Real estate notes: New ‘spec’ office building going up Downtown |

Real estate notes: New ‘spec’ office building going up Downtown

Steven Adams | Tribune-Review
The Burgatory dining room on Pittsburgh's North Shore during lunch, Friday, March 11, 2016.

• A 300,000-square-foot “spec” office building will be built along Fort Pitt Boulevard, Downtown, on the parking lot behind the One Smithfield office building by Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services. The building will offer Class A space and will have innovative green design and construction, including what the developer calls “abundant natural light.” On-site parking for 200 cars is planned. The building arrives at a time when Downtown is experiencing limited Class A space, with a 94.4 percent occupancy rate, according to the third-quarter Pittsburgh Office MarketView from Colliers International/Pittsburgh. Jim Scalo, Burns & Scalo president and CEO, several years ago sponsored a competition among architectural firms to design the 16-story high-rise office building for the site but delayed construction without a tenant.

• A commercial shopping center has been proposed for a 2-acre site in Marshall. Called Marshall Crossing, the development would be at Fowler Road and Northgate Drive. David Glickman, director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who is marketing the development, said a one-story 12,000-square-foot building is planned along with a 600-square-foot patio which could be part of a restaurant. There would be about 63 parking spaces. The township still has to approve the project, and no tenants have been signed.

• Two boutique hotels are set to open in 2015 in East Liberty, providing that section of Pittsburgh with about 200 guest rooms. According to PopCity Media, the Hotel Indigo, with 135 rooms, is accepting arrivals on or after Jan. 11, and the Ace Hotel is to open in the summer. Indigo, at 123 N. Highland Ave., will offer ergonomically designed desk chairs and spa-inspired showers. The 63-room Ace Hotel is in the former YMCA building at 120 S. Whitfield St. It includes a restaurant, ballrooms and gym. Matt Ciccone of Eddie LLC, a co-developer, said it would be only the eighth Ace Hotel in the world and will focus on food, drink and events. Other developers of the $24 million hotel are East End Development Partners and Thomas Bost of Bost Development.

• The Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh is accepting entries for the 2014 Housing Excellence Awards Program. Winners of new construction and remodeling projects will be announced Dec. 13 during BAMP’s Holiday Dinner Dance at the Wyndham Grand, Downtown. Entries are restricted to BAMP members and must be submitted by Friday along with a $150 entry fee. Information is available at

• Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan received the American Institute of Architects honor awards from the local and the state organizations. The plan was by evolveEA’s work in the city’s 10th Ward with awards in regional and urban design. It involved crafting a neighborhood identity and a series of principles guiding future development to achieve long-term livability goals.

• Pittsburgh’s tight Class A industrial market has led to an increase in build-to-suit projects in the region, according to Avison Young which is predicting the increase to continue into 2015. The vacancy rate for the industrial market was 8.3 percent at the end of the third quarter of 2014, and that has resulted in the rental rate for Class A space closing in to $6 per square foot, the company said. Among major leases signed this year was Trufoods leasing 155,000 square feet at 106 Gamma Drive in the RIDC Industrial Park, O’Hara.

• Renal Solutions has renewed its lease of 25,450 square feet at 770 Commonwealth Drive in the RIDC Thorn Hill Industrial Park in Cranberry. The company occupies the entire building. The landlord, Gigliotti Sierra & Associates, negotiated the deal.

• Preston Moore will be installed as president of the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh at the group’s Officers/Annual Awards Ceremony on Jan. 15. Reed Pirain will be president-elect, and Charlene Haislip will be secretary-treasurer. The event, to be held at a luncheon at Rivers Casino, will include awards for Realtor of the Year, Affiliate of the Year, Realtor Active in Politics, Lifetime Achievement, Distinguished Service, Community Service and the President’s Award.

• Sewickley-based Sierra North Associates reports Field & Stream, owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods, opened a 50,000-square-foot store in Sierra North Plaza in Altoona, joining Target in the center owned by Keith McGraw of Sierra Associates. A 13,500-square-foot Petco store will be built there in 2015.

• Among the major office-oriented facilities to open during the third quarter was the $100 million Wexford Health & Wellness Pavillion, a 174,000-square-foot complex that offers a variety of medical services including diagnostic imaging labs, oncology services, physical therapy rooms, a café, and covered parking. Also known as the Wexford Medical Mall, it is located on Wallace Road Extension in Pine and is owned by Highmark Health.

