The waterfront city of Pittsburg is at an unprecedented turning point in its history.
In its historic downtown, decades of inactivity are giving way to change as cranes hoist the framework of redevelopment projects into place, crews rip up streets to install new utilities and workers sink nails into new homes. It’s evidence of the almost $101 million being spent on redevelopment as well as private investment that is seeking the city out — no longer the other way around.
City officials are working to create a downtown they hope will draw new homeowners, shoppers and pedestrians. They are also working to expand Pittsburg’s industrial base.
Case in point: During the past year, the city secured a $93 million pipe mill — bringing as many as 200 high-paying jobs — and a caviar wholesaler with a downtown shop that will sell Italian cooking products, infused olive oils and salts. The city struck other deals with Italian rail manufacturer AnsaldoBreda Inc., which has moved its U.S. headquarters to Pittsburg and hopes to add 160 jobs during the next five to seven years; manufacturing company BioZone Laboratories, which could add 50 employees to its current workforce of about 100; and Raymar Foods, which could add 80 workers to the 120 it now has.
Pittsburg also recently capped more than three years of planning and negotiations for a $450 million project to improve reliability of the Bay Area power grid. The underwater Trans Bay Cable — which will convey excess power from Pittsburg to San Francisco — brings Pittsburg about $5.5 million in fees and $500,000 a year to manage a new converter station.
Before Camp Stoneman closed and the commercial fishing industry ended half a century ago, Pittsburg was the region’s powerhouse, and everywhere else was just a bus stop on the way. With monumental change under way, officials hope to resurrect that reputation — and they know the city’s residents will be sure to tell them exactly what they think.
(Information courtesy of The Contra Costa Times-Where We Live Series)