Stadium Authority gives developer more time to sign tenants for North Shore project
The Pittsburgh Stadium Authority on Friday granted a three-month extension to a developer planning a $26 million office complex between PNC Park and Heinz Field on the North Shore.
Officials with Continental Real Estate of Columbus, Ohio, told the authority's board of directors they need more time to finalize a lease with a key office tenant before they commit to build North Shore Place I and II with three stories apiece, instead of two, as Continental originally proposed in March.
“The building is designed and teed up and ready to go. What we need is an anchor tenant,” said Barry Ford, president of development for Continental. The anchor tenant is needed to secure the financing necessary to build a larger building.
Strong demand for Class A office space prompted Continental to add a floor to its plans in October. The city's Planning Commission approved the design in November.
Ford said the office buildings will be finished in early 2014, as planned, but he can't guarantee they'll be three stories until a key potential tenant commits to leasing the extra space. He declined to identify the prospective tenant.
“Unfortunately, as everybody knows, in this day and age you don't build empty office buildings — they need to have tenants,” Ford told the board.
Two restaurant tenants committed to opening on the buildings' first floors.
They are Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grille and the North Park Deckhouse restaurant. The remaining office space does not have committed tenants and is being built primarily on a speculative basis, said Jason Stewart, an executive with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which is working with Continental.
Stewart said potential office tenants typically give themselves four to nine months to finalize a lease before moving into a new location. Once complete, North Shore Place I and II would be the first office buildings built on the North Shore since the nearby Del Monte Center, another Continental project, opened in 2006.
“(Building) density is incredibly important to us,” Michael Danovitz, a Stadium Authority board member, told Ford. “Three stories is our preferred building (design) there, so we hope you keep working toward a lease.”
The Stadium Authority, which controls the land between the stadiums, unanimously granted the extension of Continental's year-end deadline to close on the North Shore Drive property, which now is a parking lot.
Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.