McKnight Realty Partners to develop former American Eagle Outfitters building in Warrendale

By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazett

The former headquarters and distribution center for American Eagle Outfitters is now in the hands of a Downtown developer.

McKnight Realty Partners closed on the purchase of the 440,000-square-foot building in Warrendale today with plans to market it for warehouse distribution. Terms were not disclosed.

“There is a tremendous need in the marketplace and this is a good opportunity for us to expand upon that,” said Izzy Rudolph, a McKnight principal.

McKnight purchased the property in the Thorn Hill Industrial Park from American Eagle. The teen clothing retailer used the building as its headquarters until 2007 when it moved to the SouthSide Works complex on the South Side.

The structure also served as American Eagle’s distribution center until last summer, when it was closed and the work moved to a 1-million-square-foot warehouse in the Humboldt Industrial Park near Hazelton in Luzerne County. The move cost the region more than 200 jobs.

Mr. Rudolph said the acquisition will supplement McKnight holdings in the Cranberry Woods office park in nearby Cranberry where it owns four buildings totaling about 400,000 square feet.

“This is a great opportunity in our own backyard,” he said.

Even before closing on the property, McKnight entertained “very strong interest” from potential tenants. The company is open to leasing the space to one or multiple users.

McKnight also owns the 350,000-square-foot former Thrift Drug distribution center in the RIDC Park in O’Hara. It decided to add to its collection because of the tight industrial market.

“It was a good opportunity to take a former corporate building and make it more tenant friendly,” Mr. Rudolph said.

Overall, McKnight owns about 6 million square feet of real estate, including office, industrial, residential and hotel properties. It is involved in the redevelopment of the former Saks Fifth Avenue property Downtown and recently converted the upper floors of the Oliver Building into an Embassy Suites Hotel.

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