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Construction begins at Philadelphia's Comcast Innovation and Technology Center

Passersby at the 1800 block of Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia can now watch the tallest U.S. building outside of New York and Chicago emerge from the ground -- construction is underway at the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.
 
Bala Cynwd-based builder L.F. Driscoll is constructing the $1.2 billion, 59-story tower, a joint venture between media giant Comcast and Malvern’s Liberty Property Trust. It is the largest private development project in the history of Pennsylvania.
 
The new building is conceived as an urban, vertical response to the suburban-style, spread-out campuses of other media companies such as Google and Amazon. Comcast says the tower will be "a dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce of technologists, engineers and software architects."
 
The structure, designed by architect Lord Norman Foster, will include over 1.3 million square feet of office space, a 222-room Four Seasons Hotel, studios for two television stations, restaurants, space for local technology startups and direct links to public transit. 
 
In announcing the start of construction earlier this month, Liberty said that Comcast will occupy about 74 percent of the building’s office space, and that completion is expected in the first quarter of 2018.
 
Source: Liberty Property Trust and Comcast Corporation
Writer: Elise Vider

Robotic baby-gear maker 4moms expands and hires in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's 4moms is having a growth spurt, driven by its high-tech robotic baby gear. The company is expanding its offices in the city's Strip District to 78,000 square feet, doubling both its footprint and its workforce.  

The company is committed to creating at least 120 new jobs while retaining its 100 employees over the next three years.

4moms -- the company name comes from an early focus group comprised of four moms -- was founded in 2005 by Rob Daley and Henry Thorne who saw an opportunity to re-invent baby products. The company’s origami stroller, for example, folds and unfolds at the touch of a button; it also charges a cell phone, counts mileage and lights up with LCD lighting, powered by generators in the rear wheels that charge as the stroller is pushed. The mamaRoo infant seat can be programmed for five unique motions: car ride, tree swing, kangaroo, rock-a-bye and ocean. The 4moms infant tub is designed to let clean water flow in while dirty water flows out so baby is always bathing in fresh water. 

The company plans to invest more than $4.7 million in its new site, which features a lab three times larger than its old space, giving product designers and engineers more room to develop products. The Governor’s Action Team, in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, coordinated the project. 
 
"The next six to 12 months is a pivotal time frame for 4moms, as we deliver new products to the market and continue to develop new innovative ideas," says CEO Rob Daley. "We predict significant revenue growth and are hiring top talent across the organization to support that growth."

Source: Kathryn Jacks for 4moms
Writer: Elise Vider

PA businesses -- large and small, east and west -- to be honored with ImPAct Awards

An array of Pennsylvania companies -- everything from ABEC Inc. in Bethlehem to Zook Motors in Kane -- are finalists in the 2014 Governor’s ImPAct Awards

For the second year, the awards are aimed at celebrating "companies and individuals who are investing in Pennsylvania and creating jobs." The awards will be given at a May 30 luncheon at Hershey Lodge.

The finalists paint a picture of the Pennsylvania economy -- they range from small businesses to vast enterprises, startups to long-established companies, represent geographic diversity and come from a wide array of sectors. Where else would you find Webster’s Bookstore and Café in State College nominated in the same category as financial services giant Vanguard in Valley Forge?

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) led the process for nominations and selecting finalists. Two panels of judges from different parts of the state chose the 50 winners. Any size company is eligible, as long as they have significant operations in Pennsylvania and have been in business for at least one year. 

The awards will be given in five categories: Community Impact to a company that exemplifies the tenet of "doing well by doing good"; Entrepreneur Impact to recognize leadership via creativity, innovation, managerial ability, leadership skills or turnaround; Export Impact to a company that has significantly increased its export sales and number of new foreign markets since 2011; Jobs First, to recognize consistent job growth and retention; and Small Business Impact to a growing firm of 100 or fewer employees. 

Source: DCED and Laura Eppler, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Wyndridge Farm takes on new life as cider maker and special events venue

Steve and Julie Groff bought their idyllic 77-acre Dallastown farm 13 years ago as a place to raise their kids -- and their horses -- while Steve pursued his career as an orthopedic surgeon and founder of OSS Health, a regional health system. 

