PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Everywhere you turn in Pittsburgh, you see construction as the building boom continues into 2020.
“Twenty-twenty will be the single biggest year in Pittsburgh development in my lifetime,” said Herky Pollack, executive vice president of CBRE. “And going forward, I think we will see even more development on the horizon.”
Appearing on the KD/PG Sunday Edition, two local real estate experts predict the boom is growing.
One focal point is Oakland.
“We still think that is the tremendous growth energy in Pittsburgh,” said Todd Reidbord, president of Walnut Capital.
“With Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC — particularly in the AI, machine learning, and artificial intelligence — we see this great window of opportunity for companies that want to be in Pittsburgh,” added Reidbord.
That includes a new building planned for Fifth Avenue & Halket Street in Oakland.
Of course, work on the Produce Terminal and others in the Strip District continue, like Riverfront Park.
“What we are seeing are all the high-tech companies moving into the Strip District, and that’s causing tremendous growth,” said Pollock.
And don’t forget the Civic Arena site with the new FNB Tower and other key projects.
WATCH: KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports More On The Construction Boom
“The North Shore — the Steelers, Continental, and the Pirates just added another development. They have two more coming down the pike next two years,” Pollock said. “Station Square is being redeveloped. SouthSide Works is being redeveloped.”
It’s construction jobs for buildings that house new jobs, Reidbord and Pollock told KDKA’s Jon Delano and the Post-Gazette’s Jerry Micco.
“We’ve created 20,000 new office jobs each year for the last three years and hopefully on into the future,” Pollock said.
Delano: “Twenty thousand?”
Pollock: “Twenty thousand new office jobs in the urban core in the city of Pittsburgh.”
It’s not just office buildings.
Urban residential is hot, as the Lawrenceville boom is replicated in other parts of the city.
“We’ve seen this new flourish of urbanism where people want to come to suburban neighborhoods to the city with all the great amenities and the diversity we have within the city.
“It’s one of the things that Pittsburgh has that a lot of the other cities don’t have — these great neighborhoods, and we’ve seen a tremendous expansion, not only in the Strip but in the East End neighborhoods as well.
“It seems like that’s where people want to be,” Reidbord said.
But the 2020 building boom extends well beyond Pittsburgh.
Last month, ground was broken on the new $1.1 billion international airport, which attracts nearby new projects.
“You see with Amazon. You see with Uber with their test track. It just creates great opportunities, not only within the city but within the surrounding cities,” Reidbord said. “The multiplier effect of all these technological and medical-related jobs benefit the whole region.”
And, of course, the $6 billion Shell cracker plant is well underway with reports that Exxon Mobil may build a similar plant in Beaver County.
Closer to the city, watch for continued upgrades at area shopping malls.
“Simon [Properties] is going to spend $250 million renovating and redeveloping South Hills Village and Ross Park Mall,” Pollock said. “All the development that is going around Robinson Township right now. There isn’t a part of Pittsburgh that isn’t benefiting from the meteoric rise of Pittsburgh’s experience.”
And hospital chains are also expanding their regional facilities.
The key to growth is making this area attractive.
“A lot of the great things that we have invested in our infrastructure, in cleaning up our air, in our schools, we need to continue to do,” Reidbord said.
Another key is government help on roads and taxes.
“Without the development of a public-private partnership, we’re not going to see the kind of growth that we’ve seen over the last ten years,” Pollock said.
But right now, say the pros, this region continues to be hot.
“Pittsburgh’s brand has been transformed. We’re now a great place for development to occur,” said Pollock. “I get called daily and weekly from investors and institutional owners to come to Pittsburgh to develop.”