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