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HFF Facilitates Sale of Pennsylvania Office Park

30 Sep 2015, 12:14 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

HFFhas announced the sale of Park Place Corporate Center I and II, two Class A office buildings totaling 212,328 square feet located in suburban Pittsburgh.

Park Place Corporate Center I

Park Place Corporate Center I

USAA Real Estate sold the property to an affiliate of Pearson Partners for an undisclosed amount.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing director Mark Popovich. The brokerage firm also procured the buyer.

The buildings are located at 1000 and 2000 Commerce Drive along the Parkway West (I-376), about 10 miles from Pittsburgh’s central business district and five miles from the Pittsburgh International Airport. Both facilities are LEED Gold certified and were fully renovated in 2012, when two, 300-space parking garages were added.

Park Place Corporate Center is currently 95 percent leased to six tenants—Park Place II is completely occupied by Williams Field Services Group LLC, while Park Place I is a multi-tenant building.

Image via HFF

Upscale Hotel Project to Support Pittsburgh Athletic Association

6 Jul 2015, 1:29 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A new Hyatt Centric luxury hotel slated to rise in the heart of the city’s Oakland neighborhood could guarantee the survival of the iconic Pittsburgh Athletic Association, which dates back to 1908.

Proposed Hyatt Centric Hotel in OaklandAccording to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, North Carolina-based Concord Hospitality is planning the construction of a $30 million development on a 28,000-square-foot parking lot behind the Fifth Avenue club, across Bigelow Boulevard from the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum.

Concord Hospitality intends to lease the land from the Pittsburgh Athletic Association for 99 years. The agreement would bring a much-needed financial support to the organization, ensuring its long-term operation.

The 10-story, 168-key project is in fact the scaled-back version of Concord’s initial proposal, which called for the construction of an 11-story hotel with 190 rooms and an investment of $45 million. This plan was eventually redesigned in response to the community’s demands.

Meanwhile, the structure’s overall square footage has been reduced from 191,000 square feet to 173,000 square feet. PFVS Architecture of Atlanta is the project’s designer.

Pending further approvals, construction on Concord’s new hotel could begin next spring and wrap up in 18 to 20 months. Upon completion, the property will operate under the luxurious Hyatt Centric flag. Amenities will include a top-floor lobby and terrace with views of Oakland as well as restaurants, space for a coffee shop and meeting rooms.

Photo credits: PFVS Architecture

Former School Building in Lawrenceville Goes Residential

25 Jun 2015, 11:29 am

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A New York company specializing in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings has acquired the former Career Connections Charter School in the Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville business district, with plans to turn the 40,000-square-foot structure into an apartment building of between 12 and 16 units.

Career Connections Charter School - 4412 Butler St. - Pittsburgh

Career Connections Charter School – 4412 Butler St. – Pittsburgh

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Crow Hill Development purchased the property located at 4412 Butler St. from the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. The organization operated the school until 2014 .

Pete Licastro of Point Bridge Realty Advisors LLC represented Crow Hill in the transaction. The four-story redbrick building sold for a reported $762,000. This is slightly less than its $800,000 asking price from two years ago, when the property hit the market. The building, which dates back to 1912, was originally a YMCA designed by local architect Robert Trimble, who also designed the Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh.

Brooklyn-based Crow Hill Development is led by England native and former software developer Fabian Friedland, who has spent the last 20 years working in real estate development and investment. Friedland estimates that once approvals have been obtained, which may take about four months, the conversion could be complete in about 18 months.

Earlier in this year, Crow Hill acquired another Pittsburgh property, the fully leased 45,900-square-foot Stone Quarry Crossing on Camp Horne Road in Ohio Township. Don Cella’s Five Mile Development Group sold the office building for $7.85 million.


Image via Google Street View

City Green Lights Off-Campus Student Housing Project in Oakland

22 Jun 2015, 1:45 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Campus Advantage in PittsburghThe Pittsburgh Planning Commission approved the construction of a new purpose-built, living and learning Campus Advantage student housing complex in the city’s Oakland neighborhood. Construction is set to begin next February and be completed by the fall of 2017.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the new 13-story apartment building on Forbes Avenue will include 138 units and 295 beds at an all-in price of about $1,000 per resident. This amount will cover cable service and utilities in fully furnished apartments geared toward college students. There will also be one story of retail space and two levels of parking.

Designed by Desmone Architects, the approximately $25 million project is a first in Pittsburgh for the Texas-based national student housing company.

The building will be located at 3407 Forbes Avenue, in proximity of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon, and could serve students of both schools. Location however will not be the only benefit for residents living here.

Through the award-winning Students First program, Campus Advantage will seek to provide career and life skills preparation for students, as well as community volunteering opportunities, and webinars on topics such as preparing a resume and building a skill set.

