Hello Nova Place, goodbye Allegheny Center.
On Thursday, New York developer Faros Properties announced a $100 million renovation to the sleepy office and parking campus on the Northside that will include improved offices, common areas, collaborative workspaces, restaurants, a fitness and conference center and a 3,000-car parking garage with bike storage.
The entire project is due to be completed in 18 to 24 months, says Jeremy Kronman of CBRE.
Technology and startup investor Innovation Works has already committed to a 9,000-square-foot space and is moving to a temporary space on the campus next month. They will be in their permanent location by the end of the year, says Kronman who is the leasing agent for the 1.2 million-square-foot office complex on 33 acres.
“We’ve had more tours through the property in the last 30 days than we have space,” he says.
To help with the transformation, Faros has hired three local architectural firms. Strada Architecture will work on the master plan while Desmone Architects and Perkins Eastman will focus on other attributes of the project, says Jeremy Leventhal, managing partner at Faros Properties.
“Ultimately it comes down to location and price. We are in an amazing location in what I would say is the cultural epicenter of Pittsburgh,” says Leventhal. “You’ve got the Children’s Museum, the Mattress Factory, PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Warhol Museum, the Aviary and Science Center. All of these are in walking distance; not to mention, you are a five-minute walk across the bridge to downtown and the Cultural District.”
Cost to lease space in Nova Place is $24 a square foot which is below the Pittsburgh Class A average of $27.50, says Kronman.
“The place for our new home will offer us the opportunity to enhance our entrepreneurial program with the ability to host educational and networking events, help reclaim the promise of this urban campus and connect to a neighborhood of passionate innovators who we hope will be enriched by the energy of our startups,” says Rich Lunak, president and CEO of Innovation Works.
Another well-known tech firm is due to ink a lease of a 9,000-square-foot space soon, says Kronman.
In March of 2013, Faros purchased the 810-unit Park View Apartments, formerly known as Allegheny Center Apartments, which is currently 100 percent full, says Leventhal.
“It’s certainly a great place for tenants of our property to live if they want to,” he says.
The developer also plans to partner with community groups on outreach efforts, including this fall’s Maker Faire Pittsburgh at the Children’s Museum.
“We’re helping the Children’s Museum in terms of lending them the ability to utilize some of our space and facilities and to effectively put on this great event,” says Leventhal.
“Not only are we applying what we see corporations demanding in Boston and New York, but we are going beyond that with our plans. We feel that the environment offered by Nova Place will have a true impact on Pittsburgh companies,” says Elliot Gould, partner at Faros Properties.