Sampson Morris to Redevelop Wholey’s Building into Apartments15 May 2013, 6:41 pm
Sampson Morris Group is planning to redevelop the seven-story New Federal Cold Storage facility in the Strip District into 144 one- and two-bedroom loft apartments. Also known as the Wholey’s building, the windowless property is located at 1501 Penn Avenue.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Monroeville-based developer purchased the 330,000-square-foot structure in 2008. Initial plans called for the conversion of the building into condominiums. Later, Sampson considered developing a multi-tenant industrial facility and then in March 2012, the company marketed the property as an office project. However, the strength of the apartment market in the Strip District has convinced Sampson to change strategy once again.
The building’s first two floors will be used as parking, Sampson Morris Group CEO Michael Morris told the newspaper. The size of the apartments will average 1,100 square feet, while rent is expected to be around $1.80 per square foot. The developer intends to submit the project to the city planning department in the next few weeks and complete construction by the end of 2014.
In regional news, two multifamily properties in Ross Township have been listed for sale. The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Philadelphia-based PRG Management Inc. is selling the 100-unit Governor’s Ridge Apartments at 112 Hilands Place, as well as The Cascades, a 146-unit community near Interstate 279.
According to Cindy Kamin, a senior vice president who works in multifamily and investment sales for CBRE, the assets are generating quite an interest from various investors. “There’s just not that much on the market right now and people want to buy,” she told the newspaper.
The Pittsburgh office of HFF Inc. is marketing the properties, which can be purchased together or individually. Built in the 1970s, the complexes are located less than two miles from one another and could be jointly managed.
PRG acquired Governor’s Ridge in 1988 and The Cascades in 1998. Both properties are almost completely occupied, with rents ranging from 85 cents to $1 per square foot.
Photo credits: www.loopnet.com
Speculative 130,000 SF Office Building Breaks Ground in North Fayette25 Apr 2013, 4:38 pm
Moon-based DiCicco Development is building a speculative 130,000-square-foot office building along the Parkway West corridor in North Fayette.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the developer is already preparing the site for the construction of the five-story project known as Westpointe Corporate Center Four. The building is being marketed by CBRE executive vice president Jeremy Kronman.
As demand for office space in the Parkway West area has been on the rise in recent years, DiCicco is confident that its latest project is worth the risk. The area’s vacancy rate has decreased from 18 percent at the end of 2011 to 14.3 percent at the end of 2012. According to CBRE, vacancy for class A office space in the corridor is currently around 5 percent.
“It’s just that the market is extremely tight. When you do a search for space in the Parkway West, there’s one building with 70,000 square feet, there’s one with 60,000 and there’s nothing else,” Kronman told the newspaper.
Construction on the Westpointe Corporate Center Four is expected to be complete by early 2014. The new building will be located next to a Hilton Homewood Suites hotel that DiCicco is developing in conjunction with Concord Hospitality.
DiCicco’s other projects in the Parkway West corridor include Westpointe Corporate Center One, which is occupied by Nova Chemicals, and Parkwest Corporate Center, which was leased to the Lanxess Corp. Chevron and RTI International Metals are also among DiCicco’s tenants.
In other news, Forest City Enterprises has announced that within the same transaction it has acquired its partner’s share in the Mall at Robinson, while selling its interest in the Plaza at Robinson Town Center. The company’s net proceeds were $7.75 million. Prior to the transaction, Forest City owned 72 percent interest in the mall and 50 percent interest in the strip center.
Photo credits: http://www.loopnet.com
Pittsburgh Public Schools Plan Sale of Closed Facilities17 Apr 2013, 6:52 pm
Pittsburgh Public Schools is considering the sale of 19 of its 20 closed buildings across the city. Only the Knoxville property at 324 Charles Street will be kept for use as a warehouse. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the School District has selected Fourth River Development to market its portfolio.
Combined, the 20 properties have a debt of $9.15 million, as well as an annual operating cost of $681,850. The buildings with the greatest amount of debt are Northview in Northview Heights with $1.96 million; Fort Pitt in Garfield with $1.86 million; and Belmar in Homewood with $1.34 million.
For most of the assets, Fourth River is recommending a negotiated sale, which requires three appraisals. If sold to a for-profit organization, the property’s sales price cannot go under the highest of the three appraisals.
