Harrisburg – December 28, 2017 – A total of $3 million in newly approved state grant funding will help transform a former turn-of-the century industrial edifice in Wilmerding into a new commercial hotel, and result in the construction of a new parking structure in Monroeville to accommodate a large local employer, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) and state Rep. Joe Markosek said today.
The repurposing of the former Westinghouse Castle in Wilmerding will be boosted by a $1 million grant. Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. (BPMI) will use a $2 million state grant to construct a new parking facility for its expansion project.
“Earmarking these state grants for both projects is a wise use of state resources,” Brewster said. “The repurposing of the Westinghouse Castle is a signature project that will generate local economic activity and create jobs.
“The grant for BPMI is targeted to a large local employer who has engaged in an expansion project at its facility.”
Markosek said the state grant dollars help leverage other investment that will result in job creation, tax base expansion and even more spin-off economic benefits.
“Without question, prudent state investments such as targeting dollars to help the redevelopment of the former Westinghouse Castle, plus helping a large local employer and good corporate partner like BPMI grow, will create even greater benefits for years to come,” Markosek said. “These are important projects for our local economy and for future economic stability.”
Priory Hospitality Group is planning to transform the Westinghouse Castle into a 42-room boutique hotel with banquet space and a restaurant, and house the George Washington Museum, including artifacts and documents.
BPMI will use its state funds to build a parking structure to address the needs of the growing workforce at its complex. Plans also call for the construction of a new office building.
“BPMI is a quality corporate partner who has made a commitment to our area,” Brewster said. “I am pleased that the state has made a commitment to help this company continue its expansion.”
Markosek said the Westinghouse Castle project has unique attributes.
“The Westinghouse Castle project is a unique development that preserves the historical nature of the building while adapting the historical landmark for contemporary use,” he said.
Westinghouse Castle served as the general office building for the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Built in 1890, the structure features Richardson Romanesque/Chateauesque architecture, which had to be rebuilt six years later when a fire destroyed its upper stories. A wing was added in 1926.
The Westinghouse Air Brake Company, originally known as Library Hall, was the first company founded by George Westinghouse.
Funding for the projects is through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which is administered by the Budget Office. The General Assembly authorized the projects.
Brewster is the Democratic chair of the Senate Law and Justice and Game and Fisheries committees. Markosek is the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee.