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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.



Extended Stay Hotel Opens in Pittsburgh’s East End

12 Jun 2015, 7:19 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Hyatt House Pittsburgh-Bloomfield-ShadysideHyatt Hotels Corporation and Concord Hospitality Enterprises announced the opening of the newest extended stay hotel in Pittsburgh.

The Hyatt House Pittsburgh/Bloomfield/Shadyside is located in the city’s East End on the border of the historic and trendy Bloomfield and Shadyside neighborhoods.

The property is the first of its kind to open in this part of Pittsburgh, which is considered to be a medical and educational hub. It also marks Concord’s thirteenth owned and/or managed lodging facility in the city.

Hyatt House Pittsburgh/Bloomfield/Shadyside features a mix of 128 upscale den guestrooms, studio and one-bedroom Kitchen Suites. Amenities include free Wi-Fi access and remote printing, a 24-hour fitness room, a personalized perks program for guests with 30 plus consecutive nights and a pet-friendly policy.

There is also a significant amount of flexible, high-tech meeting space for business or social gatherings, including a 1,650-square-foot ballroom that ranks as one of the largest function rooms between Oakland and Monroeville.

The hotel is situated within two miles of seven of the largest medical centers in the metro, including UPMC Hospitals of Presbyterian, Shadyside, Children’s, Magee-Women’s, Montefiore, Hillman Cancer Center, and Alleghany Health Network’s 167-year old flagship West Penn Hospital. Two of the city’s largest universities – University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University – are also located in the property’s proximity, along with a multitude of culture and arts venues.

Adam Poirier, the property’s general manager, is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the hotel. He is joined by Chris Sorley, director of sales, who provides sales service and support to travelers and meeting planners frequenting the Pittsburgh area.

Photo credits: pittsburghbloomfield.house.hyatt.com



Oxford Expands Marketing for New Office High-Rise in Downtown Pittsburgh

12 Jun 2015, 7:17 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

350 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh

350 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh

Oxford Development appointed Colliers International to assist its own leasing team in recruiting tenants for its proposed 350 Fifth Ave. office tower in downtown Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the upcoming 29-story class A building will rise at the site of a former department store the developer owns at the corner of Smithfield Street and Fifth Avenue.

Oxford’s marketing team, led by Mike Daniels, an executive vice president of office leasing, is currently working with potential clients in the Pittsburgh market. Meanwhile, Colliers will focus on finding tenants from Northern California, Austin, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. The two firms have a good professional relationship, especially since two of the founding principals of Colliers in Pittsburgh, Paul Horan and Pat Sentner, formerly worked for Oxford.

“Obviously, Oxford is an incredible organization in many ways but the one thing they didn’t have on the brokerage side is the global platform,” Gregg Broujos, managing director and founding principal of the local office of Colliers, said. “Pittsburgh has so much momentum on so many fronts of the economy that there are firms from outside the city looking all the time. And we think there’s good chance we can help locate some tenants.”

Oxford aims to achieve a LEED Silver rating for the new tower, which has been designed for two signature tenants.

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

Photo credits: www.350fifthpittsburgh.com







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