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Third Trader Joe’s Store in Pittsburgh to Open at McCandless Crossing in 2014

24 Oct 2013, 2:54 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The third Trader Joe’s store in the Pittsburgh area will be located at the McCandless Crossing mixed-use development in the North Hills, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. 

The specialty grocer’s new 11,500-square-foot location will open at the intersection of McKnight Road and Duncan Avenue in 2014. Other Trader Joe’s stores in the Pittsburgh area opened in East Liberty in 2006 and in Upper St. Clair in 2011.

The new establishment will be part of McCandless Crossing’s 250,000-square-foot Town Center, the fourth phase of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex developed by AdVenture Development LLC.

“Creating an environmentally green project with places for people to live, work and play is one of our main goals,” developer Kevin Dougherty, president of AdVenture Development, said in prepared remarks.  

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. Dick’s Sporting Goods will be taking up 50,000 square feet of retail space within the new development, while a 12-screen, 45,000 square foot Cinemark theater is currently under construction. In order to meet demand for more housing in the region, plans also call for 53 townhomes along Cumberland Road.

McCandless Crossing’s completed phases include a Lowes Home Improvement store, an LA Fitness, Fidelity Bank, 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 office space and a second hotel on the rest of the 130-acre property at Duncan Avenue in McCandless Township.

Photo credits: www.mccandlesscrossing.com



More Apartments Planned for the Strip District

17 Oct 2013, 4:26 am







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

As demand for apartments continues to be strong in the Pittsburgh region, Shadyside-based Schreiber Real Estate is planning the construction of a six-story residential building in the city’s Strip District. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 59-unit apartment complex will be located at Smallman and 11th streets near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Designed by Front Studio Architects, the $7.5 million development known as 1100 Smallman will offer 44 one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom units. The project will also feature 61 parking spaces, as well as bike racks, an exercise room, and a barbecue area.

“The idea is that this is going to be an iconic building and that it will be easily recognizable. The hope is that the architecture, the location and the quality of the building will lease it very quickly,” Art Lubetz, principal for Front Studio Architects, told the newspaper.

Construction is expected to start at the beginning of 2014 and be complete in about a year.

Other residential developments slated to rise in the Strip District include Sampson Morris Group’s conversion of the 330,000-square-foot New Federal Cold Storage Building into 144 apartments, as well as Buncher Co.’s $450 million residential and office project.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “The Brix at 26” apartment complex in Pittsburgh’s South Side is now fully leased.

Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services, the company behind the project, has repurposed the historic building on East Carson Street into 87 market rate apartments, 91 parking spaces and more than 10,000 square feet of retail space.

Residences at the Brix complex, which opened in February, rent for an average of $2 per square foot, the highest rate in the market according to Jim Scalo, the company’s principal.

“We could’ve leased this building a lot sooner if we lowered our price,” he told the newspaper.

Photo credits: Joe Wojcik



Penguins-UPMC Sports Complex Breaks Ground in Cranberry

11 Oct 2013, 6:22 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Representatives from the Pittsburgh Penguins and UPMC recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the 180,000-square-foot UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township. The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the $79 million project will feature a new UPMC sports medicine clinic and a two-rink practice facility for the famous hockey team.

The complex is slated to rise on the northeast side of Route 228 and Interstate 79, on a 12-acre property owned by developer Gary Sippel. Construction is expected to begin next spring and completed by the summer of 2015.   

President and CEO Jeffrey Romoff, Executive Vice President Elizabeth Concordia and Vice President of Operations Albert Wright were among the UPMC officials who attended the October 2 ceremony, while Principal Mario Lemieux, CEO David Morehouse, GM Ray Shero, Coach Dan Bylsma and COO Travis Williams represented the Penguins. Other attendees included Gary Sippel, principal at Spectra Development; Jerry Andree, manager of Cranberry Township; and Bruce Mazonni, chairman of the Cranberry Township Board of Supervisors.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, connecting Mario Lemieux’s name to the new UPMC-Penguins sports medicine complex is invaluable for the health system giant.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about a name for the facility that would provide a level of distinction for what we believe is going to be a very special place. The Lemieux name is perfect as it epitomizes the excellence we hope to achieve in Cranberry,” Albert L. Wright Jr., vice president of operations at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside told the newspaper.