Four of the buildings, however, may not attract high bids and could be donated or demolished. These include Beltzhoover, Gladstone in Hazelwood, Rogers in Garfield and Belmar. The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation will review any demolition plans in detail, the newspaper reports.
On the other hand, the properties with the highest interest are McCleary in Lawrenceville, Morningside, Columbus on the North Side and Burgwin in Hazelwood. In fact, the Morningside building has only $9,180 in debt, the lowest of the 20 assets.
The School Board is also considering the sale of its headquarters, a 1920s building on South Bellefield Avenue in Oakland. Pat Morosetti, Fourth River’s sales and leasing manager, told officials that the property is the School District’s most valuable asset, as demand for both residential and commercial space in Oakland is well over 90 percent.
Photo credits: http://www.frd.us.com/pghschools/morningside.htm
Developers Plan More Apartments in Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works10 Apr 2013, 7:35 pm
A group of investors is planning to develop a 170-unit apartment building on Hot Metal Street at the SouthSide Works. The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Oxford Development and North Side-based PJ Dick have called off their plan to build a 120,000-square-foot office structure at the site and have instead partnered with Lincoln Property Co. to develop a residential complex.
Oxford Development Co. President and CEO Steven Guy told the newspaper that the proposed office project located between a SpringHill Suites Hotel and the Circuit Center union facility has generated insufficient interest from tenants.
“CBRE and Oxford Realty services have been co-marketing that site for nearly two years, and although we have come close on two or three occasions of getting an anchor tenant to kick it off, nobody has pulled the trigger on it,” he said.
On the other hand, apartment demand on the South Side seems to be on the rise. The Soffer Organization has also launched a rental residential project in the area.
“I think there’s great demand for apartments on the South Side,” Guy added. “The question is obviously, are people willing to pay what it costs to build?”
In other news, developer Todd Palcic is planning to convert the former Graphic Arts building in downtown Pittsburgh into apartments. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the redevelopment of the eight-story, red-brick property at 422 First Avenue will result in 33 to 37 residences. Most of the units will be one-bedrooms, with rents ranging from $1,200 to $1,400 for an 800-square-foot home. Construction is expected to begin next year and be complete by 2015.
The developer recently paid $800,000 for the 35,000-square-foot building, as well as $350,000 for an adjacent lot which will be used as parking. The transaction was brokered by CBRE.
The repositioning of the First Avenue structure is Palcic’s fourth residential project in the city’s downtown area. The developer has already converted two Penn Avenue buildings into condominiums and is currently redeveloping a third into apartments. Called Lando Lofts, the project will feature 27 luxury rental units.
Photo credits: http://www.southsideworks.com
Allegheny County Health Department Site to Bring New Hotel and Offices5 Apr 2013, 2:23 pm
A development team comprised of Massaro Properties, the Langholz Wilson Ellis real estate firm, and architect Tasso Katselas Associates will repurpose the health department building in Oakland into hotel and office space.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the developers are about to acquire the property currently owned by Allegheny County for $4.9 million. The group hopes to finalize the sale by the end of the year, after a period of due diligence.
Economic development director Dennis Davin told the newspaper that the sales agreement received the county council’s approval in November 2009, but it was eventually postponed because of the recession. Meanwhile, Kratsa Properties, another developer that was part of the team, withdrew from the project.
The proposed development at 3333 Forbes Avenue includes a 50,000-square-foot office building, a 168-unit hotel, and parking. Construction is expected to begin early next year and be complete in 2015. Last December, the developers paid $385,000 for an adjacent property at 3337 Forbes Avenue which would offer easier access to the hotel.
In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that construction on a planned residential development in Cranberry Township could begin this summer.
Called the Links of Cranberry, the proposed neighborhood is the first project of its kind in five years. Plans call for approximately 300 new homes and apartments near the Highlands Golf Club, along Freshcorn and Glen Eden roads, as well as extensive landscaping, parklets and pedestrian walkways.
Dan Ryan Home Builders of Pittsburgh will develop the first phase of development, comprised of 20 townhomes and 21 single-family homes. Morgan Management of Rochester, N.Y. will be in charge of the second phase of the project, which involves the construction of eight apartment buildings totaling 252 units.
According to township planning director Ron Henshaw, the area’s residential growth is on the rise. In 2012, there were 84 building permits for single-family homes, compared to 75 in 2011, 69 in 2010, 49 in 2009 and 71 in 2008.
