After opening a temporary office last summer in Gulf Tower, Downtown, industrial contractor Ref-Chem is seeking new digs to capitalize on pipeline work in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays.
But Ref-Chem is hardly alone in searching for a site for its Appalachian operations. As shale drilling booms, the industrial real estate market has tightened as more companies move into the area to follow the work.
“We’re a construction company. We belong in an industrial-type facility,” said Bruce Stewart, northeast manager of the Odessa, Texas-based company that specializes in building compressor stations and production facilities for the pipeline industry. “Because of the Marcellus, these types of facilities are in high demand.”
For Ref-Chem, the ideal location would be about three acres of land with about 5,000 square feet of shop space and 24,500 square feet of office space.
“It’s a similar space that all of the companies are looking for,” Mr. Stewart said. “And everyone wants to be in the Washington area and toward Southpointe. That’s the hot spot.”
Ref-Chem has three permanent employees in Pittsburgh and construction projects throughout the Marcellus and Utica. It plans to hire eight to 10 additional people if it finds a new location. “We would like to staff those positions as much as possible with local people,” Mr. Stewart said.