RIDC: A history of tangible impacts on people and places in our region

RIDC has been working to improve the economy of southwestern Pennsylvania through various initiatives.

RIDC: A history of tangible impacts on people and places in our region

In the 1950s, after World War II, civic leaders worried about the region's heavy industrial dependence began formulating plans which eventually led to the formation of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. RIDC's 68-year existence has seen it respond to regional economic needs by transforming underutilized property assets in the region to capture growth across various industry sectors.

To create projects that ignite transformational change, it is necessary to combine the nonprofit's community-service orientation with the entrepreneurial approach of the private sector. RIDC is a private company that functions much like other private developers. However, because it's a nonprofit organization, its mission is also driven by the market.

Donald F. Smith Jr., RIDC president, said, "We are able to bring industry leaders, government officials and foundations together to ensure that investment decisions provide the benefits needed by the community." RIDC's large portfolio and solid balance sheet allows it to make decisions that are more long-term.

This was evident in the recent announcement made by Pennsylvania Governor. Josh Shapiro announced that Re:Build Manufacturing will be locating in a former Alcoa Industrial Park in New Kensington. The park is being purchased and renovated by RIDC. This project was a collaboration between RIDC and Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation. It also involved the cities of New Kensington, Arnold, and several state agencies. The Richard King Mellon Foundation, and other stakeholders in the community.

This is the latest from RIDC. In the last few months, the RIDC has begun construction at Carrie Furnace, where infrastructure and plans for a film production studio and two tech-flex buildings are underway. It also broke ground on Armstrong Innovation Park, (formerly Northpointe), and Fairywood Industrial.

A partnership with Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation led to the success and expansion of the RIDC Westmoreland Innovation Center. This former Sony factory is now home to Siemens, Intervala and City Brewing as well as Westmoreland County Community College. PennSTART will also be located on the property, which is a partnership between PennDOT, Turnpike Commission, and other partners to create a test track that can be used for first responder training and autonomous vehicle research.

Smith said that RIDC often takes on projects with a huge potential for communities and can have a tangible impact on people and places. However, these projects are usually on sites which have been inactive for many years. 'These projects are those where the public benefit is greater than the private benefit - these are the projects that lead to the creation of an RIDC.

This unique position – and its track record of success – also enables RIDC as a credible and insightful advocate for public policy issues.

RIDC takes on projects that have stymied community development in the past. Tenants in RIDC buildings reported 3,886 jobs directly. However, when you consider the secondary businesses that are supported by tenants, this totals approximately 8,322 jobs. The tenants in RIDC-owned buildings have created thousands of additional jobs.

Pittsburgh is a destination for companies, and the jobs they create are a boon to local communities. RIDC's role as a catalyst of economic growth will continue to grow, as business, government, and philanthropic leadership coalesces around issues that promote the growth of the region.

Find out more about Pittsburgh's economic agenda as it becomes a major player in the nation.

Regional Industrial Development Corporation's mission is to promote economic growth, high-quality jobs and public interest through advocacy for public policies, real estate development, and financing of projects. RIDC is a not-for profit entity that has developed more than 2,800 acres of industrial and innovation parks, and managed over 7 million square foot.