• Doughboy Square Apartments, a 45-unit building at 3431 Butler St., Lawrenceville, recently opened. It is a 90,000-square-foot building with 16,000 square feet of retail space on the first level containing Senti Italian Restaurant, Pinot’s Palate and Paul Michael Jewelry, tenants obtained by Jared Imperatore of Grant Street Associates Inc., Cushman & Wakefield. The three- and four-story building is a development by Michael Polite and Ralph Falbo of Ralph A. Falbo Inc., architect Chip Desmone, principal of Desmone & Associates; and Bob Mistick of Mistick Construction, the general contractor.

• Pittsburgh’s retail market remained basically unchanged at the end of the third quarter from the second as the vacancy rate declined to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent. The quoted rent rate increased to $12/27 per square foot per year, according to CoStar’s Third Quarter 2014 Market Report.

• Among the major office-oriented facilities to open during the third quarter was the $100 million Wexford Health & Wellness Pavillion, a 174,000-square-foot complex that offers a variety of medical services including diagnostic imaging labs, oncology services, physical therapy rooms, a café, and covered parking. Also known as the Wexford Medical Mall, it is located on Wallace Road Extension in Pine and is owned by Highmark Health.

• Sharpsburg will install 10 rain barrels at public spaces throughout the borough next spring, following receiving funds from Heinz Endownments Youth Philanthropy Program. The Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, which received the initial grant, will work with Volunteers of America, the borough and Allegheny River Towns Enterprise Zone. The Neighborhood Organization will work with children of Volunteers of America’s All of Us Care afterschool program on setting up the barrels.

• Starting Gate, which assists entrepreneurs, start-up and existing businesses to expand in Beaver and Lawrence counties, has received a $175,000 Discovered in Pa.-Developed in Pa. state grant. The funds will support the expansion of Proving Grounds Incubator, a 75,000-square-foot facility providing technology and light manufacturing space that will launch 10 or 12 new businesses and create about 25 jobs.

• The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority has approved filing an application with the state Budget Office for a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant for the West Penn Allegheny Health System. The funds would be used towards a $5 million project at Allegheny General Hospital to make a number of changes. These include a new and enclosed front entrance and EMS area, an expanded decontamination shower, two to three additional bed spaces for treatment of acute patient conditions, a three to four bed quick treatment space to meet the needs of the community, and modifications of existing spaces to meet the specialized needs of the growing geriatric population.

• The latest third quarter office market report, this one from Colliers International/Pittsburgh, said the local office market “continued its steady growth” and the vacancy rate of 8.4 percent remained unchanged. The vacancy rate Downtown was 9.6 percent and that Class A spaces continues to be in strong demand in the Central Business District where the vacancy rate is 6.84 percent. Oakland continues to be the strongest market with a vacancy rate of 2.4 percent. Suburban Class A space has a high vacancy rate of 9.1 percent with large vacancies in Cranberry, Monroeville and Parkway West markets.

• The redesign and updated furniture, plus additional seating in the lobby at Fairmont Pittsburgh is completed. The lobby incorporates contemporary furniture, glass and steel elements and locally secured items. Wood tables by Urban Tree were included along with a coffee table made of black walnut from a Butler County tree is near the fireplace. Every piece of furniture was replaced and the added seating accommodates Andys, the bar/lounge which is providing Jazz entertainment. Cost of the updated work was not disclosed.

• Sewickley-based Sierra North Assocciates reports Field & Stream, owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods, recently opened a 50,000-square-foot store in Sierra North Plaza in Altoona, joining Target in the center owned by Keith McGraw of Sierra Associates. A new Petco store with 13,500 square feet, will be built there in2015.

• A $2.6 million Economic Growth Initiative grant has been awarded by the state to the Sharon (Pa.) Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is involved in a $5.6 million training program, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. It consists of construction and establishment of a learning center focused on industry specific job training to unemployed and underemployed adults in the healthcare industry as well as cultural and learning opportunities for teenage youth in Sharon public schools.

• North Shore Place I and II, a development by Continental Real Estate Co. of Columbus, Ohio, with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers, is set to open this fall with Continenntal Office Environments entering a “Living Space” workplace. COE will occupy 13,803 square feet in the 120,000-square-foot complex which will contain Herman Miller features such as a studio environment focusing on interactive and collaborative spaces, with touch-screen and hands-on experience. COE will relocate about 25 employees from the Waterfront who will handle sales, design and customer service. There will be a 1,000-square-foot terrace overlooking the Allegheny River, with above ground floor retail space. Also moving into the building will be four restaurants, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Burgatory, North Park Lounge and Cabana Bar. Jeffrey Adams and Jason Stewart of JLL represented the landlord. COE, with 40 total associates, purchased Wright Contract Interiors in 2012 and has since doubled in size. Now called Wright Commercial Flooring, it opened a 36,000-square-foot office on Neville Island in 2014.

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