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Rugby Realty purchases Penn Center West One for $3.7M

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By Sam Spatter
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Rugby Realty Co. Inc., one of the region's largest property owners, has added to its holdings by acquiring a third building in the Penn Center West complex in Robinson.

Rugby Realty President Aaron Stauber said his company purchased the four-story Penn Center West One for $3.7 million. It owns buildings Six and Eight in the eight-building complex.

Rugby has plans to build another on a vacant site known as Lot Nine, Stauber said.

The purchase of Penn Center West One was handled by Quality Properties Asset Management Co. of Baltimore, a servicer selected by mortgage holder Bank of America, which foreclosed on the building last January and took over ownership.

The owner was RDS Land Co. Ltd., part of South Side-based Soffer Organization, which developed Penn Center West and still owns buildings Two, Three, Four and Five.

“As part of a $2 million renovation and upgrading of the building, we are currently installing a new HVAC system, redoing the exterior facade, and working with Chip Desmone of Desmone Associates on designing upgrades for the building,” Stauber said.

The building is 50 percent leased, but Stauber expects that to increase to 60 percent once he signs an unnamed national tenant. He expects three current tenants to renew and/or expand their leases.

Strayer University is a major tenant in the building, he said.

Gary Wilson and Matt Birgin, principals at Downtown commercial real estate brokerage Langholz Wilson Ellis, marketed the property for the past four months. Wilson said it was initially priced at $5.5 million.

Rugby, based in New York, has been one of the most active buyers of Pittsburgh area real estate since 1989.

Last year, it acquired Birmingham Tower in the South Side, and among its properties are the Gulf Tower and the Frick, Manor and Ewart buildings. It also owns a number of buildings in the 900 block of Penn Avenue: 914-22 Penn, 925 Penn, 930 Penn, 933-37 Penn and 938 Penn.

It owns a retail building at 817 Liberty Ave. and a retail/office building at 929 Liberty. In addition, it owns five small parking lots Downtown.

Outside the Downtown area, Rugby owns Four Allegheny Center in the North Side, 2100 and 2300 Smallman St. in the Strip District and the former Roomful Express warehouse at 2250 Rosewell Drive in the Chartiers Industrial Park, West End, where Internet clothing retailer ModCloth occupies about one-fourth of the 580,000-square-foot building.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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