JV to Acquire Major Retail Portion of the Suburban Pittsburgh Waterfront

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor A joint-venture between BIG Shopping Centers USA of Los Angeles and Chicago-based M&J Wilkow Ltd. has acquired 765,000 square feet of space at the Waterfront retail development, the second largest shopping complex in the Pittsburgh area. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, county records indicate that the group of investors [...]

A joint-venture between BIG Shopping Centers USA of Los Angeles and Chicago-based M&J Wilkow Ltd. has acquired 765,000 square feet of space at the Waterfront retail development, the second largest shopping complex in the Pittsburgh area.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, county records indicate that the group of investors purchased the site from Developers Diversified Realty Corp. of Beachwood, Ohio, for more than $112 million. In 2007, the Cleveland-based company acquired the property for $160 million.

The Waterfront mixed-use development spreads across 265 acres of the former Homestead Works steel mill site along the Monongahela River and features a total of 1.4 million square feet. More than 80 percent of the tenants remained at the center since it first opened in 2001.

The acquisition marks the investment group’s first foray into Pennsylvania. Lowe’s Home Improvement, Target, Giant Eagle, Macy’s, Costco and several other independently owned parcels were not included in the sale. The new owners are now planning major upgrades for the property.

“The Waterfront was once a national showcase of Pittsburgh’s post-steel industry economic revival,” said Martin J. Sweeney, vice president of acquisitions for M&J Wilkow Ltd. “We plan to re-capture that spirit and bring this wonderful retail destination to a much higher level.”

In other news, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation plans to acquire two buildings in the city’s downtown area, with the intent to establish a women’s fashion district on Wood Street.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a subsidiary of the foundation has proposed to purchase the buildings at 420 and 422 Wood Street from the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority for $500,000. In 2009 and 2010, the URA acquired the properties for $220,000 and $280,000, respectively.

Plans call for the rehabilitation of the first floors, while the upper floors will be converted into apartments or offices. The foundation is also overseeing the restoration of the buildings’ facades, which is expected to cost approximately $618,000. Financing is provided through the Downtown Preservation Project, a program created to support the restoration of older buildings in the Golden Triangle.

Photo credits: Wikimedia Commons