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Florida investor buys 7 office buildings at Parkway Center, promises upgrades

An investor from Florida who now owns seven of the 11 office buildings at Parkway Center in Green Tree says he wants to bring new life to the “tired buildings” there and work with other owners to upgrade the entire complex.

“We plan to begin upgrades and improvements in July,” said Robbie Oppenheim, Pittsburgh-born president of Market Street Real Estate Partners, who on Wednesday acquired the buildings with partner JDI Realty of Chicago from PWC Pitt LLC, headed by Lee Baierl.

Oppenheim declined to reveal the purchase price for the seven buildings — numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. The buildings were listed for $49 million.

He believes all the building owners will profit by joining forces to improve the complex.

To increase the 71 percent occupancy rate, improvements he plans include a new landscape design, repaving parking areas, new lighting, walls, ceilings, restrooms and elevator cabs. Small windows will be replaced with larger glass windows in Building 10.

The only name change planned is for Building 7, which will be called “The Tower.”

The improvements will cost “several million dollars” and will be completed in a year, said Oppenheim, who grew up in Squirrel Hill and moved to Florida in 1998. His company will manage the buildings, with Colliers International/Pittsburgh handling leasing.

JDI Realty not only was the financial partner in the deal, but provided considerable real estate experience, he said.

“This is a wonderful location, which we have scouted since April 2013,” he said. He praised help provided by Green Tree officials and plans for improvements at the adjoining Parkway Center Mall by owner Kossman Development Co. The mall is located within the city of Pittsburgh.

The mall is mostly vacant. Kmart closed in January 2013, and a Giant Eagle remains on the lower level.

Steve Weisbrod, vice president for development at Kossman Development, owner of the mall, hotel and one of the office buildings, has said his company still is in the process of deciding the future of the mall.

Owners of other buildings that were not part of the acquisition are Elman Investors of New York, Building 3; Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh, Building 5; CBC Cos. of Columbus, Ohio, Building 8 and Kossman, Building 11.

Among the tenants at Parkway Center office buildings are Penn Mutual insurance, Aetna Insurance Co. and Bankers Life and Casualty Co.


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