5-story structure sought in Oakland on URA-owned site

By Sam Spatter

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 11:12 p.m.

The office market in Oakland, long one of the tightest in Western Pennsylvania, could soon get its third new office building.

Oxford Development Co. wants to buy 1.51 acres in the Pittsburgh Technology Center from Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority to build a five-story office building along Technology Drive. The approximate value of the site is $690,000, and the URA will decide whether to enter into exclusive negotiations with Oxford for 90 days.

The company will go before the URA board Thursday.

The Elmhurst Group’s 105,000-square-foot office building on Bayard and Ruskin streets is scheduled to open in March 2015. MWK Forbes LLC’s building at the former Allegheny County Health Department site on Forbes Avenue is scheduled to be demolished this summer. Construction would start by year’s end on an office building.

Two other groups will ask the URA board to approve requests to submit applications for state redevelopment grants.

Gateway Entertainment Studios LLC seeks $1.5 million for acquisition and renovation of a 300,000-square-foot former steel warehouse for 31st Street Studios, a $13.5 million project to support the film industry.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens seeks $1.5 million toward its $4 million project to build a 24,000-square-foot complex at its Oakland site.

A fourth developer will ask the URA to approve sending its project to the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County so it can obtain $250,000 in county Community Infrastructure and Tourism Funds.

The Pittsburgh Housing Development Corp., working with the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, wants to develop about 20 new housing units on the former St. John’s Hospital site between McClure Street and Fleming Avenue in Brighton Heights.

The URA will seek a $250,000 county grant to acquire Morningside School at 1802 Jancey St. from Pittsburgh Public Schools. Once it has ownership, URA intends to seek developers for the property.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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