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Ambling University Development Plans Major Apartment Community in Pittsburgh

24 Jul 2014, 2:12 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

One of the largest new multifamily developments in Pittsburgh could soon rise between Fifth and Forbes avenues in Oakland.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Ambling University Development Group, LLC (AUDG) is planning the construction of a 389-unit apartment community at 3333 Forbes Ave., on the former Allegheny Health Department property.

The site is currently owned by MWK Forbes, LLC. The company’s previous plans for the land called for the construction of apartments, offices and a lodging facility. MWK Forbes now intends to sell the property for the apartment component and develop only the hotel, which entails an investment of about $20 million.

AUDG’s project, which will require two special exceptions due to the height and floor-area limits, could cost between $70 million and $100 million to develop. The city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment is expected to review the proposal on July 31.

If approved, the new apartment complex, which will cater to young adults, could be complete in 2016.

Georgia Petropoulos, executive director of Oakland Business Improvement District, says the business membership of her organization welcomes the development.

“My business district is very supportive of that project. They’re waiting for it to be developed,” she told the newspaper. “It’s going to be a pretty big development on that part of Forbes Avenue that we haven’t seen in decades.”

Based in Valdosta, Ga., Ambling University Development Group specializes in student housing projects. The company’s experience within the past decade includes 63 campus developments with over 35,000 beds.

According to the 2014 midyear report released by Integra Realty Resources, Pittsburgh’s multifamily market is quite strong.

In recent years, apartment vacancy rates have declined in the region, while rents have continued to grow.

A substantial amount of new construction now aims to absorb the area’s pent-up demand. In the city, there are 800 apartments under construction, while another 3,800 units are in the planning stages. In the suburbs, more than 2,000 units are currently being built, while another 2,000 are in the planning stages.

Photo credits: Wikipedia Commons



Michael Baker International, F.N.B. Corporation Establish Headquarters in Pittsburgh

16 Jul 2014, 6:34 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Engineering and consulting services firm Michael Baker International will be relocating its global corporate headquarters from Moon Township to downtown Pittsburgh by the end of this year.

The company has signed a ten-year lease to occupy 22,000 square feet of space on the top two floors of the iconic BNY Mellon Center at 500 Grant Street.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Dan Adamski, a managing director in the Pittsburgh office of Jones Lang LaSalle, represented Michael Baker International in its search for the new headquarters, which will host about 65 employees.

“They definitely wanted to be in trophy space downtown, giving that it will be a client-facing office,” Adamski told the newspaper.

Scheduled to occur in December, the move will accommodate the company’s growth, which has reached more than $1.3 billion in annual revenue and more than 5,000 employees working from over 90 offices across the world.

In Pittsburgh, Baker has been involved in hundreds of major development projects, including the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the Squirrel Tunnel or the infrastructure throughout the stadium and convention center areas.

“We take immense pride in our company’s involvement in Pittsburgh infrastructure growth over the last 75 years and we are excited to reaffirm our commitment to the area and city through this relocation,” Michael Baker International CEO, Kurt Bergman, said in a news release.

The company also plans to maintain its Moon Township production office, which currently hosts 350 employees.

In other news, F.N.B. Corporation, parent company of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, has formally named Pittsburgh as its corporate headquarters.

According to the company’s announcement, customers and employees will not be impacted by the selection of the new headquarters, a regional office the bank opened on the North Shore in 2004. F.N.B. will maintain its operations center and support areas in the Hermitage campus, which has benefited from a $15 million investment in recent years, while the bank’s charter will remain in Greenville, Mercer County, where it was established 150 years ago.

“Naming Pittsburgh as F.N.B. Corporation’s official headquarters is a logical progression in our evolution as a regional financial services organization,” stated Vincent J. Delie, Jr., president and CEO of F.N.B. Corporation. “Pittsburgh currently serves as the headquarters for our Wealth and Insurance lines of business, and its close proximity to Hermitage permits us to recruit effectively for both locations. This broadens our pool of potential employees, allowing us to choose from among the top financial professionals in the country to support our continued expansion.”

Photo credits: Derek Jensen via Wikipedia Commons



Mosites Selects Morgan Management to Operate Upcoming Apartments on Pittsburgh’s Eastside; Larimer Lands $30M HUD Grant for Housing Redevelopment

2 Jul 2014, 8:14 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Mosites Co. has formed a joint venture partnership with Morgan Management for the operation of its three apartment buildings currently under construction at the East Liberty Transportation Center, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.

Rising in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood, on a four-acre parcel that spreads from Highland Avenue to Penn Avenue, the Eastside III mixed-use project will bring a total of 360 apartments, 40,000 square feet of retail, more than 500 parking spaces and an improved bus line station. The first apartment building is scheduled to open next year, while the remaining two will be completed at a later date.

