STRIP DISTRICT (KDKA) — It’s now a parking lot across from a historic church and the Produce Terminal Building.
But all that nearby development has encouraged owner New Jersey-based Rugby Realty to undertake an $80 million project on the site.
“We just feel like we’re to the point now in the Strip District where the time is right to get this going,” Larry Walsh, chief operating officer of Rugby, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Officials from Rugby’s developer Al. Neyer introduced details of this project to members of the City Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve really evolved the design to something we think is ready for development and will really add life to this very, very important corner of 21st and Smallman,” Michael Goldstrom of Al. Neyer told the commissioners.
In place of Tom Ayoob Wholesale, Acme Banana, and Benkovitz Seafood will rise this new 420,000 square-foot office building called The Brickworks for a company that once made bricks on the site.
Everyone recognizes that St. Stanislaus Church is really the highlight, the key point of this corner in the Strip District.
So the developers have deliberately set back their building and kept it smaller than the height of the church, all in an effort to accentuate the church as well as the new building.
The Brickworks will feature some street-level retail shops but is mostly an office building — no residential.
“We just think there’s been a lot of residential that’s been built in the area, and now office is a better product there, and that’s just what we focused on,” said Walsh.
It’s mostly office, but one possible retailer that the Strip District seems to lack — a major drug store – may be interested because of the population explosion in the Strip.
“Pretty much all the national chains have come to us and asked to get involved in the retail portion of the project,” noted Walsh.
The building will also include a below-ground parking garage for 780 cars.
Phase one of the project should be completed by 2021.