BUILDING A STRONGER PA

Pittsburgh lands IT firm CSC

Published by the Pittsburgh Business Times, by Tim Schooley

December 19, 2013

CSC, a Falls Church, Va.-based tech firm with 80,000 employees, has committed to establish a new delivery center in Pittsburgh.

The company has agreed to a three-year term to take 57,201 square feet at 1350 Penn Avenue in the Strip District. CSC has subleased space that was occupied by EMDC’s online division in Penn Liberty Plaza, which is owned by the Buncher Co.

CSC plans to open the new office in the first quarter of 2014 with 50 to 75 people. However, it is also in talks with the Buncher Co. for a second phase expansion that will entail constructing an 120,000-square-foot office building in the Strip District where CSC plans to employ 500 people. In the preliminary proposal, CSC plans to buy the building from Buncher.

The Buncher Co., a dominant presence in the Strip District, established a design and approvals for a 120,000-square-foot office building in the Strip a few years ago. The location is on the north side of the 1300 block of Smallman Street next to the company’s Hampton Inn & Suites.

Bob Grubb, a principal of the Edgewood-based Lami Grubb Architects LP, which designed the building at the location for Buncher, confirmed an almost fully approved office building is ready to be built there.

“It is poised to be submitted for the building permit,” said Grubb, who added he had not been informed of any plan to do so by Buncher.

CSC, who was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle, said it researched 400 cities throughout the country as potential locations for a new office but opted for Pittsburgh because of the opportunity to tap the IT and engineering talent coming out of the city’s universities here.

Gary Budzinski, executive vice president and general manager of CSC’s Global Infrastructure Services business, detailed the move in an interview before the formal announcement by the office of Gov. Tom Corbett, which assisted the firm in the move, along with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and local governments.

He said the company is shifting from server-based work to cloud-based information technology, a move that makes it even more difficult to find the right talent.

“We’re in the first phases of our transformation to get CSC strategically aligned around delivering this next generation IT structure,” said Budzinski of how CSC focused its expansion search to choose Pittsburgh. “It was around a particular skill set that we were looking for in cyber security and cloud computing.”

Budzinski said the company has been meeting with local colleges and universities and is working to establish a customized curriculum with them to ensure they are trained for the new IT capabilities the firm is focused on, serving a broad array of industry sectors.

“It’s all about having the right next-generation workforce,” he said. “I think one of the primary drivers is around a capability to train college grads in some very prominent schools in Pittsburgh. This gives us a great recruiting pool. It’s an exciting place and an exciting opportunity.”

It’s also a big economic development win for the region, with Budzinski crediting assistance from the Governor’s Action Team as well as other local support.

“While I will continue fighting for jobs in every single corner of our commonwealth, as an Allegheny County native, today’s announcement hits close to home," Corbett wrote in a prepared statement. "CSC is the latest global company to grow in Pennsylvania, and I welcome their investment in our commonwealth and our greatest asset – our people. I look forward to partnering with more companies like CSC to create new job opportunities for Pennsylvanians.”

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance also assisted in recruiting CSC to Pittsburgh. PRA President Dewitt Peart added that “our region’s 35 colleges and universities are graduating ample tech talent and advancing the industry with innovation and R&D” and expects “our affordability and accessibility” helped make Pittsburgh the right choice for CSC.

To be sure, CSC is expected to apply for and access a variety of state programs and incentives to facilitate the move.

Financial support is expected to total more than $5 million in grants and low-interest loans. That includes a $2 million Pennsylvania First Program grant through the Department of Community and Economic Development; $1.5 million in Job Creation Tax Credits; $425,000 Guaranteed Free Training grant to prepare its new workforce; and a $1.5 million loan through the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund.

(Tim Schooley, "Pittsburgh lands IT firm CSC," Pittsburgh Business Times, 12/19/13)

 

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