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Major Multifamily Projects in Pittsburgh Receive $90M Financing through Huntington Bank

27 Aug 2014, 9:35 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

As part of a public-private neighborhood revitalization effort, two major mixed-use apartment developments in Pittsburgh have received a total of $90 million in loans through Huntington Bank’s commercial real estate division.

Slated to rise in the city’s East End and Southside, the new projects by Oxford Development Company and The Mosites Company will bring a combined 477 multifamily housing units.

The Mosites Company has received $70 million for Eastside III, the final phase of a 16-acre master-planned project that will connect the Shadyside and East Liberty neighborhoods.

Developed in a joint venture with Morgan Management, Eastside III will be built across six acres of land at Highland and Penn avenues. Plans call for three buildings totaling 360 apartments, 554 parking spaces and 43,000 square feet of retail.

The project is also benefiting from new market tax credits, public-private financial support through the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and additional funding through the first-ever use of the Commonwealth’s Transit Revitalization Investment District program.

“Our goal is to create a convenient place to live,” developer Steve Mosites said of the 24-hour neighborhood that will sit atop the Pittsburgh Busway and integrate with a new $52 million multi-modal East Liberty Transit Center. “Huntington understands our vision for building community in the larger sense. Their support continues to be a vital part of our success.”

Meanwhile, Oxford Development Company has received a $20 million construction loan for Hot Metal Flats in Pittsburgh’s South Side Works. The 117-unit, five-story apartment building will feature an integrated 96-stall parking garage and will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom rentals with views of the city, river and/or south-side slopes.

“We continue to see a tremendous amount of multifamily construction in Pittsburgh and in markets across our footprint as the economy improves and with increased desire by young professionals and empty-nesters to live, work and play in urban settings,” said Huntington Senior Vice President and Commercial Real Estate Regional Manager Dave Tetrick. “New developments and office-to-apartment conversions typically funded by multiple public and private sources are proving to be real wins for many cities.”

The residential occupancy rates across the downtown Pittsburgh region are currently above 95 percent. According to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, nearly 2 million square feet of office space in this part of the city were converted to mostly apartments or hotels, since 2011. Residential growth in the downtown area was of 40.9 percent between 2000 and 2010, and of 10.5 percent between 2010 and 2013.

Photo credits: Oxford Development Company

Officials Unveil Major Brownfield Redevelopment Project at Pittsburgh International Airport

22 Aug 2014, 4:20 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A public private partnership involving Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Airport Authority is planning the construction of an international trade center complex right next to Pittsburgh International Airport.

Slated to rise on a brownfield site of about 195 acres, the new Pittsburgh International Airport World Trade Center is envisioned to include over one million square feet of Class A office space, 90,000 square feet for research and development and a 400-room hotel with convention space. There will also be land available for up to six corporate hangars which will allow a corporate user to locate its headquarters building and its corporate hangar in the same business park.

The development is estimated to generate $250 million in private investment and lead to the creation of 7,000 direct and indirect jobs, and more than 1,200 construction jobs.

Gov. Tom Corbett officially unveiled the project on August 14, when he also announced a total of $7 million in state grants that would offset site remediation and infrastructure costs.

“Pennsylvania’s industries of the past have created opportunities for state and local leaders to work together to transform oft-neglected land into useable, productive centers of business, recreation and commerce,” said Gov. Corbett. “The Pittsburgh World Trade Center will be a beacon for travelers, businesses and workers alike and will serve as an economic engine for the region, generating new tax revenues and creating thousands of new jobs.”

Located off Interstate 376 at the western end of the runways, the site is part of an overall foreign trade zone around the airport that enables companies to benefit from favorable customs treatment.

A former coal mine and area used to dump municipal waste, the land is not generating any tax revenue to the state and local economy. Upon completion of the project, the coal mines and mine spoil will be removed, a new road will be installed, grading will be completed and a new pathway will be provided for the Montour Trail connection to the airport.

Photo credits: Pittsburgh International Airport

Oxford Development Plans 20-Story Office Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh

13 Aug 2014, 4:05 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Oxford Development Co. is planning the construction of a new office high-rise in downtown Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 20-story eco-friendly tower known as 350 Fifth will replace an existing vacant building the developer owns on the west side of Smithfield Street, between Forbes and Fifth avenues.

Oxford’s former plans for the site at 441 Smithfield called for either a $40 million renovation of the existing facility, or a new 33-story tower, for which the company was unable to secure an anchor tenant.

The new project will offer 521,000 square feet of space at an estimated cost of between $190 million and $200 million. Besides the office component, the building’s additional features will include street level retail and restaurant space, an 18-foot-high lobby and underground parking for more than 100 vehicles.