But two years ago, after a serious bike accident and trauma surgery of his own, Groff decided it was time to live his dream. Today, the family’s Wyndridge Farm is being developed to support several businesses and as a place, according to Groff, "to celebrate life." 

The farm is already producing "Crafty Cider," a hard cider made from locally-sourced apples. Cider is the fastest growing segment of the alcohol market, and Wyndridge's champagne-style cider is selling well at regional locations. The farm is also is moving into production of a second craft beverage, details to follow.

Renovations are nearly complete on the 120-year-old barn, which, along with new buildings, will open this summer for special events. With a new commercial kitchen, seating for several hundred, and indoor and outdoor facilities, Groff expects to host weddings, reunions, trade shows, corporate meetings and other special events by fall. 

As the events operation ramps up, Wyndridge has built a staff of five full-timers, including an executive chef, event planners, a general manager and a cider master. 

The farm was recently awarded a $2.1 million Small Business Administration loan through the York County Economic Alliance.

"We’re really excited about being an economic driver for this area," says Groff.

Source: Steve Groff, Wyndridge Farm
Writer: Elise Vider

BFTP/NEP names its Innovation Award winners

Five cutting-edge companies and three invdividuals are being honored for their achievements as innovators and entrepreneurs by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP). The winners of the 2014 Innovation Awards will be honored at the Ben Franklin i xchange event, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6 at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University. They are:
 
Saladax Biomedical, Inc., Bethlehem, for entrepreneurial achievement 
Saladax develops and commercializes diagnostic blood test kits that quickly, accurately and inexpensively personalize chemotherapy drug levels for optimal results. Saladax originally planned to launch in New Jersey, but chose instead to start in Ben Franklin's TechVentures. Saladax now holds 82 international patents and employs 45. 
 
Viddler, Inc., Bethlehem, incubator graduate award
Viddler delivers secure, interactive media solutions for thousands of business communication, learning and publishing clients in more than 150 countries. Viddler graduated from TechVentures in September 2011 and today employs 22 at its new Southside Bethlehem headquarters.
 
XiGo Nanotools,  Bethlehem, product innovation
XiGo Nanotools has commercialized three table-top devices for characterizing the nature of particles -- or emulsion droplets -- in liquids using patented magnetic resonance imaging technology. Ben Franklin invested a total of $400,000 in XiGo; the company is a resident at TechVentures.
 
Vitrius Technologies, Wilkes-Barre, innovative application of technology 
Vitrius Technologies provides smart window systems for the residential, commercial and architectural markets. Ben Franklin invested a total of $320,000 in Vitrius, and provided financial support for sales efforts and industry-required testing. The company is now beginning to commercialize its groundbreaking products.
 
Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC, Reading, manufacturing achievement
Cambridge-Lee Industries, the second largest plumbing tube manufacturer in the country, recently constructed a new 195,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce thin-wall copper tubes for the commercial HVAC market. (For more on Cambridge-Lee, check out this Q&A with CEO Andi Funk.)
 
PA Senator John R. Gordner and PA Senator John P. Blake, Special Achievement Senators
Gordner’s and Blake’s bi-partisan legislative efforts on behalf of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners will result in much-needed investment capital to significantly leverage private investment in promising companies for future job growth. They worked tirelessly to pass the crucial Innovate in PA legislation, providing a three-year infusion of funds to allow Ben Franklin to make impactful investments in deserving Pennsylvania companies.

Former PA Governor Dick Thornburgh, Partnership
Governor Dick Thornburgh was the leader with the foresight to establish the Ben Franklin Partnership in 1982. His idea has emerged as a resounding success and his work a lasting legacy. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners has dramatically strengthened the Pennsylvania economy and improved the lives of thousands of entrepreneurs, workers and their families.

Last year, more than 550 tech entrepreneurs, business people, economic developers, venture capitalists, political leaders, educators, students, bankers, lawyers and accountants attended i xchange; that number is expected to grow again this year. Jeff Hoffman, veteran of seven startups, including Priceline.com, will give the keynote address. The registration fee is $65 in advance; $75 the day of the event. To learn more or to register, visit nep.benfranklin.org or ennect.com/e2331, email ixchange@nep.benfranklin.org or call 610-758-5200.