Photo credits: Cranberry Township via cranberry.patch.com
Landmark Developments To Look Forward To in Downtown Pittsburgh27 Mar 2013, 5:53 pm
Pittsburgh’s growing downtown will soon welcome a new wave of development. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 60 projects are currently planned for the Golden Triangle region, totaling about $2.2 billion in investment.
Developed by Millcraft Investments, the Gardens at Market Square is among the most notable mixed-use towers expected to break ground in the heart of downtown this year. Lucas Piatt, the company’s president and chief operating officer, has discussed the $95 million hotel, office and retail project during the recent annual meeting of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
The 18-story high-rise will be developed on Forbes Avenue, between Market Square and Wood Street, and will include approximately 125,000 square feet of office space, a 197-room Hilton Garden Inn, 20,000 square feet of retail space and a 335-car parking garage. Construction is expected to start in June, with Turner Construction Co. as construction manager and anchor tenant. Popular restaurant Burgatory and Jackson’s Social Bar and Restaurant are also among the building’s tenants. The completion date for the entire development has been set for 2015.
During the meeting, Millcraft Invetments discussed another project on its drawing board, which includes the redevelopment of the former Saks Fifth Avenue store. The developer has partnered with McKnight Realty Partners to build a 130-unit apartment building at the site. The complex would feature a rooftop swimming pool, a spa, a yoga room or studio, a 450-space parking garage, and 25,000 square feet of street-level retail.
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has outlined several other projects that are slated to continue progress in the Golden Triangle. These include the $42 million upgrade of the Point State Park, PNC’s conversion of the former Lord & Taylor department store on Smithfield Street into a call center, a new three-story office building on the North Shore to be developed by Continental Real Estate, as well as the redevelopment of the 28-acre Civic Arena into housing, office, retail and entertainment space.
Photo credits: http://www.millcraftinv.com/
New York REIT Acquires Courtyard By Marriott Property in Pittsburgh25 Mar 2013, 2:10 pm
Carey Watermark Investors Incorporated of New York has acquired a 132-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.
The company’s total investment in the Courtyard Pittsburgh Shadyside property is around $34.6 million. This amount includes a purchase price of $29.9 million as well as $4.8 million in planned capital improvements and acquisition-related costs.
Open since 2003, the hotel offers approximately 1,600 square feet of meeting space, a Starbucks Coffee House, a fitness center, a business center and an indoor pool/whirlpool. It also provides easy access to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
The upgrades, which are slated for completion early next year, will include the lobby, guest rooms and public areas. Concord Hospitality of Raleigh will continue to manage the property, CWI announced.
“We view Shadyside as Pittsburgh’s most upscale market and see its location as one of the best within the market. The Courtyard Shadyside is already a market leader in terms of average rate and RevPAR and, as part of the Marriott family of brands, benefits from a strong loyalty program and significant national distribution,” said Michael Medzigian, CEO of CWI.
In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pittsburgh City Council has approved the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s request to pursue a $90 million tax increment financing plan for the proposed $900 million redevelopment of the former LTV Steel site along the Monongahela River in Hazelwood.
The financing plan will now go before the Allegheny County Council and the Pittsburgh Public Schools board. If approved, it would become the largest TIF deal in the city’s history.
The redevelopment of Pittsburgh‘s last major brownfield would bring about 2.1 million square feet of high-tech research and office space, as well as approximately 1,200 residential units on 178 acres of land owned by a consortium of four local foundations called Almono LP.
Photo credits: Carey Watermark Investors
Pittsburgh Public Market Moving to Improved Facility on Penn Avenue15 Mar 2013, 5:59 pm
This summer, the Pittsburgh Public Market will relocate from 12,000 square feet in the Pennsylvania Fruit Auction & Sales Terminal Building, on Smallman Street, to a much larger space, also in the Strip District.
The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Neighbors in the Strip, the community organization that operates the public market, has closed on the lease of a 27,000-square-foot brick building at 2401 Penn Avenue. At its new location, the market will be able to add amenities such as a commercial kitchen, air conditioning, heating and restrooms.
“The Pittsburgh Public Market’s move further up Penn Avenue will make the corridor more walkable and attractive to pedestrians and shoppers, and will further expand the business district,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a press statement. “This is exactly what Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance is about—growing businesses, improving our neighborhoods and creating jobs.”