As part of their lease, students here must agree to follow local and community laws and ordinances, including a policy forbidding the use of illegal drugs, and obtain parents’ signatures on an agreement promising to pay the rent and guaranteeing financial obligations for potential property damages.

Photo credits: Campus Advantage

Q&A with Geoff Murken and Dino Persichetti, VPs of New Skanska USA Location

15 Jun 2015, 3:31 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Geoffrey Murken Skanska USA Pittsburgh

Vice President of Operations Geoff Murken (Skanska USA, Pittsburgh)

Skanska USA, the American division of the world’s seventh-largest construction and development company, officially established a presence in Pittsburgh.

The Sweden-based company appointed two local natives and industry veterans, Geoff Murken and Dino Persichetti, to run the new office, which is located in the iconic 11 Stanwix building downtown. As Vice President of Operations, Murken will lead the firm’s infrastructure construction operations, while Vice President Dino Persichetti will oversee healthcare, higher education and life science projects. Both previously worked together at Dick Corporation and have known each other for more than 20 years.

Q: Why has Skanska chosen Pittsburgh for its expansion and what trends do you see in the market?

Pittsburgh is a city of great opportunity for Skanska, especially since we’ve already had success as a company in other areas of Pennsylvania and in Delaware. We really believe in the Pittsburgh market – Skanska is the first national contractor to move into the city in more than 20 years. No other full service contractor has the expertise, scale and financial strength that Skanska has, meaning we will be able to pursue a wide range of projects. Our resources allow us to self-finance and deliver public-private partnerships. We have a strong bonding capacity, and we can deliver both large and small projects across all market sectors.

Dino Persichetti, Skanska USA Pittsburgh

Vice President Dino Persichetti (Skanska USA, Pittsburgh)

Q: What are the company’s plans for the region?

We plan to pursue jobs in wide range of markets, including healthcare, life sciences, education, in the vertical building construction market, and power, industrial and infrastructure in the civil construction market. Some of our pursuits may include hospital renovations, medical research facilities, student housing at colleges and universities, offices and retail spaces. The Pittsburgh market is especially poised for large power projects and other energy-related and industrial work, which we look forward to working on. We’re excited that this will be a full-service office, which means we will be able to maximize on Skanska’s national resources to make an impact in the Pittsburgh area.

Q: What are your priorities and what challenges do you foresee?

Entering any new market can be a challenge, but we know the Pittsburgh market well and we’re looking forward to being a part of rebuilding the region for the future. Skanska brought us on to start this office since we have both worked in the Pittsburgh market for a long time and have a lot of experience in the region. Some of our priorities will include heavy downstream infrastructure, higher education and commercial projects. We are also closely following public-private partnership legislation in Pennsylvania and look forward to supporting these projects if and when they take hold in this market.

Q: Skanska has already completed several projects in eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley. Could you tell us more about that?

Skanska’s roots in Pennsylvania date back to 1913. We built the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion at The Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia, which now houses an expanded education center and gallery space. We recently completed a five-story, 425,000-square-foot, 192-bed expansion of the existing Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. In 2012 we completed the Indian River Inlet Bridge project in Sussex County, DE – a three-span cable-stayed bridge – featuring a pedestrian walkway and with the ability to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Skanska is also expanding Terminal A at Philadelphia International Airport and renovated the University of Delaware Harrington Residence Hall in Newark, DE.

Q: What are Skanska’s future expansion plans on a national and international level?

Skanska is always looking to address issues that shape the construction industry: How can we get to the next level in terms of safety and sustainability on our projects? How can we help bridge funding gaps our government is facing to develop new and renovate our nation’s old infrastructure? Ultimately Skanska aims to grow in ways that help build stronger communities, both nationally and internationally, while continuing to be even more of a leader in safety, ethics, sustainability and diversity and inclusion.

About Geoff Murken:

Vice President of Operations Geoff Murken brings more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry. He has extensive experience managing large capital projects in the power and industrial markets, as well as contacts and market expertise that will help us grow in this region. Prior to joining Skanska, Murken served as senior vice president in the energy and environmental division at Barton Malow Company. He worked on notable projects including Calpine’s Otay Mesa Energy Center in California and the City of Anaheim’s, Canyon Power Plant in Anaheim, Ca. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University where he studied mechanical engineering.

About Dino Persichetti:

Vice President Dino Persichetti brings more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, and is returning to Pittsburgh after serving as regional manager of the Walsh Group’s Washington, D.C. office. Persichetti worked on iconic local projects including PNC Park, PNC Operations Center and Pittsburgh Zoo. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University where he studied civil engineering.

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