“It connects both the medical and hockey aspects of the new facility. And it’s a fitting tribute to a guy who has given so much back to the region,” added Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan.

Upon completion, the complex will be part of Sippel’s mixed-use Cranberry Springs project, which will also include retail, restaurant, hotel and office space.    

Photo credits: penguins.nhl.com



220-Unit Apartment Project Advances in Upper St. Clair

3 Oct 2013, 3:05 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

An upscale 220-unit multifamily development is slated to rise in the city’s Upper St. Clair suburb. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the project’s developer, a company affiliated with Bridgeville-based construction firm John Deklewa & Sons Inc., recently received final approval from the township’s municipality to move forward with the project.  

Spreading across 25 acres, the proposed “Torrente at Upper St. Clair” apartment community off Boyce Plaza Road will include one- and two- bedroom units in nine buildings, as well as a clubhouse, walking trails and a park area near Chartiers Creek. Boyce Mayview Park, Southwood Psychiatric Hospital and the former Mayview State Hospital will neighbor the new development, which is expected to break ground later this year and be complete in about two years.   

Scott Brilhart, director of community development for Upper St. Clair, told the newspaper that the municipality hadn’t approved an apartment development in this suburb for many years. Historically, the area has seen mostly single-family residential development.   

In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the August Wilson Center for African American Culture (pictured) in downtown Pittsburgh is facing foreclosure.

Dollar Bank has filed an action with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, seeking to have the property sold at sheriff sale. In its complaint, the bank claims the center is $7.06 million in default of its mortgage and is asking the judge to appoint Baker Young Corp. as receiver. The property is also in default of a $574,000 Urban Redevelopment Authority loan issued in 2012.

Open since 2009, the August Wilson Center offers multiple exhibition galleries, a 486-seat theater for performances in all genres, an education center for classes, lectures and hands-on learning, as well as dazzling spaces for community programs and events. A significant portion of the $40 million cost of the project was financed through public and private foundations.

Photo credits: www.perkinswill.com



Penguins Choose Residential Developer for Former Civic Arena Site

26 Sep 2013, 5:01 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team has selected St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar as the lead residential developer for the site of the former Civic Arena.

The company plans to build a minimum of 800 residential units over the next 8-10 years. The first phase of the project, which is expected to break ground in 2015, will bring between 200 and 300 units to the city’s Lower Hill district.

“It’s an exciting day because the much-anticipated redevelopment of the Civic Arena site will take another step toward becoming a reality,” David Morehouse, CEO and president of the Pittsburgh Penguins said in a news release. “McCormack Baron Salazar is the perfect partner, not only because of its reputation as a premier urban residential developer but also because of its wealth of experience and success in Pittsburgh and the region.”

McCormack’s other developments in the city include the Crawford Square, The Legacy and Bedford Hill Hope IV in the Hill District, as well as the Fairfield Apartments in East Liberty.

The Penguins have also announced they would work with the Hill District community over the next few months to identify and select a minority-owned firm to develop a minimum of 200 additional residential units on the publicly owned site.

Overall, the team’s master plan for the former Civic Arena site calls for a mixed-use project with 1,100 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail and 600,000 square feet of office space.  

