The Next Wave in the Strip District

Pittsburgh’s Strip District has seen a commercial real estate transformation that is nearly the equivalent of the changes in East Liberty. Once a wasteland of very profitable parking lots, the Strip has become a tech office hub. Thanks to two major master plan developments, Buncher’s Riverfront and Oxford’s 3 Crossings, more than one million square feet of office space and almost 2,000 units of new residential space will be occupied between the Convention Center and 31st Street Bridge. Other developers, including Jack Benoff, RDC/Orangestar, Chuck Hammel, and McCaffrey Investments, have also contributed major projects to the neighborhood.

Next week, Oxford Development is bringing an updated plan for 3 Crossings next phase to the planning commission. It includes 450,000 square feet of new offices (in addition to the 110,000 square foot Stacks under construction now), 300 apartment units, and a 606-space parking garage. Mascaro Cnostruction is the construction manager for the garage. Rycon Construction is CM for the remaining buildings. There will also be a presentation for 23rd & Railroad Apartments, a 220-unit apartment that Oxford is helping to develop on behalf of Steel Street Capital. That project, which Rycon is also building, will include 33 units of co-living apace. This is a relatively new concept to Pittsburgh, in which occupants share multi-bedroom apartments much like dormitories.

At least three other developers, including RDC/Orangestar and JMC Holdings, have proposed additional spec office buildings of between 150,000 square feet and 350,000 square feet.

Work is about to start on two other new condominium projects, both being built by Franjo Construction. Penn 23 is a $12 million, 21-unit condo being developed by Francois Bitz. Solara Ventures is developing a $17 Million, 50-unit condo three blocks further east at 26th and Smallman. Franjo is also expecting to get underway on the $50 million+ second phase of the Arsenal apartments near the 40th Street Bridge.

In other construction news, the Turner/Mosites Construction team was awarded the $100 million+ central utility plant at the University of Pittsburgh. PA Department of General Services has advertised the first major public project of the bidding season, the $21 million Greensburg DNA Lab, due Jan. 8. Massaro Construction Management Services was selected as CM for the $12 million Plum Town Center municipal complex. Franjo started construction on the first 20,000 square foot office building at the Rocks Multimodal Terminal being developed by Trinity Development in McKees Rocks.

An update on the construction news: Patriot Construction has started work on the $3.7 million buildout of Spaces, a 38,000 square foot Regus co-working office on the 2nd and 3rd floors of One Oxford Centre. Sota Construction is bidding the $5 million John Jay Center at Robert Morris University. Rycon Construction is building a new 6,200 square foot GetGo superstation in the Wexford Flats in McCandless. Walbridge is the construction manager for Elliott Company’s major new facility in Jeannette.

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