Oxford Development to pursue office project in Findlay Township

Tim Schooley

Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times

The Allegheny County Airport Authority board Friday voted to approve a 50-year lease on 16 acres of land in Findlay Township to Oxford Development Co., on which the firm plans to build a new speculative flex office development.

Shawn Fox, director of business development for Oxford, said the company plans to begin construction toward the end of this year on a project that could include one or two buildings totaling 95,000 square feet.

He said Oxford has been seeing strong demand along the Parkway West from its leasing and property management staff who represent property along the corridor. Fox added Oxford has also been outbid to take on projects in the area in the past, giving the company further reason for confidence in the demand.

“We’ve been close to executing on a couple sites for quite some time and every time there’s been a tenant that has come in and outbid us,” he said.

The site is at 1600 Industry Drive is close to the former Dick’s Sporting Goods headquarters and a Thermo Fisher Scientific facility.

Fox said the project could be built as a build to suit and Oxford expects the flex-style space will continue to prove in demand in the airport corridor.

“Overall, in that marketplace, we’ve seen a very strong desire for this type of floor plan,” he said, noting how such buildings allow tenants to avoid common area maintenance costs on their rents. “Your usable equals your rentable.”

Oxford is leasing the airport authority property instead of buying it because of federal restrictions that prohibit the sale of such land.

Randy Forister, vice president of economic development for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said other developers were also eying the property.

“Oxford is the one that won out,” he said. “They really were the best fit for that site.”

Dennis Davin, director of economic development for Allegheny County, said the interest by developers in airport authority sites continues to grow, with speculative projects beginning to compete with one another.

“The airport sites are really in play right now more than ever,” said Davin. “We’ve had multiple developers looking at sites.”

The new Oxford project may be the first for the company in the Parkway West.

It also adds another project for a company aggressively pursuing others in the city. That includes a potential office tower downtown, an apartment building at the SouthSide Works as well as a mixed-use plan for offices and apartments in the Strip District.

Tim Schooley covers retail, real estate, construction, hospitality, arts and entertainment, and government. Contact him at tschooley@bizjournals.com or 412-208-3826.