The Penguins won the development rights for the 28-acre property in 2007, via an option agreement as part of their lease for CONSOL Energy Center. The demolition of the arena, nicknamed “The Igloo,” was completed last spring. Only about 20 acres are considered developable, while the remaining portion of the site will be used for infrastructure. Under the terms of the deal, the team has the obligation to purchase 10 percent of the developable land per year (approximately two acres) over a 10-year period, starting in October 2014.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons



Former Cold Storage Facility in Pittsburgh will be Converted to Apartments

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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Sampson Morris Group is moving forward with its plan to redevelop the New Federal Cold Storage building in the Strip District into apartments. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Monroeville-based developer recently briefed the city planning commission on its proposal, which calls for 144 apartments and 158 interior parking spaces.

Also known as the Wholey’s building, the massive 330,000-square-foot structure is located at 1501 Penn Avenue. Since purchasing the property in 2008, Sampson has considered various reuse options for the seven-story facility, including condominiums, industrial space, offices and a data center. However, the growing demand for apartments in the Strip District has convinced the developer to change its initial plans.

Construction on the Wholey Apartments community could begin in the spring, according to the project’s leading architect, Eric Booth, director of operations of Lawrenceville-based Desmone & Associates Architects. Most of the units will be two-bedrooms, offering about 1,200 square feet of space, while the rest of the apartments will be one-bedrooms of 800 to 900 square feet.

In other news, five new tenants have leased the remaining 6,800 square feet of retail space at the new Centre Heldman Plaza in the Hill District. Dollar Bank, Nationwide Insurance, Crazy Mocha Coffee, Subway and Cricket Communications will open next to the Shop ‘n Save in early 2014, according to an announcement made by the project’s development team, which includes the Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation. The Shop ‘n Save store is expected to open in October.

“We are excited about the opportunity these retailers offer the community,” Cheryl Hall-Russell, CEO and president of the Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, said in a press statement. “These companies have demonstrated a commitment to the Centre Avenue corridor and their presence can be a springboard for further development in the area. Additionally, these new companies complement existing businesses and broaden the offering of convenient services to the neighborhood. Just as essential is the addition of an ongoing source of employment for residents.”

Photo credits: www.loopnet.com



Seven Springs Owners Confirm Acquisition of Nearby Hidden Valley Resort

9 Sep 2013, 4:33 am







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The owners of Seven Springs Mountain Resort announced they have reached an agreement to purchase the Hidden Valley Resort from The Buncher Company. Terms of the transaction, effective October 1, have not been disclosed.

The approximately 1,200-acre property is located just 13 miles from Seven Springs and includes 29 ski slopes and trails, as well as an 18-hole golf course.  

According to CBS Pittsburgh, the Buncher Group purchased the Hidden Valley resort in 2007 for $12.4 million and invested several more millions to renovate the facility.

“We believe we have taken an underutilized and underperforming asset and have restored Hidden Valley’s reputation as one of the premier family resorts in the mid-Atlantic region through strategic improvements, such as the investment in the largest fully automated TechnoAlpin snowmaking installation of its type in the US,” Buncher President Tom Balestrieri said in a press statement.

“We have great respect for The Buncher Company. They have been good stewards of the resort since 2007,” added Bob Nutting, chairman of Seven Springs. “As we have demonstrated with all of our other operations in the region, we are committed to the long-term success of Hidden Valley as a family destination.”

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that a partnership between Columbus, Ohio-based Continental Real Estate Cos., the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates has recently celebrated the groundbreaking of a mixed-use development on the city’s North Shore.

Called North Shore Place I and II, the project encompasses two buildings totaling 80,000 square feet of office space and 40,000 square feet of retail. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2014.   

Photo credits: www.thefamilytravelfiles.com



Gardens at Market Square Mixed-Use Project Breaks Ground in Downtown Pittsburgh

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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Millcraft Investments recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for The Gardens at Market Square, a $100 million office, hotel and retail complex slated to rise on Forbes Avenue, between Market Square and Wood Street.  

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the new development will feature a 197-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel, as well as a 129,000-square-foot office building, 14,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a 330-car parking garage. Miami-based Arquitectonica is the designer of the project, which will include an 18- and 11-story structures.