Source: BFTP/NEP
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Hörmann opens the doors at its state-of-the-art new plant outside Pittsburgh

Hörmann High Performance Doors, a German company with a manufacturing presence in the Pittsburgh region since 1981, has officially opened a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility at Starpointe Business Park in Burgettstown.  
 
Hörmann acquired land and built the $7 million, 68,000-square-foot facility -- designed by Pittsburgh architects Pfaffmann & Associates in coordination with counterparts in Germany -- from the ground up. It includes a production floor, a full-size showroom and offices. The plant makes high-speed, roll-up doors for industrial and commercial markets, such as car dealerships, fire stations, parking garages and sports stadiums.
 
According to Alice Permigiani, the company's marketing director, Hörmann outgrew its old plant in Leetsdale. The company has been steadily growing, doubling its output over the past three years. Building an all-new facility enabled them to create "a layout that makes the overall production process much more efficient,"she  explains. It also gave the company a showroom, which features full-size doors, and is used for sales and training.
 
Most significantly, the new facility enables Hörmann to accommodate future growth -- the company anticipates expanding in two phases to an eventual buildout of 220,000 square feet.
 
The new plant is pursuing LEED Silver certification for its green design, including energy conservation features, recycled materials, high-performance skylights to maximize natural light and a designed "drive-thru" capacity and crane system for fully climate-controlled interior off-loading, which allows for complete thru-building production. 
 
Hörmann has 45 employees at the location. Speaking at an opening ceremony on April 7, Christoph Hörmann, managing partner at Hörmann in Germany, asserted, "Our investment in the new building makes it clear that we, the Hörmann family, believe in the U.S. market."
 
Dan Reitz, executive director of the Washington County Council on Economic Development, added, "We aren’t just creating jobs, we’re creating lifetime careers in manufacturing, logistics, engineering, science and more. It’s a great day for Washington County. Doors are being opened, literally, to our future."
 
Source: Alice Permigiani, Hörmann High Performance Doors; Philip Cynar, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Writer: Elise Vider
 

A new project builds on the success of Scranton business parks

Thanks to the success of its Valley View Business Park and Jessup Small Business Center, the Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company (SLIBCO) is moving ahead with the development of a new 23-acre professional plaza.
 
The upcoming Valley View Business Park Professional Plaza will house businesses and amenities -- a hotel, restaurant, bank, daycare center, mini-mart, for example -- to support the existing business parks across the street.
 
"The Valley View Business Park and the Jessup Small Business Center have proven to be successful endeavors and continue to grow and expand," says Andy Skrip, vice president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; SLIBCO is the chamber’s industrial development affiliate. "The next phase of development -- creating a professional plaza to serve these companies -- is essential to maintaining thriving business parks."
 
SLIBCO is marketing the four available lots to commercial developers and Skrip hopes to see construction underway next year.
 
Meanwhile, SLIBCO is designing the necessary infrastructure -- the site currently consists of abandoned strip mines, subsurface mines and solid waste deposits, and will require environmental remediation to return it to productive use.
 
SLIBCO has secured $2.5 million in grants, loans and its own funding contribution. According to Skrip, the project will create about 250 construction jobs, and another 250 permanent jobs at build-out.
 
"We're excited about this development and what it means to the ongoing success of the Valley View Business Park and Jessup Small Business Center," he adds. "To be developing a commercial amenity park strictly to support a larger economic development project speaks to the confidence the community has in this major regional commerce center.”
 
Source: Andy Skrip, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Elise Vider



Latest Pittsburgh scorecard tallies 302 deals worth of investment and job growth

Between new facilities, company expansions, attraction and retention of companies and startups, there were 302 economic development deals in the Pittsburgh region in 2013; that's a 12 percent increase. 
 
In its annual scorecard, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) reported that regional economic development deals totaled $2.4 billion in capital investment. PRA projected that 2013 activity will retain 1,669 jobs and create 6,983 new ones as announced deals come to fruition.
 
Financial and business services continued to be the backbone of the regional economy, but the big news was the growth in the region’s information and communications sector, which assumed second place for number of deals, growing from 33 in 2012 to 51 in 2013, its biggest spike since 2008. 
 
