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Walnut Capital fills 1 Bakery Square building, makes plans for 2nd | TribLIVE.com
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Walnut Capital fills 1 Bakery Square building, makes plans for 2nd

Tom Fontaine
ptrbakeryII02012015
Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Construction continues on a new apartment building, foreground, at the Bakery Square 2.0 complex in East Liberty on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015.

Office space being built in the Bakery Square 2.0 complex in the East End’s booming Penn Avenue corridor is almost fully leased, and developers are setting their sights on tenants for a second office building.

“Because we’re so close to Carnegie Mellon, Pitt and other local universities, we feel there is a lot of pent-up demand for companies who want to come to Pittsburgh to locate here,” said Gregg Perelman, managing partner of Shadyside’s Walnut Capital Partners.

O’Hara-based software maker Autodesk Inc. plans to lease about 15,000 square feet and employ 65 people in the six-story office building, scheduled to open this fall in Bakery Square 2.0. Internet search giant Google Inc. will anchor that building, leasing about one-third of the space.

“By moving to Bakery Square, we will be in closer proximity to both established and startup companies in this area,” Autodesk spokesman Noah Cole said.

Cole said the location will enable Autodesk to work more easily with CMU and Pitt researchers and tech developers, along with potential interns from the universities.

The brisk pace of securing tenants for the first building prompted Walnut Capital to start seeking tenants for the second one earlier than anticipated, Perelman said. The second building would be about the same size as the first, Perelman said.

“I suspect we will be breaking ground on another office building ahead of schedule to keep up with this unbelievable demand,” Perelman said.

Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff and chief development officer, said he isn’t surprised.

“Walnut is doing so well because the site is so close to the talent base that Google, Autodesk and others are looking for,” Acklin said.

Acklin pointed to transportation improvements in the area, including development of the East Liberty Transit Center near Penn Avenue with improved platforms and accessibility for transit riders using the Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway.

Perelman didn’t offer a timetable for construction to begin on the second building. He said the project would proceed once Walnut Capital secures some “firm commitments” from would-be tenants.

“We are ready to go from a construction standpoint,” Perelman said.

The office buildings will be adjacent to high-end Walnut Capital apartments. The firm opened a 175-unit building in June and began construction on a second, similarly sized building about two weeks ago, about a year sooner than originally planned. The second apartment building is scheduled to open in June 2016.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].

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