Turner Construction, the builder of The Gardens, will lease about 20,000 square feet of office space at the new complex. Meanwhile, popular restaurant Burgatory, one of the project’s anchor retail tenants, will be joined by Roost 50 New American Kitchen, which is set to replace Jackson’s Social Bar and Restaurant. Roost 50 will offer local, organic and GMO-free dining options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Announcements for a few more restaurants are expected in the next months.

The Gardens at Market Square has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and should be complete by 2015. A $4 million Economic Growth Initiative grant from the Corbett administration, along with tax-increment financing support from the city, school district and county are among the project’s financial sources.

“The Gardens, in fact, will be one of the first privately owned multi-tenant high-rise office buildings built in downtown in decades,” said Lucas Piatt, president of Millcraft Investments, during his presentation. “And it will fill one of the last areas of blight in the newly renovated Market Square and complement what is happening at the Point Park University Academic Village.”

Gov. Tom Corbett, Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, along with other officials including state Sen. Wayne Fontana, City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, state Rep. Jake Wheatley and acting URA Executive Director Robert Rubinstein took part in Millcraft’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Photo credits: www.millcraftinv.com



SouthSide Works Apartments Coming as Restrictions End

25 Aug 2013, 6:28 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

In a couple of years, the SouthSide Works riverfront could welcome nearly 400 new apartments. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, three residential projects are about to break ground in this area of the city.

One of the new developments is slated to rise on a 2.5-acre parcel at Sidney and South 26th streets. Earlier this month, the development team comprised of the Soffer Organization and Village Green Development Holding LLC received approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to purchase the site for $425,000 per acre. The $50 million, six-story complex is expected to break ground next spring and bring more than 260 market-rate apartments. Plans also call for up to 12,000 square feet of retail space and a fifth URA parking garage.

The URA has also green lighted Ralph A. Falbo Inc.’s plan to convert a proposed townhouse development on South Water Street into a four-story market-rate apartment community featuring 56 one-bedroom units. The board has agreed to sell the site of the development for $237,300. Construction on the $10 million residential building is expected to begin before winter or in early spring and take up to a year to complete.

Meanwhile, Oxford Development Co. is proposing an eight-story, 173-unit apartment building at Sidney and Hot Metal streets (pictured). The $31.5 million development would include a gym and two levels of parking for vehicles and bicycles. The project is expected to break ground this fall and be completed by the spring of 2015.

Apartment development at the 123-acre SouthSide Works site along the Monongahela River had been restricted for a decade. Last year, the URA paid Nationwide Realty Investors $500,000 to be released from a 2002 agreement that prevented residential construction at the complex.

“We’re finding that when we lift restrictions on rental housing in places like the South Side, there’s a market demand as well,” URA board chairman Yarone Zober told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Photo credits: www.oxforddevelopment.com



Pittsburgh’s Liberty Center Complex Sells for $135M

12 Aug 2013, 4:39 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. and its partner, Jos. L. Muscarelle, Inc. have completed the sale of the iconic Liberty Center complex in downtown Pittsburgh’s “Golden Triangle.” A subsidiary of Starwood Capital Group of Greenwich, Conn. acquired the property for $135 million. The transaction generated net cash proceeds, at Forest City’s share, of approximately $30 million.

Liberty Center consists of the 27-story Federated Investors office tower and the 616-room Westin Convention Center Hotel. The property also includes a 25,000-square-foot retail shopping arcade, as well as 479 spaces of underground parking. Forest City and Jos. L. Muscarelle owned the complex in a 50/50 partnership.

“This transaction continues our strategic effort to exit non-core products and markets, and to use proceeds from dispositions to improve our balance sheet, and invest in our mature portfolio and entitled development opportunities,” David J. LaRue, Forest City president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “In addition, the Westin Convention Center was the last remaining hotel in our portfolio, so the sale also marks Forest City’s exit from that business.Our focus going forward continues to be apartment, retail, office and multi-use projects in our core markets.”   

