About the ORTEZ
View a map of the ORTEZ by clicking here.
Important Business Opportunities and Community Needs
The ORTEZ communities contain several compelling assets that position the area for business growth and expansion including access to markets, riverfront property, brownfield redevelopment potential, and a strong existing industrial base. This is in addition to opportunities that apply the “New Urbanism Approach”, i.e. creating a sense of place with walk-able environments, main streets, front porches, etc. This approach is consistent with Allegheny County’s new Comprehensive Plan “Allegheny Places”, which directs resources away from suburban sprawl and into older industrial communities like McKees Rocks, Stowe, Neville, and Coraopolis, and emphasizes the development of brownfields in lieu of green space.
Access to Markets
The Zone is strategically located within Allegheny County, Western Pennsylvania, and arguably the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The area is within a close proximity to downtown Pittsburgh and has access to the Pittsburgh International Airport. In addition, it is at the intersection of the two major transportation links that run both east-west and north-south. Businesses in the Zone have immediate access to north and south-bound I-79 as well as east and west-bound I-376.
For example, McKees Rocks is only a ten (10) minute drive to downtown Pittsburgh, and Coraopolis at the western end of the Zone is only twenty (20) minutes. Likewise, the Airport which is immediately south of Coraopolis is only fifteen (15) minutes away.
The areas in Allegheny County that offer natural landscapes are attracting the greatest growth, which makes the Ohio River a key asset to the ORTEZ. In fact some five (5) miles of waterfront run east to west through McKees Rocks, Stowe and Coraopolis, while another ten (10) miles of the River border Neville Island to its north and south. While industrial uses along the River continue, reclaiming the waterfront for recreation and amenity development will enhance the attractiveness of the Zone to New Economy Ventures.
Moreover, the flat plain along the water offers a large area of buildable ground, and ironically flooding that has been such a huge obstacle to riverfront development elsewhere in the region has not been a particularly serious problem in the ORTEZ. In fact, the most recent flooding in McKees Rocks from Hurricane Ivan came from the Ohio River’s tributary Chartiers Creek.
Coordinating brownfield work with the economic development initiatives of the Zone is paramount to its success. Multiple sites have already been identified in McKees Rocks, Stowe, and Coraopolis for assessment and possible remediation as part of the application to the EPA for Community-Wide Brownfield Assessment Grants. The 60-acre former P&LE site in McKees Rocks is an example of a business development opportunity that will have regional impact. The site will be host to a 52 acre $25 million to $35 million business park.
Existing Strong Industrial Base
As indicated by a business development survey the ORTEZ is home to wide variety of manufacturing and industrial companies ranging from coke production to industrial spring manufacturing. Although the businesses are not in one large neat industrial park they are located throughout the Zone in such a way as to provide stability and opportunities for retention and expansion efforts. Unlike other areas in the region the Zone is not a ghost town of abandoned outmoded facilities, but rather a thriving community with a sound foundation of commerce.