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PHILADELPHIA-The US Immigration and Naturalization Service is looking for a 32,000-sf facility in Pittsburgh to consolidate operations from Erie, PA to northern West Virginia. It currently occupies 13,000 sf on two floors of the William S. Moorhead Federal Building across from downtown Pittsburgh’s federal courthouse.

The Moorhead building is scheduled for a five-year, $72.3-million renovation next year, so, even under ordinary circumstances, INS must vacate that facility by July 2003.

However, INS needs more space as a consequence of changes instituted following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although plans for the new Pittsburgh facility are not yet complete, they call for a holding cell for detainees in addition to consolidated regional offices for visa processing and administration.

The new Department of Homeland Security, proposed by President Bush on June 18, would encompass INS, which has been under increased pressure since Sept. 11 to exert tighter control over visa applications.

The new Pittsburgh facility must be set back from vehicle access for security reasons, yet it must be Downtown. A representative of the real estate division of the General Services Administration says several locations are under review and it hopes to award a contract for new space by the end of July.

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