The hotel will continue to operate as a Westin under its long-term management agreement with Starwood Hotels, which is not affiliated with Starwood Capital. Meanwhile, CBRE will manage the approximately 555,600 square feet office tower.

As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, Forest City’s seven dispositions since the beginning of fiscal 2013 have generated net cash proceeds of approximately $124 million. In fiscal 2012, the company completed 12 dispositions with total net cash proceeds of about $129 million.

Last week, Forest City also finalized the sale of the Higbee Building, an 815,000-square-foot historic property in downtown Cleveland. The buyer was an affiliate of Rock Ohio Caesars Cleveland, which operates the Horseshoe Cleveland casino in the building.

In Pittsburgh, Forest City recently closed on the sale of the 399-room Sheraton Station Square hotel. Station Square Pittsburgh Hotel LLC, a joint venture between Boston-based Pyramid Hotel Group and an affiliate of Glenmont Capital Management, LLC of New York, acquired the property for $61 million.

Photo credits: www.loopnet.com



Village Green Joins Soffer to Develop New Apartments in Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works

5 Aug 2013, 8:52 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Soffer Organization has partnered with Village Green Associates of Detroit to develop a new apartment building in Pittsburgh’s SouthSide Works. The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the structure would include between 215 and 262 one- and two-bedroom residences. If approved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the apartment complex designed by BKV Group would also feature an interior courtyard, a swimming pool, sauna, clubhouse and possibly a parking garage.

According to Tom Despres, CFO of the Soffer Organization, the Pittsburgh office of HFF Inc. introduced Village Green as a potential partner for his company’s project.

“We did a lot of research and saw that they had a unique apartment product which I don’t think you really see here in western Pennsylvania,” Despres told the newspaper. “We’re very pleased with the product that they want to put here.”

In Pittsburgh, Village Green is also planning the construction of a 215-unit apartment building at the corner of Baum Boulevard and Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. The company manages more than 40,000 apartments in 13 states. Its four distinct brands include Village Green, Village Park, City and Regents Park. 

In other news, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Anthony Dolan, president of Alphabet City, is planning to replace three retail buildings across the street from the Target department store in East Liberty with a new 60,000-square-foot office structure. The new six-story development would also include first-floor retail space. If approved, the project could welcome its first tenants by the spring of 2015.

Photo credits: www.southsideworks.com



Premier Riverfront Hotel in Pittsburgh Sells for $61M

25 Jul 2013, 4:01 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises has sold the 399-room Sheraton Station Square hotel in Pittsburgh. Station Square Pittsburgh Hotel LLC, a joint venture between Boston-based Pyramid Hotel Group and an affiliate of Glenmont Capital Management, LLC of New York, acquired the asset for $61 million. The Plasencia Group represented the seller in the transaction.

Forest City has also announced it will realize net cash proceeds of about $18.5 million from the sale of the riverfront property, which will continue to operate under the Sheraton flag.

The hotel is located within Forest City’s historic Station Square mixed-use retail and entertainment complex along the Monongahela River. Amenities include an indoor pool, a fitness center, and wireless high-speed internet access as well as more than 30,000 square feet of meeting space. According to the 2013 Pittsburgh Business Times Book of Lists, the property ranks as the seventh largest hotel in the city.

“We’re pleased to complete this transaction with an experienced owner/operator such as Pyramid and their joint venture partners,” said David J. LaRue, Forest City president and chief executive officer.”We continue to execute our strategy of exiting non-core products and markets, and using liquidity from dispositions to further improve our balance sheet, invest in our mature portfolio and activate entitled development opportunities in core markets.”

“Pittsburgh is a highly stable lodging market and the Sheraton Station Square offers an unmatched guest experience within the Station Square mixed-use development. The many planned renovations to the hotel promise to assist our dedicated staff in delivering a superior level of service for residents and leisure, corporate, and group travelers. We look forward to continuing the many partnerships that Forest City has fostered within the Pittsburgh community,” added Jim Dina, chief operating officer of Pyramid Hotel Group.

