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Faros Properties Acquires Controlling Interest in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Center Office Complex

5 Mar 2015, 3:25 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The 1.2-million-square-foot office and parking complex at Allegheny Center on the city’s North Side has a new owner.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New York City-based Faros Properties has recently acquired a controlling interest over the three-building complex and 2,700-space parking garage. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Within the next few weeks, the company will explore its options to identify the best possible use for the property, which it plans to improve.

Previously owned by California-based Allegheny Center Associates, the office complex is currently about 70 percent leased. Tenants include PNC Financial Services Group, which occupies more than 400,000 square feet, local tech firm Expedient and Bank of America, among others. The property dates back to 1965, when it opened as an enclosed mall, with retailers such as Woolworth, Sears and Zayres. By the mid-1990s, most of its stores had left, so it was then converted into office space.

The acquisition marks the first purchase of an office property for Faros in Pittsburgh. The company entered the city’s residential real estate market in November 2012, when it bought the 388-unit I.M. Pei-designed Washington Plaza apartment complex at 1420 Centre Avenue for about $48 million. Later, Faros paid nearly $45 million to acquire the approximately 800-unit Allegheny Center Apartments, perhaps Pittsburgh’s largest multifamily complex, which it renamed Park View. Also last November, the company purchased the 270-unit Carson Street Commons on the South Side. Overall, Faros’ investment in the acquisition and renovation of the three residential properties amounts to more than $175 million.

“We’re very fond of the Pittsburgh market. We like to invest in markets with a high concentration of intellectual capital, smart people and driven people,” Jeremy Leventhal, Faros’ managing partner, told the newspaper.

Photo credits: www.alleghenycenter.com

Major Multifamily Development Planned at Pittsburgh Technology Center in Oakland

23 Feb 2015, 4:06 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Walnut Capital, the developer of the Bakery Square projects in Larimer and Shadyside, is proposing the construction of 352 market-rate apartments within the Pittsburgh Technology Center along Second Avenue in the city’s Oakland neighborhood.

Called Technology Center Living, the project is the result of a request for proposals issued by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority for the development of a four-acre parcel within the office park. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the URA has recently entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the land to Walnut Capital for an appraised value of $1.415 million.

If approved, the new apartment community will also offer a variety of amenities, including integral parking for vehicles and bicycles, an outdoor swimming pool, sports courts and a sun deck.

Todd Reidbord, Walnut Capital president, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he got the idea of building apartments at the site during his morning jogs along the trails in the area. He also cited the attractiveness of the project’s location, close to Downtown, Oakland and the South Side.

The developer expects to complete the new development in two phases. Construction on the first of two six-story buildings should begin in December and be complete by June 2017.

The URA-owned Pittsburgh Technology Center is a suburban-style office park built on the site of the former Jones & Laughlin Hot Mill along the Monongahela riverfront. The project emerged as one of the first major riverfront brownfield redevelopments in the city; it covers about 48 acres of land where it hosts offices, along with research facilities and laboratories belonging to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

Photo credits: ridc.org

Millcraft Investments JV Plans Condos, Parking and Retail in Downtown Pittsburgh

15 Feb 2015, 7:12 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

350 Oliver Avenue Mixed-Use Development in Pittsburgh – Phase 1

In a joint venture with McKnight Realty Partners, Millcraft Investments is proposing the construction of a mixed-use residential complex at the site of the former Saks Fifth Avenue department store in downtown Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the new development would bring an L-shaped structure with 77 condos above a seven-story, 590-space parking garage with street-level commercial space. Plans also call for an outdoor courtyard, swimming pool and fitness center.

Designed by Indovina Associates Architects, the new tower proposed for the western corner of Mellon Square Park will replace the now empty Saks Fifth Avenue building that fronts Smithfield Street and also include two adjoining properties. The overall cost of the project known as 350 Oliver Avenue is estimated to range between $60 million and $70 million.

A vote concerning the initial development of the parking facility is expected from the Pittsburgh Planning Commission in the next few weeks. If approved, construction on the first phase of the project could begin in April, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

As for the residential component, called Lumiere, which is French for light, the developers have a back-up plan to switch to apartments in case pre-sales of the condo units don’t generate sufficient financing. Prices are expected to start from under $300,000 and reach an average of $400,000.

Other notable buildings around Mellon Square include the Henry W. Oliver Building, owned by McKnight, and Piatt Place, owned by Millcraft.

“The goal of the project is to integrate the architecture into a group of fantastic buildings around Mellon Square,” Ryan Indovina, the architect for the project, told the city’s Planning Commission during a recent briefing.

Photo credits: Millcraft Investments

Village Green Begins Construction on New Apartment Asset in Pittsburgh

5 Feb 2015, 12:40 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Village Green recently broke ground on a six-story, 264-unit luxury apartment and retail complex at SouthSide Works in Pittsburgh. The new development, called Southside Works City Apartments, will be rising at the corner of Sidney and 26th streets, on a 2.45-acre parcel owned by the Soffer Organization.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the first units will be ready by early 2016. Plans also call for 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and a 562-space parking garage. Upon completion, the development will feature a mix of nano, studio, convertible, one- and two-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Amenities will include an indoor/outdoor pool, a Zen garden and courtyard, a 24-hour fitness center, business center, conference room, concierge services, boutique hotel style lobby and an onsite restaurant/specialty market. The nano apartments are part of the developer’s strategy to offer new graduates an affordable housing option. These units, about 10 percent of the total, will measure 400 square feet in size and rent for approximately $1,000 a month.

Southside Works City Apartments is the third residential project under way in the SouthSide Works area, next to Oxford Development’s 173-unit Hot Metal Flats and Ralph Falbo’s 56 one-bedroom units on South Water Street.

The upcoming complex also marks Village Green’s second multi-family project in Pittsburgh. The company is currently developing the 213-unit Morrow Park City Apartments at Liberty Avenue and Baum Boulevard in Bloomfield.

According to Village Green CEO Jonathan Holtzman, the developer is planning to be in Pittsburgh for the long haul. “We do not build to sell. We do not build to convert to condominiums. We are going to own and operate this apartment community long-term,” he told the newspaper.

Photo credits: Village Green

Walnut Capital Ready to Expand Office Component at Bakery Square 2.0

2 Feb 2015, 3:11 am

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

As the first office building currently under construction at the Bakery Square 2.0 mixed-use complex in Pittsburgh’s East End is almost completely leased, Walnut Capital is ready to embark on the project’s expansion.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the developer is planning to start construction on the second office facility as soon as it is able to secure “firm commitments” from would-be tenants. Given the fast leasing pace of the project’s initial phase, a 218,000-square foot, six-story office structure anchored by Google, the new building, which will be of similar size, could break ground sooner than anticipated.

“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,” Gregg Perelman, Walnut Capital Partners’ managing partner, told the newspaper.

The company also made a formal announcement that software firm Autodesk will relocate from its offices in O’Hara and occupy about 15,000 square feet in the first building, which is scheduled for completion this fall.

Bakery Square 2.0 is a multi-million dollar complex rising on the site of the former Reizenstein Middle School. Plans call for a total of approximately 425,000 square feet of LEED-certified office space, 52 for sale townhomes, as well as 350 rental apartments within two buildings. One of these, offering 175 units, opened in June, while another one of about the same size is expected to open in June 2016.

Walnut Capital also developed the first phase of Bakery Square, a $130 million mixed-use redevelopment of the 1900-era Nabisco bakery. The LEED platinum office building is fully leased to a mix of tenants including Google, UPMC, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo credits: Walnut Capital Partners

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