Steve Mosites, principal of The Mosites Co., told the newspaper that Morgan would manage the residential component of the development, while Mosites would handle the leasing and management activities related to the other portions of the project.

Based in suburban Rochester, N.Y., Morgan owns and operates 14 apartment properties in western Pennsylvania.

Mosites’ other partners for the East Liberty Transportation Center include the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the city, county, state and federal government, general contractor P.J. Dick and Design Collective of Baltimore.

In other news, Pittsburgh is one of the four cities in the nation to receive a $30 million federal grant through the Choice Neighborhoods program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the city will use the funds to develop about 350 units of mixed-income housing and mixed-use development in Larimer.

The other cities that were awarded the HUD grant are Norwalk, Conn., Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

“HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative supports local visions for how to transform high-poverty, distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a press release. “By working together, with local and state partners we will show why neighborhoods should always be defined by their potential—not their problems. Together, we will work to ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code and expand opportunity for all.”

Photo credits: eltransitcentertod.com



PNC Financial Tops Off $400M Green Headquarters in Downtown Pittsburgh

26 Jun 2014, 2:03 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The new home of one of America’s oldest and strongest financial institutions is nearing completion. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. recently celebrated the topping off of its new global headquarters, The Tower at PNC Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.

The building is located on the Southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, the same Pittsburgh intersection where PNC has been headquartered for more than 150 years. Upon its opening in the fall of 2015, the new 33-story, 800,000-square foot tower will house approximately 2,200 employees.

Planned as the world’s greenest skyscraper, the project features a double glass facade and a solar chimney, which enhance energy efficiency by reducing cooling costs and allowing natural airflow to the building. Through the use of ground-breaking technology, the structure will ventilate naturally at least 42 percent of the year and consume 50 percent less energy than a typical office building. Moreover, floor-to-ceiling windows and narrow floor plates will allow daylight to illuminate 90 percent of all open workspaces, while a water recycling system will reduce annual water consumption by 77 percent.

The tower’s cutting-edge sustainability is in fact expected to exceed LEED Platinum certification and set the new standard for green building.

“The tower’s construction is a reflection of PNC’s commitment to Pittsburgh and a testament to our tremendous growth over the past decade,” Bill Demchak, PNC chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release. “The new headquarters will serve as a statement about the importance that we place on sustainability and innovation and on providing the best-possible environment for our employees.”

PNC’s partners in the project include local general contractor PJ Dick, Inc.; global design firm Gensler; U.K.-based engineering firm Buro Happold and green building consultant Paladino & Company of Seattle, among others.

PNC opened its first green building in 2000. At that time, the 650,000-square-foot PNC Firstside Center, on Pittsburgh’s First Avenue, was the largest LEED-certified building in the United States.

PNC now owns more newly constructed buildings LEED-certified by the USGBC than any other company in the country. It recently completed its latest green office building in Washington, D.C. LEED Platinum certified PNC Place at 800 17th Street is located just blocks from the White House and serves as PNC’s regional headquarters in the capital.

Photo credits: www1.pnc.com/pnctower



New Office Complex Going Up on Pittsburgh International Airport Property in Findlay

19 Jun 2014, 1:57 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Oxford Development Company is planning the construction of up to 100,000 square feet of speculative flex office space in Findlay Township.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Allegheny County Airport Authority has approved a 50-year lease for the site of the new development, a 16-acre parcel located at 1600 Industry Drive.

The project, which consists of a single, larger flex office building or two separate buildings, would bring Oxford’s first development in the Parkway West corridor, where demand for office space is high.

Shawn Fox, director of business development for Oxford, told the newspaper that the flex-style floor plan is especially popular in the area’s office market, since it enables tenants to spend less.

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin toward the end of the year and wrap up by next summer.

Under the lease, Oxford will pay $95,000 in the first year, an amount which is slated to increase over the course of the agreement.

In recent years, the airport corridor has seen a remarkable office development activity. Other projects in the area include a $12 million office building currently under construction at McClaren Road. Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services is the developer of the 60,256-square-foot facility, half of which is already committed.

Further, Continental Real Estate Companies and Chaska Property Advisors are developing a four-building office complex near the Cherrington business park. Two of the facilities have been completed and leased; one is currently being built, while construction on the fourth is scheduled to begin this fall.

Meanwhile, in Moon, DiCicco Development Inc. has completed the 130,000-square-foot Westpointe Corporate Center Four, more of half of which will be occupied by Calgon Carbon Corp.

