.
- Five new major league sports venues were built: PNC Park, Heinz Field, CONSOL Energy Center, plus nearby Peterson Events Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus and Highmark Stadium at Station Square.
- The North Shore is redeveloped, featuring new corporate centers for Alcoa, Del Monte, Starkist and Peoples Gas, in addition to the major league football and baseball stadiums.
- Pennsylvania’s only urban state park, Point State Park, is restored – a $41 million investment, the largest in a state park in Pennsylvania’s history. The project also restored the iconic fountain at The Point – the original “Gateway to the West.”
- “Green to the Core” – In 2000, Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group opened its PNC Firstside Service Center, the largest building and the first financial institution in the U.S. to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Since added to downtown’s roster of green real estate are Three PNC Plaza and the Fairmont Hotel, and under construction is The Tower at PNC Plaza, to open in 2015 as the world’s greenest skyrise.
- “Earth to Pittsburgh” – The Pittsburgh Summit 2009 brought the leaders of the Group of 20 nations to town, along with thousands of journalists from around the world, collectively changing global perceptions about Pittsburgh.
It’s shades of green, not gray in Pittsburgh, where there are more than 80 LEED-certified “green” buildings within city limits, including 10 of the world’s first green buildings, plus some 40 others across the 10-county Pittsburgh region.
- The David L. Lawrence Convention Center opened in 2003 as the world’s largest green building. Today, it’s the only LEED Platinum convention center and the world’s first to achieve a LEED certification for both design and construction and for operations and maintenance. Also in downtown, CONSOL Energy Center opened in 2010 as the first NHL arena to achieve LEED Gold certification.
- The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory was completed in 2012 – one of the few Living Buildings on Earth, creating its own energy and treating/re-using its wastewater – while Chatham University broke ground on the world’s first from-the-ground-up sustainable university campus.
- More than 4,000 acres of brownfields have been redeveloped, including Summerset at Frick Park, Washington’s Landing, The Waterfront and South Side Works – the latter two being the former sites of major Pittsburgh-based steel producers – U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works and Jones and Laughlin, respectively.
- The Great Allegheny Passage was completed in June 2013 – linking Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. via a 335-mile “no cars allowed” bike/hike trail.
- Pittsburgh’s reclaimed rivers are now this Water Belt city’s “front yard.” Since 2000, Riverlife has been leading the construction of Three Rivers Park, a 13-mile interconnected loop of riverfront trails, parks and amenities, with an investment in excess of $2.5 billion since 1999. More than 80 percent of the project is complete.
Pittsburgh’s civic, corporate and foundation leaders directed that deliberate investments be made in arts and cultural assets. Under the auspices of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, a dilapidated 14-square block area was revitalized to become a cultural district with seven theaters – considered one of the best theater districts outside of New York City.
- New museums and performing arts venues opened including The Andy Warhol Museum in 1994 – the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single artist: the King of Pop Art and a native son; the Senator John Heinz History Center in 1996, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the largest history museum in Pennsylvania and devoted the region’s rich heritage and history; the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in 2009; and the Toonseum in 2007, one of only three cartoon museums in the country.
- The Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) school moved to its downtown location at the beginning of the 2003-04 school year. In the hub of Pittsburgh’s cultural district, students study their craft and collaborate with artists from all over Pittsburgh amid amenities including a 400-seat auditorium, black box theater, art gallery, television studio and computer labs.
- In 1994, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican for the late Pope John Paul II’s Silver Jubilee celebration, underscoring its artistic excellence as one of the world’s elite orchestras.
Pittsburgh invested in people and technology to build a diverse economy, retooling traditional industries and commercializing innovation pouring out of its universities and health care systems over the last 20 years.
- The region’s total employment is up from 1,183,700 in 1992 to 1,270,400 at the end of July 2013. There are more people at work in the region now than at the height of the steel industry.
- Apple, Disney, Google, Intel, and Microsoft are among 1,600 tech firms generating $11 billion in annual Pittsburgh payrolls. Pittsburgh is the only place in the world where all five of these tech giants have R&D operations.
- Google strategically opened a full-blown R&D center in 2010 in Bakery Square, a redeveloped brownfield in Pittsburgh’s East End, where 350 people are now employed, with future expansions anticipated.
- Pittsburgh earned the title of America’s “most livable city” by Places Rated Almanac, Forbes, and The Economist while inspiring National Geographic Traveler in 2012 to name the city a “best of the world, must-see” destination.
- Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) opened on Oct. 1, 1992. PIT provides 155 non-stop flights daily to 37 destinations via 12 commercial air carriers. In 2009, nonstop transatlantic service returned to the region via Delta Air Lines and Air France, the latter offering connections from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport to 100 cities in Europe and beyond. JD Power and Associates and Condé Nast Traveler magazine have named PIT among the top airports for customer satisfaction.