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Skanska USA Opens Office in Pittsburgh

20 May 2015, 6:30 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey

Skanska USA, the American division of one of the world’s largest construction and development companies, officially announced it established a presence in Pittsburgh.

From its new office in the iconic 11 Stanwix building in the city’s downtown area, the company plans to pursue development opportunities in healthcare, life sciences, education, infrastructure, as well as power and industrial projects.

The company appointed two Pittsburgh natives and industry veterans, Geoff Murken and Dino Persichetti, to run the new office.

Murken will lead the company’s infrastructure construction operations in Pittsburgh while Dino Persichetti will oversee healthcare, higher education and life science projects. Both have previously worked together at Dick Corporation and have known each other for more than 20 years.

“Pittsburgh provides tremendous opportunity for us,” Skanska USA President & CEO Rich Cavallaro said in a prepared statement. “We not only have a solid track record in Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley but Geoff and Dino’s combined talents, backed by our global resources, will allow us to deliver projects of all sizes and scope that will benefit our clients and the city for years to come.”

So far, Skanska built several projects in eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley, including the new Indian River Bridge, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children Expansion, and University of Delaware Harrington Residence Hall in Delaware, as well as the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and a terminal expansion at the city’s International Airport.

Based in Sweden, Skanska AB has more than 57,000 employees across the globe and ranks as the world’s seventh-largest contractor, according to the 2014 list of industry trade publication Engineering News Record. Headquartered in the Empire State Building in New York, its U.S. division is has offices in 33 metro areas with more than 10,000 employees.

The company’s other notable projects include the new MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. (pictured) and the $500 million rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photo credits: www.usa.skanska.com

JLL Expands in Downtown Pittsburgh, Plans 100+ New Jobs

14 May 2015, 7:40 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

JLL signed a lease with Millcraft Investments to occupy three floors totaling 54,000 square feet of office space at the Tower Two-Sixty at The Gardens in downtown Pittsburgh.

Currently under construction, the 18-story Forbes Avenue high-rise is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. JLL is planning to relocate more than 350 employees to the new facility in 2016.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Chicago-based firm announced its expansion plans during the topping off ceremony for the upcoming 128,000-square-foot building, which will feature JLL’s name and logo. The company also intends to create 115 jobs in Pittsburgh over the next three years, especially in finance and accounting.

JLL’s current regional headquarters is located in the Citizens Bank Tower, which Bank of New York Mellon has been marketing for sale since January. The move to the new space will enable the firm to expand its operations in Western Pennsylvania, which has become increasingly appealing to its corporate clients.

“We’re in the business of helping companies figure out where they should be,” Dan Adamski, managing director of JLL in Pittsburgh, told the newspaper. “And Pittsburgh always ends up at or near the top of the list when other companies figure out where to locate, so it made sense for us. Also, it’s a very cost-effective city, from a real estate perspective.”

Designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, the eco-friendly Tower Two-Sixty will also offer 14,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, along with 330 parking spaces. The high-rise is part of Millcraft Investments’ $104 million mixed-use complex called The Gardens at Market Square. Besides the office and retail components, the project will include a 198-key Hilton Garden Inn hotel.

Photo credits: towertwosixty.wpengine.com

First Hyatt Place in Pennsylvania’s Washington County Celebrates Official Opening

7 May 2015, 6:39 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Hyatt Hotels Corp., FFC Capital Corp. and Crescent Hotels & Resorts have announced the opening of a new Hyatt Place hotel next to The Meadows Casino in Washington, PA.

Named Hyatt Place Pittsburgh South/Meadows Racetrack & Casino, the 155-key property provides direct access to the 24-hour casino via an enclosed pedestrian bridge. Amenities include hotel-wide complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center with indoor swimming pool, as well as 1,800 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting space. The hotel’s signature bar, Parlay Lounge, offers specialty drinks, local brews, an extensive menu, along with live music and eleven 55-inch TVs for watching sporting events. The venue also features an outdoor patio with three 65-inch TVs and fire pit.

Guests can also enjoy a variety of entertainment options available at the adjacent Meadows Racetrack and Casino. These include live harness racing 208 days of the year, a full simulcast schedule from premier tracks across the country, a 24-lane bowling alley suitable for all ages and live shows on weekends.

