Developer transforming riverfront warehouse into $110 million retail, office complex

McKnight Realty Partners is planning to convert a historic South Shore warehouse into a $110 million office and retail complex with an elevated green space that will permit public access from East Carson Street to the Monongahela River.

By Bob Bauder for Tribune-Review

April 19, 2018

McKnight Realty Partners is planning to convert a historic South Shore warehouse into a $110 million office and retail complex with an elevated green space that will permit public access from East Carson Street to the Monongahela River.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and local dignitaries joined McKnight officials Thursday at the former Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse and Transfer Co. just upriver from Station Square for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Dubbed The Highline, the project will include 500,000 square feet of office and 100,000 square feet of retail space, plus a 500-foot landscaped elevated walkway. Steps lead to the river’s edge.

McKnight received $15 million in federal tax credits and a $2.5 million state grant to help fund the project.

“The history of the building combined with the waterfront element is really why we were interested in this project,” said Izzy Rudolph, McKnight’s president of development and acquisitions. “In a year from now where we are standing here is going to be, starting at Carson Street to the riverfront, all green space for not only just the tenants in the building, but also for the community.”

Rudolph estimated that the stores and offices in the building would employ at least 2,000 people. He said McKnight hopes to retain all of the building’s current tenants,

Wolf said the project is indicative of Pittsburgh’s transformation.

“This is a metaphor for really what’s happening throughout Pittsburgh,” the governor said. “This an old, and in many ways, was a tired area, but it’s transformed itself. Pittsburgh continues to revitalize itself in so many ways and this is one of the ways it does that.”

The building was designed by architect Charles Bickle as a state-of-the-art warehouse and was billed as the “most perfectly fire proofed buildings of their class in the United States, if not in the entire world” when it opened in 1906.

The National Park Service in 2013 listed it on the National Register of Historic Places.

Although it appears to be two buildings it’s actually one building with two towers rising four stories above a shared base.

McKnight is planning parking for 527 vehicles on the ground floor that once permitted train cars to enter for unloading. Forty elevators that still work carried goods to upper floors.

Rudolph said construction is expected to be complete by 2019.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.comor via Twitter @bobbauder.

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