Uber research center advances in Duquesne |

Uber research center advances in Duquesne

A​ San Francisco-based ride ​sharing company and a regional university are eyeing a stretch of riverfront land in Duquesne for potential development of a research facility.

Uber and Carnegie Mellon announced a partnership earlier this year that included the development of a facility to be known as the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

At a regular meeting Wednesday, Duquesne council approved a preliminary site development plan for a 50-acre parcel on S. Linden Street in the City Center of Duquesne industrial park​ for development of the Uber center​.

The park is owned by the Regional Industrial Development Corp. and is on land that once housed the U.S. Steel Duquesne Works.

Duquesne's planning commission recommended a soil erosion and grading plan for the site at a November meeting. Council unanimously authorized the environmental plan at Wednesday's meeting.

Jeff Fullerton, who handles special projects for Uber, ​described​ its interest in the Duquesne site as​ “very preliminary” and ​“​a​n investigation at this point.”

“We want to stay in the community and we're part of Pittsburgh,” said Fullerton, noting that part of the site's appeal is ​its close proximity​ to ​Pittsburgh​.

When CMU announced its partnership with Uber in February, it described the proposed center as a place that “will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber's mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation​ to everyone, everywhere”​ and said it “will aid in local job creation and further the well-deserved reputation of Pittsburgh for its growing innovation sector.”

Fullerton said the Uber center is working with the brownfield development consulting firm KU Resources and the state Department of Environmental Protection to determine if the Duquesne parcel is suitable.

Duquesne Mayor Phil Krivacek said a technology center in the industrial park could help spur more economic development in the area.

“It's great,” Krivacek said. “We're looking forward to helping them any way we can.”

In other business, council approved a water rate increase.

The $3 increase takes consumer rates from $6.75 per 1,000 gallons used per month to $9.75 and eliminates discounts for customers using less than 1,000 gallons.

Duquesne officials say the water rate increase is necessary to improve the city's long-term financial health and bring it out from under the state's Act 47 financial distress designation by 2019.

This is the first time in eight years Duquesne has adjusted water rates.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or [email protected].

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