Co-working company Beauty Shoppe joins Highline project on South Side

The developer behind a major overhaul of a historic former cargo warehouse on the South Side has landed a big new tenant.

By Mark Belko for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

November 14, 2017

The developer behind a major overhaul of a historic former cargo warehouse on the South Side has landed a big new tenant.

Beauty Shoppe, a Pittsburgh-based provider of co-working space, is expanding its reach in the region by taking more than 12,000 square feet in the former River Walk Corporate Centre off East Carson Street.

Developer McKnight Realty Partners is in the midst of a $110 million rehab to the property, which it has rechristened as the Highline.

With the signing of Beauty Shoppe and new or expanded commitments from existing tenants, the project is moving from “a concept to reality,” said Izzy Rudolph, McKnight’s vice president of development.

Beauty Shoppe’s design is expected to include meeting and reception areas and open and private work spaces. It also is planning a full-service coffee bar that will be open to the public.

Mr. Rudolph said the signing is a boost to the project, which was awarded $15 million in new markets tax credits in September. “They’re cool. They’re edgy. They’re local. They’re all the things we’re trying to sell as part of the project,” he said.

“These guys are good at creative office space. They recognize the need for creative office space in the market, especially on the South Side.”

Bolstering the Beauty Shoppe signing are new or expanded commitments by existing tenants, including Dollar Energy Fund, Venture Outdoors, Iams Consulting, Just Harvest, Junior League and Resource Environmental Services.

Matthew Ciccone, Beauty Shoppe CEO, said the space the company envisions will go beyond traditional co-working and include larger suites and conference rooms. It also is considering suites for artists.

Mr. Ciccone anticipates opening at the Highline in the spring. It will be the second-largest location in the region for Beauty Shoppe, which also has operations in East Liberty and in the East End near Bakery Square in a partnership with Ascender.

In addition, it is opening a location in New Kensington next month in collaboration with Penn State University and in Lawrenceville and Cleveland early next year.

Beauty Shoppe was drawn to the Highline by the architecture and McKnight’s vision for the property, Mr. Ciccone said. It also saw the location on the Monongahela riverfront as an extension of Downtown.

“We’re not so interested in leasing the upper floors of a skyscraper Downtown. We’re much more interested in finding interesting architectural opportunities,” he said.

The Beauty Shoppe space will be just off Terminal Way, a street that runs through the complex that McKnight intends to rip up and replace with a park featuring LED lighting, benches and other amenities.

That work will start once a 1,000-space parking garage is completed early next year. The park should be ready by the end of the second quarter, Mr. Rudolph said. Indovina Associates Architects is designing the public space.

Completed in 1906, the massive riverfront terminal at one time was considered the largest cargo warehouse between New York City and Chicago. It was built to accommodate street traffic, barges and trains, as many as five at one time.

It is now a 868,000-square-foot office complex. McKnight plans to convert the 60,000-square-foot vacant floors into creative office space, keeping historic elements like exposed brick and beams.

The Powerhouse, another warehouse near the river, eventually could become retail or office space.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

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