Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Trend Is Building Walnut Capital Targets Another Site in Oakland

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Trend Is Building Walnut Capital Targets Another Site in Oakland

Article excerpt

A Shadyside developer is gearing up to erect a new office building on Fifth Avenue in Oakland, hoping to capitalize on high demand in a key market close to the major universities and hospitals.

Walnut Capital is spending $2.1 million to buy a building from Allegheny County at 3342 Fifth that formerly housed the program center for female offenders but which now is vacant. County Council will vote on whether to approve the sale at its meeting Tuesday.

Todd Reidbord, Walnut Capital president, said the developer intends to use the site and two adjacent properties on Fifth it already owns to construct an eight- to 10-story office building.

Walnut Capital is considering traditional office space as well as wet lab space for the building, which is located close to the UPMC hospital system, including UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Presbyterian.

It's also across the street from Carlow University and blocks from the University of Pittsburgh campus.

The development hopes to capitalize on the proximity of the hospitals and universities; potential partnerships between the universities, hospitals and corporations; and the high demand for office space in Oakland.

According to the Newmark Knight Frank real estate firm, the vacancy rate for Class A, or the best, office space in the neighborhood is 2.4 percent - the lowest in the Pittsburgh market.

"There's really no Class A office space vacant," Mr. Reidbord said. "Every time a building is built, it's gobbled up right away. We think that trend is going to continue."

He noted that Walnut Capital also is a "big believer" in the type of innovation district spelled out in a recent Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution study that identified Oakland as a place for academic researchers to work closely with entrepreneurs - one that could create an even greater demand for space.

The purchase of the county building marks the developer's latest foray into the neighborhood. …

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