In January, the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority approved a $40,000 grant to support the market’s relocation and pre-development. Since it was founded in 2010, the Pittsburgh Public Market has served as an incubator for local entrepreneurs, supporting the establishment of more than 70 businesses. It has also led to the creation of more than 130 jobs.
In other local news, United Lender Services, Corp. (ULS) has moved to newly renovated Class A corporate office space in Pittsburgh. The company currently occupies 48,000 square feet at 1000 Commerce Drive, Park Place One in RIDC Parkway West.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, ULS is a national provider of mortgage solutions. The company has approximately 130 employees and plans to add another 160 people to accommodate its rapid growth. ULS’ parent company, San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate Company, purchased Park Place One and its sister property in February.
Photo credits: http://www.showcase.com
McCandless Crossing Development in Suburban Pittsburgh Adds New Tenants7 Mar 2013, 8:44 pm
AdVenture Development LLC is about to break ground on the fourth phase of the McCandless Crossing 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development in Pittsburgh’s suburban North Hills. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, three new restaurants and a new store have committed to the town center portion of the approximately $100 million master plan.
The latest additions to the project include what would become the region’s first Carrabba’s Italian Grill, as well as a Bonefish Grill location, a Longhorn Steakhouse and home furnishings retailer Home Goods.
The town center’s key anchor tenant is Cinemark Holdings Inc. of Texas. The company’s 12-screen, all-digital cineplex and a Doodle Bugs! child-care center are slated to open towards the end of the month.
Designed by O’Brien Architects of Dallas, McCandless Crossing’s entertainment portion will also bring a mix of small shops, a high-end grocery store and 50 townhouses. Construction on this phase of AdVenture’s mixed-use plan is expected to be complete in 2014.
The McCandless Crossing’s completed phases include a Lowes Home Improvement store, an LA Fitness, a CVS pharmacy, an IHOP restaurant and others. The region’s first Hilton Home2 Suites, currently under construction, is also part of the new development. Upon completion, the hotel will be the first extended stay property in the North Hills. AdVenture Development is also planning to build about 80,000 square feet of office space and a second hotel on the rest of the 130-acre property at Duncan Avenue in McCandless Township.
Photo credits: http://adventuredev.com
High-Profile I.M. Pei Apartment Community Slated for Renovation28 Feb 2013, 7:59 pm
One of Pittsburgh’s iconic residential towers, the 24-story Washington Plaza Apartments, is set to undergo a series of upgrades this year. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Faros Properties LLC has hired Perkins Eastman of New York to remodel the property’s lobby, business center, fitness center and swimming pool. Improvements are also planned for the kitchen and bathroom(s) of each unit.
Built in 1964 and designed by I.M. Pei and Partners, the 388-unit high-end apartment community is located at 1420 Centre Avenue, just west of the city’s downtown. The property includes studios, as well as one- and two-bedroom residences, with monthly rents ranging from $1,000 to more than $2,000. The complex offers approximately 400 parking spaces, 291 storage units, a 24/7 concierge service, controlled access and valet parking, as well as tennis courts, volleyball courts and barbecue picnic areas. There is also a retail portion on the ground floor, with a bar & grill, massage spa, dentist and hair salon.
Last November, Faros Properties purchased the majority interest in WP Partner, the corporate entity that owns the building, from the Detroit Police and Fire Pension Fund. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In the spring, HFF Inc. had listed the Washington Plaza tower for $55 million, or more than $140,000 per unit. At the time of sale, the property’s occupancy rate was marketed as 98 percent.
“We’re focused on multifamily assets in urban and infill locations, in addition to commercial properties in cities that have high concentrations of intellectual capital, strong fundamentals and strong growth prospects,” Faros Properties managing partner Jeremy Leventhal told the newspaper.
At about 97 percent, Pittsburgh’s overall apartment occupancy rate is among the best in the country, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.
Photo credits: www.galinsky.com/buildings
New East Side Transit-Oriented Development Moves Forward20 Feb 2013, 4:41 pm
The Mosites Co. is planning to build a new multi-modal transit center, with 54,000 square feet of retail, more than 360 residential units and 595 parking spaces in Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhood. The estimated price tag of the entire project is $75.2 million.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has approved the developer’s request to purchase a small portion of land in this area, clearing the way for the new development. The project will sit on six acres, stretching from Penn Avenue to the Eastside II retail complex on Penn Circle South.
