Why Rust Belt real estate development is gearing up

Royal Dutch Shell is slated to open the first large factory on the Ohio River since 1992
March 31, 2019 01:00PM

Construction in Pittsburgh, USA (Credit: iStock)

A massive chemical processing plant under construction along the Ohio River is fueling renewed real estate development in the Rust Belt region.

Royal Dutch Shell’s new 386-acre plant to produce a widely-used plastic called polyethylene will be the first major factory to open in the area since 1992, according to the New York Times.

The factory is located just 30 miles from Pittsburgh and is slated to eventually create about 600 full-time jobs. Meanwhile, a peak of about 6,000 construction workers will work on building the factory until its completion in the early 2020s.

As a result, housing construction is revving up. One local real estate company’s chairman, Charles Betters, called Shell’s plant “the best thing to happen in our region in 40-plus years.”

Betters claims his company, C.J. Betters Enterprises, is building 200 residential units and a big hotel project as a consequence of the factory.

The cost of Shell’s plant is estimated to be up to $10 billion, which reportedly makes the factory among the largest industrial projects ever constructed along the Ohio River. The state gave Shell a $1.6 billion package in reduced taxes for a 25-year period.

The project is also drawing other major companies interested in polyethylene production to the area, which is concerning environmentalists.

“Industry calls it a game changer. We see it as game over,” said Dustin White of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition to the Times. [NYT] – Mike Seemuth