“With the convenience of having access to the 24-hour casino, as well the casual atmosphere and practical amenities offered by the Hyatt Place brand, we are confident that this hotel will be a refreshing new choice for business and leisure travelers visiting Washington County,” Gabriel Perez, the property’s general manager, said in a news release.

The hotel is the first Hyatt Place branded lodging facility in Washington County. It is located just six miles away from Southpointe Industrial Park, a community of some of the largest natural gas producers and energy corporations, and eight miles from both CONSOL Energy Park, a multipurpose baseball stadium, and Lindenwood Golf Course.

Last spring, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. paid $465 million to acquire the Meadows Racetrack and Casino from Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts, L.L.C.

Photo credits: pittsburghsouth.place.hyatt.com

Castlebrook Breaks Ground on New Apartment Complex in Uptown Pittsburgh

29 Apr 2015, 7:10 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A large-scale multifamily project will soon rise along Uptown’s Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Castlebrook Development Co. recently celebrated the groundbreaking of its $10 million Flats on Fifth complex, which will bring 74 market-rate apartments.

Described as the neighborhood’s largest residential project in decades, the upcoming seven-story building will replace an underused parking lot at 1655 Fifth Avenue. Upon completion in May 2016, the new development will offer 64 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom units, ranging in size from 700 to 1,200 square feet. Located in proximity to the city’s central business district, the new apartments are expected to cater to young professionals and graduate students, with monthly rents from $1,200 to $1,500, slightly less than what residents may find downtown.

Every new unit will offer laundry, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, carpeting in the bedroom, and hardwood in the main living area. Other amenities will include 54 on-site parking spaces, bicycle storage, a bicycle repair station, an exercise facility, as well as conference and community gathering space.

Flats on Fifth marks the first apartment project for Castlebrook in Pittsburgh. It was initially proposed in 2011, but zoning and other issues caused delays until this year. O’Hara-based Massaro Corp. is the building’s general contractor.

“This is big. This is the type of development of scale that makes a significant statement,” Jeanne McNutt, executive director of nonprofit community developer Uptown Partners, told the newspaper.

The population in Pittsburgh’s Uptown area has declined in recent decades, but seems to be coming around with the arrival of several housing projects, including the 65-unit Fifth Avenue School Lofts, the 43-unit Mackey Lofts, the 47-unit Uptown Lofts on Fifth Avenue and the 10-unit apartment development above the Blue Line Grille.

Photo credits: Castlebrook Development Co.

King Penguin to Acquire Second Office Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh

23 Apr 2015, 6:57 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

New York-based King Penguin Opportunity Fund reached an agreement with Union Real Estate Co. to acquire the 19-story Allegheny Building in downtown Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the transaction, for which a closing date has yet to be determined, will mark the company’s second real estate investment in the city’s downtown.

Now considered a Class C office property, the 150,000-square-foot office tower at 429 Forbes Ave. dates back to the early 20th century, when it was built as an expansion to the neighboring Frick Building.

Rich Beynon, president of downtown-based Beynon & Co., represented the property at a listing price of $7.8 million, or about $53 per square foot.

“We are pleased to have come to an agreeable purchase price,” Beynon told the newspaper when asked about the value of the transaction. He added that King Penguin is likely to maintain the building’s office use.

According to Mike Ligouri, a vice president who specializes in investment sales for Hanna Langholz Wilson Ellis, the property benefits from the apartment conversion trend underway in the city’s downtown.

“As multifamily takes over some of the B and C buildings, an asset like this becomes more stable because of less competition,” Ligouri said.

Just a few months ago, King Penguin entered the Pittsburgh real estate market with the purchase of the historic 25-story Lawyers Building at 428 Forbes Ave., just across the street from Allegheny Building. The 120,000-square-foot class C office property, also formerly owned by Union Real Estate, sold for approximately $4.5 million.

Both buildings have been designed by D.H. Burnham & Co., the Chicago firm led by renowned architect Daniel Burnham, who is known for his work on important buildings in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

Photo credits: www.loopnet.com

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