Photo credits: www.starwoodhotels.com



Buncher’s $400M Strip District Mixed-Use Development Moves Forward

18 Jul 2013, 2:27 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Buncher Co. is planning to proceed with its $400 million Riverfront Landing project regardless of whether it receives permission to demolish the western end of the landmark Produce Terminal Building in the Strip District.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the city’s Historic Review Commission has granted preliminary approval to the designation of the terminal as a historic structure. A final decision from the City Council is expected in September. If approved, the nomination would halt the developer’s plan to tear down about one third of the terminal.

Through the demolition, Buncher’s intention was to extend 17th Street to the Allegheny River and create a public plaza on the riverfront. The company has an option to acquire the Produce Terminal from the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority for $1.8 million.

“Whether there’s a Produce Terminal or not, there will be a road from 11th Street to 21st Street, and there will be developable parcels along the riverfront,” Buncher President and CEO Thomas J. Balestrieri told the newspaper. “When there’s an opportunity there, whether it’s an office building, or a residential building, or a hotel, or whatever the opportunity may be, we’ll move ahead with it.”

In the meantime, construction work on the $3.5 million road called Waterfront Place is under way.

Under the multi-phase Riverfront Landing master plan, Buncher is planning the development of up to 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. Construction is expected to span over 10 years.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons



PMC Property Group Plans to Repurpose Pittsburgh’s Clark Building into Apartments

12 Jul 2013, 1:44 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The upper floors of the 23-story Clark Building on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh could soon be converted into one- and two-bedroom apartments.  

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, PMC Property Group Inc. is planning to redevelop floors 12 to 23 into 144 apartments. The Philadelphia-based company is also proposing to repurpose floors five through 11 into 84 separate apartments, while another seven residences are planned for the building’s roof. The Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment is expected to review the redevelopment proposal in August.

Sean Beasley, an architect for Strada Architecture LLC, which is designing the project for PMC, told the newspaper that the retailers currently occupying the structure’s first four floors would remain at the property. The rest of the building has been vacant since its main office tenants moved out last year.

Earlier this year PMC acquired the foreclosed Clark Building at an online auction for approximately $7 million.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that commodity chemical maker Axiall Corp. has leased 23,000 square feet of office space at the 11 Stanwix office tower in downtown Pittsburgh. The company plans to move its Monroeville operations to the new location.

Axiall announced the move along with a new office lease at its headquarters in Atlanta.

“When we combined our corporate requirements with the feedback we received from employees during the site review process, the North Park and 11 Stanwix locations were the clear winners for our Atlanta and Pittsburgh offices,” James Worrell, vice president of corporate administration and communications said in a recent press statement.

The 11 Stanwix Street office tower is owned by GLL Real Estate Partners, a Munich-based company that acquired the property in 2011 for $66.6 million.

Photo credits: www.loopnet.com



WP Realty Acquires Parkway West Retail Center for $16.8M

3 Jul 2013, 7:38 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

WP Realty of Bryn Mawr, PA has acquired the Plaza at the Pointe, a 149,016-square-foot shopping center located in Pittsburgh’s Robinson Township. The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that US Bank sold the property for $16.8 million.

Built in 1998, the multi-tenant retail center is anchored by Bed, Bath & Beyond, Old Navy, La-Z-Boy, and Party City and includes a compelling mix of national and regional retailers among its tenants.

Latitude 40, a recently redeveloped 60,000-square-foot entertainment complex, is the property’s shadow anchor. Another 21,556-square-foot portion of anchor space is currently available for lease, WP Realty announced.

The Plaza at the Pointe’s previous owner was Costa Land Co. One of the company’s affiliates purchased the property in 1999 for more than $19 million.

