Real estate notes: Industrial market vacancy rate changes little in 2nd quarter
• The amount of vacancy in Pittsburgh's industrial market remained relatively unchanged in the second quarter of 2014, according to a report released recently by Colliers International. It said the vacancy was 7.4 percent compared to 7.3 percent at the end of the first quarter, although several major leases were obtained. They include Cenveo leasing 304,000 square feet in the former Sony plant at 1001 Technology Drive in Westmoreland County and Black & Veatch leasing 62,000 square feet of warehouse space at 102 Technology Drive. The area with the largest amount of space available is Washington County, which has 13.7 percent of its 12.56 million square feet available, followed by Westmoreland County with 11.9 percent of 28.15 million square feet. Armstrong County, with 1.7 percent of 1.9 million square feet vacant, has the lowest amount.
• Washington County commissioners have approved the purchase of two parcels of lands, containing about 75 acres, to expand the county airport runway and safety zone. The purchase, for $588,000 from the Kenneth Varner Sr. Estate, is based on an airport master plan approved in 2008, which has seen the county make other land purchases for the airport in the past, said William McGowen, executive director of the Washington County Redevelopment Authority. The property is located at the west end of the airport in South Franklin Township where the runway will be extended from 5,004 feet to 6,500 feet.
• GAI Consultants Inc. will be relocated into 20,428 square feet in Embassy Park, at 6000 Town Center Blvd., Southpointe II, on Jan. 1 from its current location in Southpointe I. The company signed a long-term lease and will triple its office space after managing director Dan Adamski and associate Alexa Jennings, both of JLL Pittsburgh, came up with an innovative engineering solution to end the company's unexpired lease.
• After two years of public meetings and planning sessions to determine its design, construction is set to begin on a new Frick Environmental Center at Frick Park in Pittsburgh's East End. Behind the work is the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The Center will be built in the footprint of the old center that burned down in 2002. It will have some changes such as a second floor and basement. About 2.5 acres at the perimeter of the 644-acre park is being cleared for the building, which will include indoor learning spaces, a public meeting/reception area, restrooms and offices. There will be an amphitheater built into the hillside behind the Center, along with gardens. A geothermal heating and cooling system will be used along with a system to capture rain water for irrigation and reuse. The Center will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platium standards.
• Esmark Center Realty LLC will seek the approval on Tuesday of the Edgeworth Zoning Hearing Board to construct a Starbucks drive-thru at 109 Ohio River Blvd. Also on the agenda is a request from the Edgeworth Club to build an accessory storage building at 511 East Drive. All requests will be heard at a public hearing starting at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building, 301 Beaver Road.
• Recent openings: The 82-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott opened on Tuesday at 1438 Brodhead Road, Monaca. It is owned and managed by the Forza Group of Carnegie. The hotel will offer complimentary hot breakfast, indoor swimming pool, exercise room, free Wi-Fi and fax and copy services. HomeGoods opens Sunday at 8 a.m. at McCandless Crossing in McCandless and will occupy 25,000 square feet. This is the third HomeGoods in the Pittsburgh market. Approximately 60 full- and part-time jobs will be included. Kalkreuth Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., headquartered in Wheeling, W.Va., has opened its Pittsburgh office at 4636 Campbell's Run Road, Robinson
• Announcement of Oakland joining Pittsburgh 2030 District will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum, Fifth Avenue, Oakland, by the Green Building Alliance. Considered the state's third largest commercial center — behind Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh — Oakland's entrance into the program to reduce energy and water consumption by 2030 marks Pittsburgh as the first community in the nation with two districts.
— Sam Spatter