Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bakery Square Might Expand

The development group responsible for Bakery Square wants to acquire the former Reizenstein school building and replace it with a $119 million project called Bakery Square 2.0 that would include housing, retail and office space.  The proposal was included in the lone bid for the Reizenstein building, one of three city school buildings that are being offered for sale by Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Bakery Square 2.0 is a partnership that includes Walnut Capital and RCG Longview. It offered to buy the site for $5.4 million, demolish the school building and replace it with a $119 million development.

The proposal calls for replacing the "functionally obsolete building" with about 20 new single-family homes and more than 70 new rental townhouses -- in the rear of the site near existing housing -- as well as about 400,000 square feet of first-class office/retail space on Penn Avenue.

Reizenstein is on Penn Avenue, across the street from the new Bakery Square, which was a project of Walnut Capital and RCG Longview. Bakery Square is the home of Google, a Spring Hill Suites Hotel and other businesses. Bakery Square's early plans included a residential component that didn't work out.

Bakery Square 2.0 developers said they plan to improve street lights, sidewalks and bike paths along Penn Avenue.  The proposal included letters of support from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Carnegie Mellon University.

Bakery Square

Monday, October 17, 2011

Even Larimer Is Seeing New Development!

Community and Business Leaders (from left to right):  Scott Smith of
East End Brewing, Chris Koch of GTECH, Craig Marcus of
Marcus Studio, and Neil Stauffer of Penn's Corner Farm Alliance.

Lots of surprising developments in Larimer!  Equipment and supplies are being loaded into a warehouse in the 6500 block of Hamilton because Sweet Tammy's Baking Co. is moving in.  Just three months ago, GTECH Strategies moved into their new quarters next door and has already sublet space to Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, a Regional Sustainability Consulting firm.

Scott Smith had no idea when he finally found the right place to expand the East End Brewing Co. that he was getting in on a Larimer wave.  What seems like sudden synergy in Larimer is the payoff from years of tending one vacant lot after another. Nested against East Liberty and Shadyside, Larimer was ripe for a strategy in 2008 after residents, business owners and other advocates finished their neighborhood master plan.

Rob Stephany of the Urban Redevelopment Authority says they ahve been working for the last four to five years on a housing plan for Larimar which will help that neighborhood get a shot at a piece of the new economy that seems to be unfolding in Pittsburgh.  As proposed, it will bring 70-100 units of mixed-income rental to a chunk of land along East Liberty Boulevard to Larimer Avenue and then into the heart of Larimer Avenue to Meadow. There seems to be a market for young new people who aren't afraid of places like Larimer.

Nearby developments in East Liberty and infrastructure improvements, including the $7 million Penn Circle conversion, should have a domino effect in Larimer.

Furniture maker Craig Marcus moved his studio into a Hamilton Avenue warehouse seven years ago and purchased a second warehouse down the street in October. GTECH moved in as the first tenant in April.  GTECH, or Growth Through Energy and Community Health, had filled a large lot on Larimer Avenue with sunflowers to decontaminate the land several years ago. That land is now a community garden a block long. Across Larimer Avenue, another large vacant lot will become an expansion of the "Village Green" that the Larimer Consensus Group conceived during the planning process.

The mayor's office insists that "Larimer's day will come."  Maybe this is the official start.

Metro Pittsburgh Real Estate