The floor utilization rate for the office space will be around 92 percent, higher than the average of 76 to 80 percent in other Class A buildings in the Pittsburgh market.

Tenants will be able to opt for open floor plans and utilize a raised floor system that has the capacity of storing data and telecommunications cables, along with heating and air conditioning components.

The timing for Oxford’s 350 Fifth project is right, since the Class A office vacancy rate in downtown Pittsburgh is less than 7 percent, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank research data shows.

Gerry McLaughlin, Newmark Grubb executive managing director, told the newspaper that the downtown Pittsburgh market is “as ripe as it’s ever been in the past 10 to 15 years” for new office construction.

Other office developments currently under construction in the same area of the city include the 33-story Tower at PNC Plaza that PNC Financial Services Group is building on Wood Street and the 18-story, $103 million Gardens at Market Square mixed-use complex Millcraft Investment is building on Forbes Avenue.

Photo credits: www.350fifthpittsburgh.com

A.M.O. Management’s Modular Apartments in Oakland Rise in Record Time

6 Aug 2014, 6:49 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

In just a few days, A.M.O. Management assembled a three-story modular building with six new apartments in Oakland.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the $2.125 million project replaces the company’s former apartment building on Zulema Street which was destroyed by a fire in March 2013.

The property is now ready to welcome tenants again.

Nate Morgan, owner of A.M.O., told the newspaper that the new apartments were difficult to pre-lease because would-be renters would not sign on for a project that was not up yet.

Through the use of the modular construction technique, the developer was able to build the individual apartments and components in a factory in Clarion, and then use a crane to assemble them on the foundation over the course of only three days.

The first unit landed softly to the delight and applause of the onlookers, the company’s blog reports.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” remarked Lindsay, who resides in Robinson and graduated from West Virginia University. “I always thought that building was from the ground up, not the opposite of that.”

Still rare in the region, modular development utilizes green building principles, such as a highly efficient construction process that leaves less waste and delivers energy efficient units, with drastically decreased electric bills.

Expected to appeal to young professionals, the new apartments also feature state-of-the-art keyless entry systems, 46-inch flat screen televisions, a video intercom system, brand new appliances and a fully monitored security system with cameras.

AMO Management’s experience with this type of construction includes 67 modular units at California University. The apartments have experienced almost no maintenance issues since they were built in 2010.

By February or March, AMO is also planning to begin construction on a modular $5.2 million apartment project in downtown Greensburg. Upon completion, the complex will offer 28 units with a total of 57 bedrooms. Rents are expected to range between $650 and $750 per bedroom.

Photo credits: AMO Management


Major Amazon Lease Deal Tightens Pittsburgh’s Industrial Market

30 Jul 2014, 6:21 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Seattle-based Internet giant Amazon.com is planning to expand its network of sortation centers with the opening of a new facility in Pittsburgh’s West End.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the e-commerce company has signed a long-term lease agreement to occupy more than 200,000 square feet of space in the former Roomful Express warehouse at 2250 Roswell Drive near Crafton.

“The Amazon building at 2250 Roswell Drive in Pittsburgh is part of a new Amazon network of sortation centers,” Nina Lindsey, a company spokeswoman, told the newspaper. “At sort centers, customer orders are sorted by final destination and consolidated onto trucks for faster delivery.”

Amazon will join established tenant ModCloth in the 550,000-plus-square-foot building, bringing it to full occupancy. Rugby Realty Co. Inc. of New Rochelle, N.Y. is the owner of the property, which it purchased in 2011 for nearly $7.4 million.

Both Amazon and Rugby Realty are now planning to invest millions to accommodate operations at the new sort center, which is expected to employ about 100 people.

Upon completion, the facility will serve the immediate area and nearby regions, enabling the delivery of items within 24 hours of purchase.

With the signing of the Crafton lease, Amazon has taken a significant portion of industrial space off the region’s limited market.

“We’re at a crossroads in so far as we don’t have an inventory of Class A industrial space,” Rick O’Brien, senior vice president for industrial and logistics in the Pittsburgh office of Jones Lang LaSalle, told the Pittsburgh Business Times. “The question is does the local development community believe that they’re missing an opportunity, and if so, will they begin to develop larger industrial speculative buildings?”

According to the 2014 mid-year report released by Integra Realty Resources, the vacancy rate for class A industrial space in the Pittsburgh region was about 4.5 percent, while flex industrial vacancy stood at about 8.5 percent.

Photo credits: Point2 Homes via Google Maps

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