In other news, Craig Cozza, principal of Cozza Enterprises, LLC is planning to build its fourth Pro Bikes store near North Park. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the development of the 12,000-square-foot facility entails an investment between $1 million and $1.5 million.

The project will include a lifestyle store that will cater to runners and walkers alike, as well as a farm-to-table restaurant and a frozen yogurt place.

Cozza has partnered with architect Fabo Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland to develop the new building. Construction is expected to begin in July and wrap up by the end of the year.

The company operates three other Pro Bikes stores, which are located in Squirrel Hill, Bethel Park and Monroeville.

Photo credits: www.costalandco.com



Chatham Lodging Trust to Acquire Pittsburgh Hyatt Place for $40M

12 Jun 2013, 9:10 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Chatham Lodging Trust has agreed to purchase the 178-room Hyatt Place Pittsburgh/North Shore near downtown Pittsburgh for $40 million. Scheduled for completion by June 17, the transaction is subject to customary closing requirements and conditions.

The property will be managed by Island Hospitality Management, which is 90 percent owned by Jeffrey H. Fisher, Chatham’s chairman, president and CEO.

Open since December 2010, the Pittsburgh Hyatt Place offers easy access to some of the city’s popular attractions including PNC Park, the Carnegie Science Center, the Andy Warhol Museum, the National Aviary and the Rivers Casino. The hotel is also proximate to Fortune 500 employers such as Alcoa, Del Monte Foods, PNC Financial, U.S. Steel and Heinz.

Chatham Lodging Trust of Palm Beach, Fla. is a real estate investment trust that focuses on investing in upscale extended-stay hotels and premium branded select-service properties. Nationwide, the company owns interests in 72 hotels acquired for approximately $1.5 billion.

In regional news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Gerome Manufacturing is building a 150,000-square-foot plant on more than 10 acres in the Fayette Business Park in Smithfield.

Expected to become fully operational by next spring, the new facility will enable the company to consolidate two nearby operations in Uniontown and Lemont Furnace into a single location. The approximately $9 million investment ranks among the region’s largest industrial projects this year.

“The new facility will house almost $2 million worth of new finishing equipment and plans for future purchases of new, cutting-edge equipment have already begun,” Joe Putila, president of Gerome, told the newspaper.

For the past several years, Gerome has collaborated with the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council to determine the best location for the development and obtain financing. Other partners in the project include the Washington County Industrial Development Authority, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and Washington Financial Bank.

Photo credits: pittsburghnorthshore.place.hyatt.com



Historic Koppers Building in Downtown Pittsburgh for Sale

5 Jun 2013, 8:40 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Koppers Building, one of the finest Art Deco office towers in the Pittsburgh region, has been listed for sale.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Gerry Dudley and Ryan Sciullo of the local office of CBRE are marketing the building, which offers more than 350,000 square feet of space.

Located at the corner of Grant Street and Seventh Avenue in the heart of the city’s downtown, the 34-story skyscraper has an occupancy rate of 69.4 percent. The building is anchored by construction materials company Koppers Inc., which has a long-term lease for the space. Other tenants include the Allegheny County Bar Association, Howard Hanna Commercial Real Estate Services, Bank of America, as well as law firm Horovitz, Rudoy & Rateman LLC.

Built in 1929 and designed by Chicago architecture firm Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, the high-rise is currently owned by Koppers Building Holdings Inc. of Radnor, PA. The company purchased the tower in 1997 for $13.2 million.

In other news, developer a.m. Rodriguez Associates is repurposing the former Prospect Middle School in Mount Washington into 67 market rate apartments. The company has partnered with Sota Construction Services to renovate the historic “Art Deco” property.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the developer has recently purchased the building from The Mount Washington Community Development Corporation.