Expected to serve nearly 1,000 daily bus trips, the new East Liberty Transit Center will replace the current East Liberty Busway Station and spur additional transit-oriented development. It will include a pedestrian link between the East Liberty commercial corridor and Shadyside, as well as new platforms and a new bicycle garage.
Last June, Pittsburgh’s URA was awarded a $15 million TIGER IV federal grant for the new transit center and is now seeking an additional $20 million in state and federal loans. The Port Authority of Allegheny County will also invest in the center’s infrastructure, which could amount to a total of $34 million. Mosites has also developed East Side phases I and II and expects to begin construction on the new project by mid-2014.
In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that PMC Property Group’s proposal to purchase and redevelop the historic Schenley High School property in Oakland has been endorsed by the Fourth River Development review panel in charge with overseeing the project’s marketing and bidding process.
The Philadelphia-based developer is proposing a $36.9 million reconversion of the property that would bring an estimated 178 luxury one- and two-bedroom apartments, along with parking and an on-site fitness center. The Pittsburgh Public Schools is expected to reach a final decision on Feb. 27.
PMC’s $5.2 million bid amount was the highest of four. In order to qualify, the bids were required to include an acquisition price of at least $4 million. Other selection criteria involved the commitment to the community, limitation of risk, and the ability to complete the project.
Photo credits: eltransitcentertod.com
Developer Completes Multifamily Conversion Project in Pittsburgh6 Feb 2013, 8:43 pm
Burns & Scalo has completed the redevelopment of the former Goodwill Building at 2600 E. Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Dubbed “The Brix at 26”, the $34 million reconversion project is now ready for occupancy and offers 87 market rate apartments, 91 parking spaces and 10,397 square feet of retail space.
According to CoStar, 20 percent of the building’s residential units are already pre-leased. Most of the apartments are one-bedroom units, while only a few feature two bedrooms.
“This project could not have happened without the support of the Mayor and the URA’s active involvement,” said Jim Scalo, president and CEO, Burns & Scalo.
Construction began in January of 2012. The developer has been granted a $5.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant for core and shell work, as well as $6 million in historic tax credits. Amore Management Company is now handling operations and leasing.
In other news, Canonsburg-based Horizon Properties is building an 84-room Hampton Inn hotel off Interstate 79 in Bridgeville. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the new five-story property 300 Old Pond Road will be owned by Bridgeville Hotel Associates LP and managed by Horizon Hospitality.
Upon completion, the hotel will offer 1,250 square feet of meeting space, an indoor heated pool, and a fitness center, as well as complimentary hot breakfast and high-speed internet access. All rooms and suites will include a refrigerator and microwave, along with high definition TV. Construction is expected to be complete by December 2013.
Horizon Properties also owns the Cambria Suites in Washington, Pa. and Pittsburgh, a Hampton Inn & Suites in Blairsville, and a Hampton Inn in Waynesburg.
Photo credits: http://www.burns-scalo.com
Bakery Square 2.0 Development To Break Ground in March30 Jan 2013, 4:49 pm
Walnut Capital and its financial partner, the RCG Longview Fund, have closed on the acquisition of the vacant Reizenstein School in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty section. The purchase of the property allows the developers to move forward with their plans for the approximately $100 million Bakery Square 2.0 development.
Plans now call for three office buildings totaling 400,000 square feet, two 175-unit apartment buildings, 57 rental townhouses, an underground parking garage, and new streets, along with public and private green spaces. It’s estimated that the project’s full build-out period will span five years.
“Bakery Square 2.0 will be another world class development and is expected to create more than 1,200 new jobs and offer amazing office and housing opportunities that will attract new businesses and residents,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said.
Employee Real Estate Construction Trust Funds has provided financing for the acquisition and demolition of the school. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the initial phase of Bakery Square 2.0 entails the development of the first apartment building. Construction is expected to begin in March.
Across the street, Walnut Capital Partners has also completed Bakery Square 1.0, the $130 million mixed-use redevelopment of the 1900-era Nabisco bakery in Larimer. The LEED platinum 250,000 square feet building is fully leased and includes Google, UPMC, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh among its tenants.
