Build­ing to be gate­way into tech hub

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Business - By Mark Belko

John Dek­lewa couldn’t help but mar­vel at the con­trast — a Strip Dis­trict site that once churned out horse­shoes now serv­ing as the gate­way into a tech hub that in­cludes the de­vel­op­ment of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.

“This is the new en­trance of Ro­bot­ics Row. Talk about trans­for­ma­tional,” mused Mr. Dek­lewa, CEO of RDC De­sign + Build.

His firm is hop­ing to cash in on that trans­for­ma­tion with the con­struc­tion of a four-story, 105,000-square-foot of­fice and re­search and de­vel­op­ment build­ing at the cor­ner of 15th and Small­man streets.

Dubbed Dis­trict 15, the $23 mil­lion build­ing is specif­i­cally de­signed to cater to a tech crowd that seems to be grav­i­tat­ing more to the Strip.

It will fea­ture a first-floor high bay with 18-foot ceil­ings tai­lored for re­search and de­vel­op­ment, plus three floors of of­fice space. There also will be a fit­ness cen­ter, shower fa­cil­i­ties and bike stor­age on site as well as out­door pa­tio space, two pub­lic plazas and a fourth-floor ter­race.

Bridgeville-based RDC and its part­ner, Oranges­tar Prop­er­ties of Min­eral Ridge, Ohio, near Youngstown, broke ground Wed­nes­day on the build­ing, which will be lo­cated a stone’s throw from the iconic pro­duce ter­mi­nal, which is slated for re­de­vel­op­ment.

Con­fi­dent of the de­mand for space in the Strip, RDC and Oranges­tar are start­ing con­struc­tion with­out a ten­ant in hand.

“Ob­vi­ously, be­ing in the po­si­tion to break ground, we can’t be more ex­cited about not only the amount of ten­ants that have shown in­ter­est in this lo­ca­tion and our build­ing, but the type of ten­ants,” said ShawnFox, an RDC prin­ci­pal.

Among those that have ex­pressed in­ter­est are ro­bot­ics and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence com­pa­nies, as well sub­ur­ban and out-oftown firms look­ing to move into the city, Mr. Fox said. “I think it’s a com­bi­na­tion of the lo­ca­tion and the type of build­ing we’re of­fer­ing,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Dek­lewa, the site — in the 1800s — was used for the mass pro­duc­tion of horse­shoes and nails for horse­shoes.

It also is part of the ex­panse of prop­erty that writer James Par­ton sur­veyed from the Hill Dis­trict when he in­fa­mously de­scribed Pitts­burgh with its smoke-belch­ing fac­to­ries as “hell with the lid taken off,” said Bill Flana­gan, chief cor­po­rate re­la­tions of­fi­cer for the Al­legheny Con­fer­ence on Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment. “That’s lit­er­ally how far we’ve come,” he said.

Far­from those in­dus­trial roots, the Strip now is home to tech firms such as Ap­ple, Uber, Argo AI, and Robert BoschLLC.

Mr. Dek­lewa said the new de­vel­op­ment will honor the Strip’s past with an­tique brick and over­sized win­dows to re­sem­ble an old ware­house and its fu­ture witha cur­tain wall, glass ar­tic­u­la­tions and an­gles to rep­re­sent “new ideas and tech­nol­ogy.”

The new build­ing is be­ing erected on land owned by the Buncher Co. It is part of Buncher’s am­bi­tious $450 mil­lion River­front Land­ing de­vel­op­ment, which is to fea­ture more than 750 units of hous­ing, plus re­tail and of­fice space, on 37 acres of prime Al­legheny river­front now used mostly for park­ing.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to­take 10 months.

Dis­trict 15 will be Oranges­tar’s first build­ing in Pitts­burgh. The real estate man­age­ment and in­vest­ment com­pany also has prop­er­ties in Texas.

Artist ren­der­ing of the RDC Star LLC four-story of­fice build­ing known as Dis­trict Fif­teen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.