Called The Lofts on Mount Washington, the approximately $14 million project will offer residential units in 16 styles, ranging in size from 800 to 2,000 square feet. Plans also call for a grand auditorium entrance, an 11,000 square foot fitness facility in one of the gyms, a theater that can be rented for productions, a rooftop deck, as well as a large landscaped courtyard. Construction is expected to be complete by May 2014.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons



First Hyatt House Hotel in Pittsburgh Now Open

31 May 2013, 6:52 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Oxford Development Company have recently celebrated the opening of the first Hyatt house hotel in Pittsburgh.

Known as Hyatt House Pittsburgh-South Side, the five-story, 120,000-square-foot property offers 136 residentially inspired studios, along with one- and two-bedroom kitchen suites, more than 1,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, guest laundry facilities, and a 6,000-square-foot outdoor patio with a fire pit and gas grills.

Located in the SouthSide Works district near some of the region’s top corporate headquarters, the hotel is expected to become an ideal spot for business and extended-stay corporate travelers.

“We are excited to bring Hyatt House to this vibrant neighborhood. Hyatt House is everything the name represents—a welcoming and warm environment that encourages guests to live like residents,” said Michael Rhoten, the hotel’s general manager.

Hyatt house Pittsburgh-South Side is the first Hyatt-branded hotel opened by Oxford Development Company in Western Pennsylvania. Concord, the property’s operator, currently manages 13 hotels in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that a local partnership called CDR Development LLC is planning the construction of a 335,000-square-foot office park near the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Known as Findlay Crossing, the project will be developed on a 30-acre parcel of land situated on Flaugherty Run and Clinton Roads near Dick’s Sporting Goods. The group is about to purchase the site from Atlanta-based Park ‘N Fly, an operator of airport parking lots.

CDR Development is comprised of Charlie Brown, an airport area parking entrepreneur; David Dietrich, a principal of an at-home senior health care services firm; and Sofranko, a restaurateur and consultant who has also developed real estate.

Pittsburgh’s Parkway West office submarket has seen a dramatic improvement in the last two years, the newspaper reports. According to Dan Adamski, a managing director in the local office of Jones Lang LaSalle, the timing for the partnership’s new office development is excellent.

Photo credits: http://www.oxforddevelopment.com



Gardens at Market Square Mixed-Use Development to Break Ground in July

24 May 2013, 7:34 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Millcraft Investments’ plan to develop a $95 million mixed-use complex on Forbes Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh has received its final approval from the city planning commission. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the project known as Gardens at Market Square is expected to break ground in July.

Plans call for 125,000 square feet of office space, a 197-room Hilton Garden Inn, about 25,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 335-space parking garage. Miami-based Arquitectonica is the designer of the entire complex, which comprises an 18- and 11-story structure.

In order to address concerns raised by the owners and occupants of two neighboring buildings, the developer has agreed to eliminate a garage entrance and exit on Fourth Avenue and build a small park instead. All vehicles will enter and exit the new complex at Forbes, which could become a two-way street in the near future.

Turner Construction Co. has replaced Dck Worldwide LLC as construction manager and equity partner for the project. The company will also lease between 20,000 to 25,000 square feet of space in the building. Popular restaurant Burgatory and Jackson’s Social Bar and Restaurant are also among the property’s tenants. Construction is expected to be complete by 2015.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Moonbeam Capital Investments LLC of Las Vegas has acquired the Century III Mall in West Mifflin from Texas-based C-III Asset Management.

The property spreads across 86 acres and offers approximately 1.21 million square feet of gross leasable retail space. According to the 2013 Pittsburgh Business Times Book of Lists, the center ranks among the region’s largest shopping malls. Sears, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and American Eagle are among the property’s tenants.

“We’re long-term investors not looking to flip the project at all but instead seeing how we can make it better and turn it around to be the shopping hub that it was,” Sandra O’Clock, vice president of special projects at Moonbeam Capital, told the newspaper.

Photo credits: www.millcraftinv.com



Sampson Morris to Redevelop Wholey’s Building into Apartments

15 May 2013, 6:41 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

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







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