“Our focus in the County has been on creating shovel-ready land to encourage development and growth, and attract new businesses, particularly on county-owned property,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a news release. “We have watched the airport corridor flourish and have seen businesses, both new and established, take advantage of the opportunities in our region. We’re thrilled to see this development by Oxford and look forward to their continued growth.”

Photo credits: www.oxforddevelopment.com



City Planning Commission Green Lights First Holiday Inn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh

12 Jun 2014, 12:59 am







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

In a 6-0 vote, the City Planning commission has approved the construction of the proposed eight-story, 99-key Holiday Inn hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Forza Group of Bridgeville is investing $9 million in the project, which would replace a two-story structure at 435 Fort Pitt Blvd. near the Fort Pitt Commons building.

Upon completion by next summer, the new hotel development will be the first Holiday Inn property in the city’s downtown area. The closest is a Holiday Inn Express and Suites on South 10th Street, on the South Side (pictured).

The commission’s approval, however, came amid objections from nearby residents and property owners concerned that the project would negatively impact the neighborhood and block their views of the Monongahela River.

The construction of the new boutique hotel has been in the planning stages since 2009. The Forza Group’s initial proposal called for a 12-story structure, the newspaper reports.

The company’s other hotel development projects in the city include a 110-room Hampton Inn on West Carson Street and a 123-room Home2 by Hilton, which is slated to rise on the South Side, at the corner of East Carson and Sarah streets.

In regional hospitality news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that GreatStay Hospitality Partners LLC, led by Matthew Shollar, has acquired four Holiday Inn properties in Western Pennsylvania.

Totaling more than 600 rooms, the portfolio consists of a 158-room hotel in Indiana, a 121-room hotel in Clarion, a 156-room hotel in Beaver Falls, and a 178-room hotel in Uniontown.

GreatStay Hospitality announced it plans to renovate the properties, which it considers core assets for the communities in which they operate.

“They have historically been the go-to destination for events and celebrations. We’re excited to rejuvenate the hotels, greatly improve the service and quality of each location and transform them into once again being the hospitality headquarters for the region,” Shollar said in a press statement.

Photo credits: www.ihg.com



GMH Capital Partners Acquires High-End Apartment Community in Pittsburgh; Parkway Center in Green Tree Sells for $39M

4 Jun 2014, 2:07 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

GMH Capital Partners of Newtown Square near Philadelphia has acquired the Cork Factory Lofts in the Strip District, one of Pittsburgh’s premier apartment communities.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Dan McCaffrey Interests of Chicago and Mt. Lebanon businessman Charles Hammel of Pitt-Ohio Express and partners sold the property for an undisclosed amount. The complex consists of the original 297-unit Cork Factory apartment building, which resulted from the conversion of the former Armstrong Cork Factory, the newly constructed 96-unit Loft 24, which was completed at the end of 2012, and a 427-space garage and retail building.   

Both residential buildings are almost completely occupied and attract “tenants of choice” who have the financial means to buy a house but prefer to live in a Class A apartment, according to Gary Holloway Jr., president of GMH Capital Partners. Plans now call for a series of property upgrades, including a larger fitness center and an outdoor kitchen area with grill.

Rents start at around $1,600 for the Cork Factory building, which opened in 2006, and at $1,400 for the Lot 24 units.

The company’s other projects in the Pittsburgh area include a 376-unit apartment community in Southpointe Town Center in Washington County. Built on 8.1 acres of land, the four-story building currently under construction is scheduled for completion in 2015.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that a joint venture between Coral Gables, Fla.-based Market Street Real Estate Partners and Chicago-based JDI Realty has acquired the seven office buildings at Parkway Center in Green Tree. In two separate transactions, the companies paid a total of $39.2 million for the properties, which offer a combined 620,000-square-foot of space.

The seller was an investment group led by the family trust of Bill Baierl. The new owners are planning to upgrade the buildings, which are currently 70 percent occupied.

Photo credits: www.thecorkfactory.com



Phipps Conservatory’s CSL Closer to Becoming City’s First Certified Net Zero Energy ‘Living Building’

28 May 2014, 4:05 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Emerging as one of the world’s greenest buildings, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, has recently garnered another landmark achievement, namely the Net Zero Energy Building Certification under the Living Building Challenge.

Administered by the International Living Future Institute since 2006, the program has stricter requirements than the LEED rating system, which focuses more on the idea of building green structures in a sustainable way. The Living Building Challenge, on the other hand, defines a closer measure of sustainability by also assessing the performance of the structure, which aims to achieve a net-zero impact on energy and water usage.