“The success story of Bakery Square is one of a strong public-private partnership that has spurred millions of private investment in and around East Liberty, Larimer and Shadyside—from the opening of Target, to the historic renovation of the Highland Building, to the dozens of new restaurants and retail ventures,” Ravenstahl added.
Last year, Mayor Ravenstahl’s administration announced a $2 million federal grant that will help finance infrastructure costs for the second phase of Bakery Square.
Photo credits: bakery-square.com/photo-gallery
Pittsburgh Public Schools Unveil Project Bids for Schenley Redevelopment25 Jan 2013, 6:07 am
Officials at Pittsburgh Public Schools have revealed proposals from four bidders interested in purchasing and redeveloping the former Pittsburgh Schenley High School in North Oakland.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in order to qualify, the bids were required to include an acquisition price of at least $4 million. This amount covers the remaining debt on the historic property.
The four bidders and the bid amounts are:
• PMC Property Group, $5.2 million
• AWSVPA/Edward Alexei, $4.1 million
• Ralph A. Falbo Inc., $4 million
• Kossman Development Co., agent for Provident Charter School, $4.6 million.
The candidates intend to convert the property into apartments and/or create a new school. The highest bid came from Philadelphia-based PMC Property Group. The developer is proposing 175 residential units, along with parking and an on-site fitness center. The development will incorporate the existing basketball gym, while the uses of the pool and auditorium will be determined at a later date. The estimated cost of the project is around $37 million.
Kossman Development Co. is planning to spend $36.8 million for the development of both a charter school for 336 dyslexic children in grades 2-8 and 115 housing units for college students.
The AWSVPA proposal includes the creation of a private secondary school called the Andy Warhol School of Visual and Performing Arts. The estimated cost of the development is approximately $25 million.
Local developer Ralph A. Falbo, an alumnus of Schenley, is planning 123 market rate apartments (99 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units), with an on-site fitness center. The estimated cost of the proposed project is $32 million.
The Request for Proposals process is being managed by Fourth River Development. A final vote from the School Board is expected on Feb. 27 during its regular public meeting.
Photo credits: www.frd.us.com/pghschools/schenley.htm
Preliminary TIF Plan Moves Forward for Pittsburgh’s Largest Riverfront Project16 Jan 2013, 7:05 pm
The Urban Redevelopment Authority has initiated a historic tax increment financing (TIF) process for the nearly $1 billion redevelopment of the former LTV Steel site along the Monongahela River in Hazelwood. If approved, the master plan would turn Pittsburgh‘s last major abandoned industrial site into a hub of activity comprised of approximately 2.1 million square feet of high-tech research and office space, as well as more than 1,200 residential units.
Located close to the downtown area, the 178-acre site has sat dormant for 15 years. Almono LP purchased the brownfield property in 2002 for $10 million. The consortium is made up of four local foundations: Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation and McCune Foundation. The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania is currently managing the property on behalf of the partnership.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the project’s public infrastructure could benefit from as much as $90 million in the form of loans from the foundations. These funds would be repaid over 20 years through a TIF package that must be approved by the Pittsburgh City Council, the Allegheny County Council and the Pittsburgh Public Schools board.
“The development of this site will continue our efforts to connect our neighborhoods to Pittsburgh’s most beautiful natural assets—our riverfronts,” said Mayor Ravenstahl. “There has been tremendous neighborhood investment on both sides of the Monongahela River over the last few years, and the much-anticipated transformation of the Hazelwood site will build on this momentum, creating thousands of new jobs and renewing a neighborhood in the process.”
Upon completion, the project is expected to generate over 3,000 jobs and increase annual real estate tax revenue from about $100,000 to $11 million.
Other developments along the Monongahela riverfront that were made possible by TIFs include the $65 million Bridgeside Point II office building, the $13 million South Shore Riverfront Park and the soon-to-be-completed $24.2 million HYATT hotel.
Photo credits: Rothschild Doyno Collaborative
Starwood Capital Purchases North Fayette Office Property in Pittsburgh14 Jan 2013, 7:50 pm
An affiliate of Starwood Capital Group has purchased the seven-story 2000 Park Lane office building in North Fayette, Pittsburgh. The acquisition was part of a larger transaction that involved nine commercial office buildings located predominately in the country’s Sun Belt region. Wells Real Estate Investment Trust II, Inc. sold the properties for a combined $260.5 million.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the North Fayette office building was constructed in 1993 and has an assessed value of $23.5 million. Wells Real Estate Investment Trust II purchased the 231,213-square-foot property from a subsidiary of Computer Associates International, Inc. in December 2005 for $29.5 million.