Jim Futrell, PRA’s vice president of market research, predicts continued growth in the IT sector. "Considering the presence of Carnegie Mellon and the 2,000 IT graduates coming from the region’s colleges and universities each year, the region is well positioned to become a major technology hub in the foreseeable future," he says.
 
The region also remains true to its industrial roots, with advanced manufacturing the most active sector for deals in 2013.

"The Pittsburgh region still makes things: specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines, to name a few," says PRA President Dewitt Peart. "We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient."
 
"While employment growth seems to have plateaued, the outlook for the region is still sound," adds Futrell. "We should continue to experience growth in critical sectors like financial and business services, and energy.  And manufacturing -- which has fueled our economy for some 200 years -- has been a very active sector in terms of business investment deals and activity.  
 
"What is critical for the region’s future is making sure that individuals entering the workforce have the skills needed to fill the 20,000-plus jobs open in the region right now," he continues. "More than half of these currently open jobs require tech skills, and that requisite won’t be changing any time soon. Tech is driving a 'new workforce order' in the Pittsburgh region. The demand for tech-savvy employees -- across all industries -- is only going to increase."
 
Source: Jim Futrell, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance
Writer: Elise Vider 
 
 
 

Philadelphia's Invisible Sentinel expands in plain sight

Philadelphia’s Invisible Sentinel continues to grow more visible.
 
Back in October, Keystone Edge reported that the company was launching its core product, Veriflow, a rapid diagnostic test to detect foodborne pathogens.
 
Last month, Veriflow was approved for detection of Salmonella. Earlier this year, it added Listeria. Invisible Sentinel now covers more than 90 percent of the food safety test market, says Ben Pascal, chief business officer and co-founder with Nick Siciliano.
 
The Salmonella approval is especially significant. The bacteria can be found (spoiler alert!) in ready-to-eat foods, deli meats, dairy products and on preparation surfaces. It accounts for 42,000 reported cases of food poisoning annually (though the actual number may be far higher) and 400 deaths.
 
In January, Invisible Sentinel announced a partnership with Jackson Family Wines in Sonoma, California, to develop a diagnostic tool for Brettanomyces, a yeast that can foul the taste of wine and give it an odor sometimes described as "barnyard-y" (hardly a desirable bouquet). Pennsylvania Bio nominated the partnership for its Deal of the Year award. (PA Bio also presented Paul Touhey, Invisible Sentinel’s executive chairman, with its 2014 Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Leadership Award.)
 
Invisible Sentinel recently closed on a $7 million private stock deal -- according to Pascal, those funds are being used to ramp up manufacturing and outfit the new corporate headquarters at West Philadelphia's University City Science Center. The company is moving one floor up into 7,500 square feet to accommodate increased production, R&D and corporate offices.
 
On the R&D side, the company is working on diagnostics for E.coli and on other applications in the craft brewing and wine industries.
 
The company currently has 21 people on the payroll (19 in Philadelphia), and Pascal expects to add another five to 10 this year.
 
"This has been a big year for us," he adds. "Last year was about coming out of the gate. Now there is significant demand for our products and we are scaling to meet future demand."
 
Source: Ben Pascal, Invisible Sentinel
Writer: Elise Vider
 
 
 
 

Thanks to state fund, five Drexel buildings get energy retrofits

Campus science buildings are the modern version of the shoemaker's children without any shoes.

"Due to their ventilation requirements, science buildings are the largest energy users on campuses and consume dramatically more energy than other buildings on a per square foot basis,” explains Joyce Ferris of Philadelphia’s Blue Hill Partners. But, she added, they are often overlooked for energy efficiency projects.
 
Now, five Drexel University buildings -- three science and two mixed-use structures, totaling more than 430,000 square feet of space -- are about to get $6.6 million in retrofits to significantly cut their energy use. Upon completion, Drexel's energy consumption will decrease by more than 25 percent at the Lebow Engineering Center, the Center for Automation Technology, the Bossone Research Center, Nesbitt Hall, and the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Center. The upgrades will cut energy consumption by about 19.4 billion BTUs a year, approximately the same amount of energy consumed by 142 U.S. families. Drexel will eventually recover the costs through savings on energy bills.
 