Regarded as the centerpiece of the $23 million Phase III of a multi-year expansion project underway at Phipps, CSL is an approximately 24,350-square-foot education, research and administration facility. Open since 2012, the project features a variety of green design features, including solar photovoltaics and solar hot water collectors, geothermal wells, a vertical axis wind turbine, passive cooling, heating and lighting methods, a lagoon, and a water distillation system, as well as rain gardens and constructed wetlands.

“The CSL was created to serve as a model for how we can work with nature to make our communities healthier, safer and more supportive of life,” says Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini. “With our Net Zero Energy Building Certification, we are excited to move closer to our goal of becoming a certified Living Building in 2014, showing the world just how inspiring and practical green can be.”  

Phipps’ CSL has already received two of the world’s highest green standards: the Four-Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) certification for landscapes, which was awarded in November 2013; and LEED® Platinum, which was awarded in September 2013.

In April, Engineering News-Record also recognized CSL as the 2014 Global Best Project Award in the green project category.

Phipps Conservatory’s other green building projects include the first LEED-certified visitor center in a public garden, the first-ever LEED-certified production greenhouses and a tropical forest conservatory that was celebrated as the most energy efficient structure of its kind when it opened in 2006.

Photo credits: phipps.conservatory.org



Village Green Breaks Ground on Major Apartment Development in Downtown Pittsburgh

22 May 2014, 3:50 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Village Green Cos. of Detroit recently celebrated the groundbreaking of Morrow Park City Apartments, one of the largest new residential rental buildings in the city’s East End.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the $35 million project will bring 213 luxury apartments on a 1.31-acre plot at the corner of Baum Boulevard and Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. Upon completion, the six-story building will also feature two levels of underground car and bike parking.

The Voelker family formerly owned the property, as well as an empty Goodwill store at the site, which is being demolished to make room for the new development.

Strip District-based Rycon Construction is in charge of building the approximately 209,000-square-foot complex, while HFF Inc. is arranging financing. The project is expected to be complete in about a year, with leasing starting in six months.  

Village Green is also planning to develop a 264-unit apartment building and a 563-space parking garage with 12,000 square feet of street level retail space at the SouthSide Works complex on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Nationwide, the company owns and/or manages more than 130 properties in 13 states, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis.

In related news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Rycon Construction could become the builder and anchor office tenant for Oxford Development Co.’s Three Crossings project in the Strip District.

Earlier this month, Oxford Development unveiled its expanded plans for the project at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s board meeting. Besides the originally proposed 299-unit apartment complex, revised plans also call for 250,000 square feet of office space, which brings the company’s total investment to $122 million.

Ranked as one of the region’s fastest growing companies, Rycon has begun to outgrow the 17,000-square-foot office space it owns in the Strip District. The company is currently in early negotiations with Oxford to build the Three Crossings project and lease about 25,000 square feet for its new office there.

“We just need more space,” John Sabatos, president of Rycon Construction Inc., told the newspaper. “We like the Strip District and we like to partner with Oxford.”

Photo credits: Village Green Cos.



Construction on Next Phase of Mosites Co.’s East Side Project Could Begin This Summer; Cenevo Signs Major Lease at RIDC Westmoreland

14 May 2014, 4:14 pm







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By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Local development company Mosites Co. is planning a summer construction start for Eastside III, a mixed-use, three-building complex in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the project would bring a total of 360 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail space on a four-acre site that extends from Highland to Penn Avenue. Plans also call for a public boulevard, rooftop gardens and energy-efficient appliances inside the residences.

The project is scheduled to receive a vote from the Pittsburgh Planning Commission in the next few weeks. If approved, construction on the first building, which would include 109 apartments, could begin in August and last for about a year.

The new development will be part of the new multi-modal East Liberty Transit Center, which is expected to serve nearly 1,000 daily bus trips. Upon completion, the project will also feature a parking structure for more than 500 vehicles.

The company’s other phases of the East Side master planned development brought major national tenants to the neighborhood, including Whole Foods and most recently, a Target store.

In other news, Cenveo Inc. has agreed to lease nearly 300,000 square feet of space at RIDC Westmoreland, the former 2.8 million-square-foot Sony plant in Mount Pleasant.  

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the transaction ranks as one of the region’s largest leases of commercial property this year.

Over the next three months, the Stamford, Conn.-based company will be relocating operations from a 450,000-square-foot facility near Scottdale in Fayette County to the new space in Westmoreland County.  

The Pittsburgh office of Colliers International represented Cenveo in the lease negotiations, the newspaper reports.

A leading global provider of print and related resources, Cenveo generated net sales of $1.8 billion last year. In August, the company announced the acquisition of its competitor National Envelope out of bankruptcy, which had been operating the Scottsdale facility.

Photo credits: mosites.net

 







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