The total portfolio included in the sale amounts to 1.9 million square feet of Class A office space. The other buildings that were purchased are located in the urban or suburban areas of Orlando, Tampa, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Salt Lake City.
“We are pleased to have worked with Wells REIT II to reach an agreement to acquire a critical mass of high-quality properties with strong tenant rosters that generate significant cash flow,” said Mark Keatley, senior vice president at Starwood Capital. “Most of these buildings are located in markets with outsized job and population growth projections.”
In regional hospitality news, an 86-room Studio 6 extended-stay hotel will soon break ground in Houston, Washington County. Developer Tejas Gosai told the Observer-Reporter that the new property located off the Houston/Route 519 exit of Interstate 79 will be the first Studio 6 in Pennsylvania.
Expected to open by the end of next year, the hotel will cater primarily to Marcellus Shale drillers. Rooms will be equipped with a kitchenette, desk, small-screen TV and sitting area.
Blackstone Group LP purchased the Studio 6 and Motel 6 chains of extended-stay properties from ACCOR in October for $1.9 billion. The portfolio currently includes 1,102 units in the United States and Canada.
Photo credits: www.corporate-event-pittsburgh.com
City Council to Approve Special Zoning Legislation for Buncher’s $400M Mixed-Use Project2 Jan 2013, 5:37 pm
The Pittsburgh City Council has approved zoning variances for Buncher Co.’s estimated $400 million mixed-use development in the Strip District.
Called Riverfront Landing, the proposed development would stretch 55 acres from Veterans Bridge to 21st Street, between Smallman Street and the Allegheny River. Pending further approvals, the project could bring 750 housing units with more than 1,000 parking spots, 800,000 square feet of office space, about 200,000 square feet of retail and a 140-room hotel. Plans also call for a walking trail, a park, an extension of 17th Street, and the partial demolition and renovation of the historic Produce Terminal.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the council has given preliminary approval to legislation that would allow the developer to exceed building density and height limitations, as well as other zoning requirements. A final vote is expected this week.
In other news, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania (RIDC) has sold a 10,200 square feet building at 260 Alpha Drive in RIDC Park in O’Hara Township. Practical Administrative Solutions, LP has purchased the 1.41-acre property for $1,060,000.
The facility will be leased to Grane Hospice Care and Grane Home Health Care, the fifth-largest elder care provider in the Pittsburgh region, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times 2012 Book of Lists.
“We continue to grow and develop new markets within Pennsylvania, and we need additional resources to support our current and planned expansion plans,” Grance Hospice Care COO William Gallagher said in a prepared statement.
RIDC purchased the land in O’Hara Township in 1963 with the intent of developing one of the first master-planned industrial parks in the country. The 700-acre RIDC Park is now a prime real estate location in the North Allegheny Pittsburgh submarket. Earlier this year, the corporation sold the 97,500-square-foot building at 610 Alpha Drive to Tsudis Chocolate Co. for $3.9 million.
Photo credits: www.dlastorino.com
Pittsburgh Glass Center to Develop Affordable In-Residence Housing in Garfield13 Dec 2012, 5:33 pm
The Pittsburgh Glass Center has purchased a former coffeehouse in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood with plans to repurpose the facility as student and artist-in-residence housing. Construction will begin as soon as funding is secured.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Bloomfield-Garfield Corp. and Friendship Development Association facilitated the acquisition and will also support the property’s redevelopment.
Located at 5447 Penn Ave., the former Kim’s Coffee Shop will provide affordable housing for the center’s visiting artists, students and guests of other arts and community organizations. Plans may also include a retail portion for glass art and supplies.
“This is going to be an amazing place for creative exchange between local and visiting artists and master artists and beginners,” Executive Director Heather McElwee told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “It will be a place where new methods of art making, teaching and exhibiting will occur. It’s going to bring more nationally recognized artists to Pittsburgh in addition to providing much needed housing for our students.”
In other regional news, South Fayette-based Collier Development plans to develop a 100-room hotel and 150 apartments, as well as shops and restaurants on the site of the former Iron City brewery complex in Lawrenceville. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the total cost of the project could amount to $100 million.
