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An intermodal facility employing 50 people will be built on 18 acres of the former U.S. Steel National Works near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge. (Tube City Almanac photo)
A Braddock-based network of companies that operates steel recycling, transportation and materials-handing businesses is building an intermodal facility on McKeesport's riverfront.
City officials and Regional Industrial Development Corp. have broken their silence about plans to create the truck, barge and railroad loading and unloading facility near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.
Work began several weeks ago when cranes and a barge appeared on the Monongahela River, but the tenant was not identified until Wednesday.
A new company, River Materials Inc., will use about 18 acres of the former U.S. Steel National Works site for warehousing, processing and recycling and intends to construct buildings for offices, storage and light manufacturing, as well as a railroad car and barge remediation facility, according to a press release.
The parcel, owned by RIDC and located between the Monongahela River and CSX Railroad's Riverton Yard, was previously considered unusable, city officials said. (Tube City Almanac photo)
About 50 people are expected to work at the facility, city officials said.
The president and chief executive officer of River Materials is Clifford Wise. According to published reports in the Pittsburgh Business Times and elsewhere, Wise also owns General Trade Corp., Gulf Materials LLC, Gulf Trading and Transport LLC and Specialty Steel Products.
"We are excited to begin this next phase of expansion for our company, and to provide new jobs for McKeesport and the surrounding community," Wise said in a prepared statement. "Occupying this space will enable us to more easily transport shipments to and from the river and railways."
The parcel is located between the river and CSX Railroad's Riverton Yard.
"It is an ideal location for our expanding business, and we look forward to establishing roots in the community," Wise said.
The property is currently owned by RIDC, which operates the industrial park that occupies much of the former National Works site.
River Materials will provide services to power plants, construction material businesses, recycling centers and other industries throughout Pennsylvania, according to the release.
Wise's first company, General Trade, was founded in 1988 and provides coal and oil field services from its base in New Florence, Westmoreland County.
Gulf Materials handles transportation logistics, while Gulf Trading buys and sells coal, limestone and building material and Specialty processes scrap metal. In 2010, Wise's companies reported having about 80 employees.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said that the parcel that River Trading is redeveloping had previously been viewed as "undesirable" or "unusable." Wise is proving that wrong, he said.
"It has been a very long process," said Cherepko, who congratulated the city's community development director, A.J. Tedesco, for helping Wise meet with RIDC and overcome various obstacles.
"This is exactly what RIDC was intended for --- to revitalize the brownfields left behind by the closure of steel-manufacturing facility," the mayor said. "River Materials is making great use of this land and utilizing McKeesport's unique geography to develop this business."
Jason Togyer is editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published May 15, 2019.