PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– A three-alarm fire at 1600 Smallman Street on Monday morning lit up the Strip District sky where extensive development is underway in that building and across the street in the Produce Terminal Building.
The owner sees a bright side.
“There are no injuries. There’s nobody, nobody that I know of, nobody’s hurt. Thank God,” Dan McCaffery of McCaffery Inc. told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.
“The firemen responded wonderfully.”
Still, the damaging blaze comes just as the Strip is on fire from a development standpoint.
“It’s the most active submarket in the city right now, by far,” noted Andrew Miller of CBRE, the city’s largest commercial realtor.
Office space in the Strip is expected to nearly double over the next three years.
“It’s proven to be a very attractive location to some notable tech clients,” added CBRE’s Geoffrey Ackerman.
Investigators called the cause of the 1600 Smallman fire suspicious, and firefighters on the watch for hot spots had to douse recurring flames during the day.
From the outside, it sure looks like a lot of damage, but one worker told KDKA that inside it wasn’t quite as bad as he expected.
The steel beams and the brick are still there and if they turn out to be structurally sound, construction should get back underway pretty quickly.
Construction experts were already on the scene to assess damage along with crews from Duquesne Light.
But McCaffery, who is also developing the Produce Terminal, admits an impact on Smallman.
“We’re in the midst of redoing the street, redoing the docks in front of the terminal, and very hopeful about redoing the appearance and the docks around 1600,” noted McCaffery.
“So when one or any part of that is going to be negatively affected, I’d be an optimistic liar to tell you that it doesn’t put a little bit of a downer on the rest of it.”
Can he get back on schedule?
“The Irish in me tells me I will.”
The 1600 Smallman building is scheduled to be completed by June of 2020 with the Produce Terminal done in August 2020.