Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation (PGC) and Center for Metal Arts, Inc. (CMA) in Johnstown, PA are pleased to announce the signing of formal agreements to partner in CMA’s planned development. Initial funding for the project comes from Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, via a grant from its Community Initiatives Fund. Work is set to begin in October.
Drawing on its extensive experience redeveloping historic properties, most recently the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) in Pittsburgh, PGC will serve as Master Developer, applying its expertise to accelerate the development of CMA’s campus and education-focused programs in metal arts and particularly forging.
In 2018, CMA relocated its vibrant operations and programs from the New York City area to the Cambria Iron & Steel National Historic Landmark (NHL) site in Johnstown, where they now occupy four buildings owned by Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, including the original blacksmith shop dating from 1864. In a short time, CMA successfully re-established itself in Johnstown, rapidly expanding with the acquisition of a vacant church rectory building in nearby Cambria City, now fully occupied as short term student housing.
Of the recently inked collaboration with PGC, Patrick Quinn, Executive Director of CMA said, “After meeting the PGC team and touring EIC, we knew that PGC’s skills and interests align perfectly with CMA’s vision and mission as a world class forging school and campus.”
Robert Meeder, President and CEO of PGC stated, “CMA occupies a significant portion of the Cambria Iron NHL site, one of only two associated with the steel industry that are registered with the U.S. Department of the Interior. These buildings date from the mid-nineteenth century and are architecturally and historically significant representations of the birth of American Industrialization. The octagonal brick blacksmith shop, containing original industrial power hammers, and hand tools manufactured on site, is a national treasure. These magnificent structures, requiring much renovation, are the perfect headquarters for CMA and its growth. PGC is excited to serve this development. In my many years of development work, I have never witnessed the level of local collaborative support as is evident for this Cambria and Somerset County initiative. Johnstown’s corporate and civic leaders have embraced CMA and its leadership team.”
Sharon Place of PGC reports that CMA’s team including Board chaired by Kathleen Sheehan Ortel, have crafted an exciting vision for development that extends from their current historic campus to include other nearby properties to accommodate the students of CMA, affiliate retail and metals-related activities, and connections to other cultural and tourist assets of the region.