In February, Collier Development paid $2.375 million for the nine-plus-acre complex comprised of 20 historic buildings. Some of the oldest structures of the former manufacturing facility date back to the Civil War.
The company now plans to seek approval from the Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission and City Council to demolish at least six buildings in order to make room for the new hotel, residential and commercial buildings. Plans also call for an 800-space garage, a large courtyard, a pool and an outdoor market.
Photo credits: www.riverdance.com
Highwoods Properties Acquires Landmark Office Building in Downtown Pittsburgh5 Dec 2012, 3:53 pm
In a $91.2 million deal, Highwoods Properties Inc. has purchased the 616,000-square-foot EQT Plaza skyscraper in downtown Pittsburgh. The transaction included the full acquisition of building owner Liberty Avenue Mezzanine LLC, a Delaware holding company.
Highwoods Properties plans to invest another $8 million to improve the 32-story office building. Currently at 92.2 percent, the property’s occupancy rate will increase to 95.9 percent by the third quarter of 2013. Major tenants include EQT Corp., insurer AIG and law firms Cohen & Grigsby, McGuireWoods and Fox Rothschild.
“We are thrilled to expand our footprint by 40 percent in downtown Pittsburgh with the acquisition of another Class A office building,” said Ed Fritsch, president and chief executive officer of Highwoods.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the real estate company currently has $300 million worth of property in Pittsburgh, which has become its fifth-largest office market. Last September, the company acquired PPG Place—a six-building, 1.5 million-square-foot office complex in the city’s downtown area. Highwood’s investment amounted to $214.1 million, including improvement costs.
“Our investment in Pittsburgh has already exceeded our expectations,” said Fritsch. “The downtown market is thriving, with competitive Class A office properties 94 percent leased. Occupancy at PPG Place is now expected to increase from 81.2 percent at acquisition to over 88 percent at year-end.”
According to a recent CBRE report, the Class A vacancy rate continues to decrease in the Pittsburgh area. During this year’s second quarter, the Oakland Class A market registered a vacancy rate of zero percent, while the East End was at 1.6 percent and Cranberry and the Parkway North were at 1.7 percent.
The city’s downtown area registered a Class A vacancy rate of 6.1 percent, while the suburban market carried a vacancy rate of 7.6 percent. During the same period, Class B vacancy increased to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent, while Class C vacancy decreased to 13.4 percent from 13.8 percent.
Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
Chart courtesy of CBRE, Inc.
HVMG Opens New Hampton Inn & Suites in Greater Pittsburgh28 Nov 2012, 2:58 pm
Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) of Atlanta has announced the opening of a Hampton Inn & Suites property along the Waterfront in West Homestead, just seven miles from downtown Pittsburgh. It is the fourth hotel the company manages in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
The new Hampton Inn & Suites/Waterfront-West Homestead features 113 rooms including 33 suites, 1,000 square feet of meeting space, an indoor swimming pool and a 1,500-square-foot outdoor terrace and deck. Amenities include free hot breakfast, free parking, 24-hour business center, access to the on-site fitness center and free high-speed Internet in each guest room.
“We’re excited to expand our footprint in Pittsburgh, which has proven to be an exceptional growth market for the three other hotels we manage in the area,” HVMG President & CEO Robert Cole said in a press statement.
The property is located at 301 West Waterfront Drive along the Monongahela River. Called The Waterfront, the area offers 750,000 square feet of retail attractions, restaurants and upscale apartments.
In other news, the Regional Industrial Development Corp. (RIDC) of Southwestern Pennsylvania has sold the 610 Alpha Drive property at its RIDC Industrial Park in O’Hara Township.
Tsudis Chocolate Company has purchased the 97,500-square foot building and six acres for $3.9 million. The company has leased the facility from RIDC since 2002 and plans to make building changes that would lead to an addition to production capabilities and increased employment.
Tsudis Chocolate started in 2002 and moved to RIDC Park after it purchased the assets of Penhurst Candy. In the past three years, Tsudis has doubled its sales and employment and expects to grow to over 275 full time employees.
“RIDC supports businesses that are creating jobs in the Pittsburgh region. We are happy to see Tsudis Chocolate continue to expand in the original RIDC Industrial Park in O’Hara,” said Don Smith, Jr, President of RIDC.
Photo credits: hamptoninn3.hilton.com