Blue Hill is manager of the state's Campus Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF), established by the Pennsylvania Treasury to help colleges and universities lower their operating expenses through innovative energy efficiency and sustainability projects. Blue Hill co-developed the project with Dallas-based SCIenergy. Other investors include Mitsui USA, The Reinvestment Fund and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
 
The project includes state-of-the-art, centralized, demand-based controls for three buildings, reducing the energy used to operate the buildings’ more than 62 lab spaces by more than 46 percent. A complete mechanical upgrade of the Paul Peck Research Center will cut the 100,000-square-foot building’s HVAC energy load by 35 percent, saving the university more than $200,000 each year on utility bills. The project also includes a major renovation project at the 78,000-square-foot Nesbitt Hall featuring variable volume air handling units, supply air distribution systems, new lighting and new controls.
 
Blue Hill expects to lead more than $45 million in investments in CEEF projects at multiple colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. When fully invested, the fund will save Pennsylvania schools more than $150 million in energy costs over 20 years.
 
Source: PA Treasury and Blue Hill Partners
Writer: Elise Vider
 

More on Bridgeworks: A new roof means a warmer, greener business incubator

You can read today in Keystone Edge about the great work being done under the roof of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center
 
Well, that distinctive, saw-tooth roof is brand-new, energy-efficient and an important component to attracting and retaining businesses at Bridgeworks.
 
The business incubator is housed within a 100-year-old building, a former Mack Trucks plant. The old roof was made of thin, corrugated plastic sheeting with no insulation value. According to Anthony Durante of the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), on a hot summer day, the building could be 95 degrees, and in cold weather, "we would be fighting to keep the building in the 60s."
 
Recognizing the need to attract clients to an energy efficient and comfortable space, AEDC secured $500,000 in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funds from the state and $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
 
The new roof is made of a combination of insulated rubberized roofing and double-pane insulated Kalwall, a translucent building material. It has an R-15 insulation value and AEDC expects to see efficiency improvements in the range of 30 to 60 percent.
 
Work began in August -- three-story-high scaffolding was required to replace the 300 feet of roof on the building's northernmost peak. General contractor Walter Brucker & Company of Perkasie completed the job in the first week of December, just in time for this rough winter. 
 
Tenants at Bridgeworks are already reporting increased comfort and much lower heating bills (some have been cut in half, Durante reports).

"This project," says Ajay Khatri of ColdEdge Technologies, "is having an immediate positive impact on our company’s bottom line."
 
Source: Anthony Durante, AEDC
Writer: Elise Vider
 
 
 

Erie's CNG One Source provides one-stop-shop for natural gas-powered vehicles

Natural gas has been used as an automotive fuel since World War II; by 2011 there were nearly 15 million natural-gas vehicles around the world [Wikipedia]. But, in 2009, fewer than 120,000 domestic vehicles run on compressed or liquefied natural gas.
 
It's a situation Karen Teslovich, president of Erie's CNG One Source, would like to change. Billed as a one-stop shop, CNG One Source provides an array of natural gas-related services including consulting, engine conversions, refueling stations, maintenance, service and training.
 
Teslovich founded the company in 2011 after a career in government. In April, CNG One Source acquired a bankrupt Texas company that specialized in converting heavy diesel engines to compressed natural gas (CNG) and brought those operations to Erie.
 
About 80 percent of the company's work is now in diesel engine replacement, a complicated process that runs upwards of $20,000 per vehicle. But the low cost of CNG fuel makes the conversion of big-truck fleets -- garbage, delivery or moving trucks, for example, that travel 150,000 miles or more per year -- cost effective. The return on investment for gasoline-powered automobiles isn’t quite as compelling yet, but, according to Teslovich, "It will trickle down to the consumer level."
 
Another challenge facing the industry is the relative scarcity of refueling stations. CNG OneSource has installed small, fleet-size stations and has capacity to tackle bigger projects. The company is also doing research and development towards building new CNG engines.
 
Sales have grown 25 percent year over year. CNG One Source now has five employees and Teslovich hopes to double their workforce over the next year.
 
