Pittsburgh’s green economy positions it as lead

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Lauren Picariello
Occupier Research

Pittsburgh is leading the U.S. office market recovery and many people are wondering why. The answer may come as a surprise, but Pittsburgh, once a blue-collar manufacturing city, has transformed itself into a hub for green and clean technologies.

Previously known as the Smoky City, with a 150-year history of steel mills, the region has undergone a dramatic environmental transformation. Now a national leader in environmental responsibility, Pittsburgh’s rejuvenated economy has kept its unemployment rate low and its office market tight. For most of 2009 and into 2010, while office markets across the country were experiencing occupancy losses and climbing vacancy, demand for space in Pittsburgh remained firm.

Pittsburgh is actually home to more green building space than any other city in the world. One large reason is the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. With 1.5 million square feet, it’s the first “green” convention center in the world and the only meeting venue to be awarded Gold LEED. In the short time LEED has been around Pittsburgh has seen approximately 5 million square feet certified or registered under it’s rating system.

Looking ahead Pittsburgh will likely serve as the leading green example other markets try to emulate. Expanding green and clean technology companies should be increasingly tuned into the many resources Pittsburgh has to offer. It may be a core location to stay competitive in this space─a Silicon Valley for the green technology world.

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