Hard hats and neon vests filled the Fifth and Wood intersection in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday morning as construction workers placed the last beam on the Tower at PNC Plaza.
The project is far from complete. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the inside before 2,200 PNC corporate workers can fill the 33-story building, which will serve as the new headquarters. The project will be finished by mid-2015, according to Bill Demchak, PNC chairman, president and CEO.
“People are coming to Pittsburgh to ask, ‘How are we doing it? What’s going on in this town that we’re getting it right economically, environmentally and culturally, when so much of our country continues to struggle?’” Demchak said. “We’re doing something right here, and it’s not lost on us that while Pittsburgh has thrived, so has PNC.”
According to Demchak, the Tower at PNC Plaza will be the world’s greenest office tower, complete with a solar chimney, for ventilation powered by solar energy, and a double skin-façade, which will allow the building to consume 50 percent less energy than a typical building. A water recycling system is expected to decrease the tower's annual water consumption by 77 percent. PNC expects for this building to win LEED platinum certification, the highest designation.
The project has created 2,500 construction jobs, and according to Demchak, at least 15 percent of the cost has been spent on woman- and minority-owned businesses.
Demchak acknowledged the latest addition to the Pittsburgh skyline has caused traffic challenges.
“There’s been more than a few mornings where I’m driving to work and there’s a big cement truck blocking my way down the street, and I got to do a few laps before I get into the garage, but the good news is when we’re done … I suspect that the little micro-economy around here will actually be quite healthy on the back of all the new people in there,” Demchak said.
PNC has been in downtown Pittsburgh for the past 162 years, and Demchak said that they plan to stay for at least 162 more.