Source: Karen Teslovich, CNG OneSource
Writer: Elise Vider

Bigger and better Pittsburgh Public Market reopens

Pittsburgh significantly upped its creative city cred last week with the official re-opening of the Pittsburgh Public Market
 
Pittsburgh had been without a public market house since 1965 when the last one was demolished. In 2003, Neighbors in the Strip began planning for a new indoor year-round market in the city's historic market district, The Strip.
 
The new market supports local businesses by allowing them to thrive without the high overhead of a traditional storefront.

"The idea behind the market is to give food-based entrepreneurs the opportunity to focus on building their businesses," says market manager Tiffani Emig. "We envision it as a third space away from work and home where people can feel comfortable hanging out -- a place for education, a place for social interaction."
 
The market opened in 2010 in a smaller, temporary location. It had a "soft opening" in October at its new 25,000-square-foot home, a vacant telecom equipment building that was re-purposed by the city's Indovina Associates. Emig estimates the capital investment at $1.2 million.
 
The new facility hosts 20 small businesses, mostly food based; many of them do their food preparation on-site. Eliza’s Oven, for example, is a full-scale bakery operating out of only 100 square feet. Work on the project continues, with a shared-use commercial kitchen scheduled to open by summer, and more signage and streetscape improvements on the way.
 
The Pittsburgh Public Market is a non-profit entity under the auspices of Neighbors in the Strip, a non-profit organization established in 1999 to promote economic development opportunities while preserving the personality, integrity and character of the Strip, a one-time shantytown and wholesale produce market northeast of downtown.
 
Source: Tiffani Emig, Pittsburgh Public Market
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Going Electric: Tesla powers up in Pennsylvania

Tesla, maker of super high-end electric cars (base price $70,000), has powered up in Pennsylvania with a new King of Prussia store and a "supercharger" station off the PA turnpike.
 
The charging station at Somerset, which opened a few weeks ago, is part of Tesla's efforts to provide its drivers with a jolt of electricity along well-traveled corridors, enabling them to travel long distances for free. (Teslas can go about 300 miles on a single charge.) According to spokesperson Alexis Georgeson, Tesla chose Somerset to service travel between Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. 
 
With about 65 superchargers nationwide, Tesla is nearing its goal of enabling travel from Boston to Miami and coast to coast. 
 
Tesla's store at the King of Prussia Mall (which opened in June) exemplifies the car maker’s retail concept which is as revolutionary as the automobiles themselves. Think more Apple Store -- Tesla's nextdoor neighbor at the mall -- than Buick dealership.
 
Tesla chooses its retail sites -- 80 so far, with 24 coming soon -- based on foot not automotive traffic. In lieu of a freestanding building on a busy suburban roadway featuring a giant lot, Tesla opts for small (about 3,000 square feet) storefronts packed with interactive touchscreens. The goal, says Georgeson, is to create a no-pressure environment where prospective buyers can hang out, become educated about electric driving and create their own model with the features and functionality they want. 
 
Every Tesla is built to order so there is no need for a vast lot filled with inventory. Tesla maintains a few vehicles in the King of Prussia parking lot for test drives.
 
Tesla sold about 22,000 cars in 2013. Georgeson won’t reveal exact sales data for the King of Prussia store, but says the location is a "testament to the strength of that market."
 
Source: Alexis Georgeson, Tesla Motors
Writer: Elise Vider


Two new natural-gas-fueled power plants underway in PA

With its Liberty generating station under construction on 33 acres in Asylum Township, Panda Power Funds has announced a second plant. The Dallas investment company expects to break ground immediately on 85 acres in Clinton Township for its Patriot plant.
 
Panda says that each project translates to about 500 construction jobs. When the plants go online in 2016, each will create about 27 skilled jobs (to operate the facilities) and an additional 45 indirect jobs in the respective communities. 
 
Each plant is being "specifically developed to take a advantage of its proximity to the Marcellus Shale," says Panda. Each will power up to one million homes and be cooled with air, rather than water, protecting the Susquehanna watershed by neither drawing nor discharging water into the river. The Liberty plant also incorporates special blade designs, low-output motors and building enclosures to minimize sound.
 
Panda acquired the planned Liberty plant in August from Moxie Energy, a Virginia-based power plant developer. In December, it announced its second acquisition from Moxie, this time for the Patriot plant.
 
Source: Panda Power Funds
Writer: Elise Vider
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