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CRANBERRY TWP., PA-Westinghouse Electric Co. has decided to locate its new nuclear energy campus in Cranberry Woods Office Park in Butler County. Pending the local governing bodies’ formal approval of the site as a Strategic Development Area, which forgives state, local, county and school district taxes, the company will break ground in three months.

Plans call for a headquarters and nuclear research center, aggregating 775,000 sf. A Westinghouse spokesman tells GlobeSt.com the estimated construction cost is $140 million, and initial plans call for a first, 400,000-sf office building, followed by another 375,000-sf building. The company’s nuclear power plant business unit expects to occupy the opening phase of the facility during first-half 2009. Employees from the existing facilities in Monroeville and Churchill will follow with completion of a second phase by year-end 2010.

The Cranberry Woods selection followed a review of potential locations in Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia in addition to expansion of its existing 535,000-sf Monroeville facility in neighboring Allegheny County. In late 2006, Westinghouse narrowed its search to Western Pennsylvania, but continued to contemplate between Monroeville and Cranberry.

The final decision, according to a Westinghouse statement, rested primarily on the “flexibility of construction options to accommodate future growth. Additionally, the Cranberry Woods site will be able to better accommodate the parking requirements of an expanding work force.”

The new campus is expected to add at least 1,000 employees within five years and as many as 2,000 within 10 years. Westinghouse facilities in Blairsville, Madison and New Stanton are not impacted by the new building and will remain in place.

The 327-acre Cranberry Woods park is located at the intersections of Interstate 79 and Route 228, approximately 30 minutes from the Pittsburgh airport. The Westinghouse complex will occupy an 80-acre portion of the park.

Gov. Ed Rendell signed legislation allowing for Strategic Development Area designations in November, primarily aimed at keeping Westinghouse in the state. The SDA designation applies to companies that create or maintain at least 500 jobs or invest a minimum of $45 million within three years and also calls for local municipal approval.

Faced with the potential loss of 2,000 jobs, Dennis Yablonsky, director of the Department of Community and Economic Development, says, “We went to work and saved those positions,” while adding 1,000 more. He also said DCED and the governor’s action team will help find tenants for the Monroeville facility before it is vacated in 2010.

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