Schneider Downs leases office space in One PPG Place
By Sam Spatter
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013, 9:54 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Schneider Downs, one of the nation's largest public acounting firms, is moving back to Downtown.
The firm will move its Pittsburgh employees from a historic building on Penn Avenue in the Strip District to space in One PPG Place on Nov. 1.
It will lease space on the 17th and 18th floors, enabling teams from five business units to work together more efficiently, said CEO Raymond E. Buehler Jr.
“All our units have grown equally and ... because of our continued yearly growth, there is a need for us to relocate into larger floor space,” Buehler said.
In 2000, the company had 200 employees. Today the number in Pittsburgh is 270.
Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax, wealth management and business advisory services to public and private companies and nonprofit organizations. It owns the six-story building it occupies at 1133 Penn Ave. and listed it for sale with CBRE Inc. Several potential buyers have viewed it and “now we can consider offers,” Buehler said.
Established in 1956 by James T. Schneider and Paul Downs, the company initially occupied space in the Investment Building, Downtown. It bought the Strip District building in 1985, the year that Schneider and Downs retired.
The building, built in the 1800s, was designated as historic by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. That allowed Schneider Downs to obtain historic tax credits for upgrading the building.
Four years later, under the leadership of Buehler and Kenneth A. Rowles, who since has retired, the firm opened an office in Columbus, Ohio. That office now employs 85, Buehler said.
The company's growth happened without a merger. It developed separate companies to handle corporate financing, wealth management and staffing services, he said.
Today, Schneider Downs is one of the 60 largest public accounting firms in the United States, as ranked by Public Account Report, Accounting Today and Inside Accounting, Buehler said. It is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in order to audit public companies, its website says.
The lease at PPG Place will bring occupancy of that building, owned by Highwoods Properties Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., to more than 90 percent, said Andy Wisniewski, Highwoods' Pittsburgh representative.
“We continue to be pleased with the strong leasing activity at PPG Place, having exceeded our 88-plus percent forecast for year-end 2012,” said Ed Fritsch, Highwoods CEO.
“We looked at a variety of buildings before selecting PPG Place, which provided in totality what we needed in an office,” Buehler said. Schneider Downs will join PPG Industries, H.J. Heinz Co.'s world headquarters, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young as tenants in One PPG Place.
Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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