Final Thoughts – Week of March 10

This was a slower week in the news but according to estimators around the region, bidding remains brisk. Interviews are today for the CM role for the new Tepper Business School at CMU. Carlow is taking proposals for a +/- $12 million expansion from Jendoco, Martini, Mascaro, Massaro and PJ Dick. Excela has requested design/build proposals from Martini and MBM for a renovation at Frick Hospital to create a medical mall-type space to the $8 million Excela Square.

This morning’s Post-Gazette has a story about Shell’s continued efforts to focus its capital expenditures. The article implies that the efforts make the ethane cracker decision less certain but offers little support for the theory. The basis of the story seems to be Shell’s CEO comments about the company. Shell is publicly traded so you have to read any public CEO’s comments through that prism. The concern he expressed was about their dry gas assets in the Marcellus. The ethane supply for the cracker has been proven from the wet gas deposits here in western PA and the Utica Shale formation, which is very accessible in Beaver and Lawrence Counties. There’s still plenty of wiggle room for Shell to opt out or defer but the activity – particularly the assemblage of adjacent properties that have been purchased by the energy giant – suggests that dirt will be moving this year.

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