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Oxford Needs Tenant Before Building A New Skyscraper

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

Jon Delano Jon Delano
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Could the city’s newest skyscraper replace this building across from Macy’s between Fifth & Forbes on Smithfield?

Well, maybe.

“Our preference would certainly be to do an iconic tower,” says Stephen Guy, CEO of Oxford Development.

Oxford, owner of the site, unveiled artist renderings of what that new 772,000 square foot building would look like, but wouldn’t commit to that $238 million development at this point.

“It would be a little disingenuous. The capital markets, the investor markets, you would not raise the capital to do this kind of a building.”

Guy says they have a less ambitious $40 million plan to remodel the seven-story building now known as 441 Smithfield.

“Clearly the renovation is an easier project to pull off.”

So what might lead Oxford Development to tear down this old building and construct a 33-story skyscraper? Well, how about an anchor tenant, somebody willing to pay the rent for years to come.

Setting this fall for a decision, Oxford is clear what it needs for a skyscraper.

“It’s about obtaining an anchor with high credit, a single anchor with high credit. The percentage of the building that that anchor would occupy is theoretically 40 to 60 percent,” says Guy.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wants Marcellus shale companies to come downtown.

“I think they want to have a Pittsburgh downtown presence on their letterhead and I think the fact that they are coming into this region and are here, I think it makes sense for them to locate right here in the heart of the region.”

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says either plan is an improvement.

“No matter which option you choose, they both look great to me.”

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