Firm set to buy Cork Factory Lofts in the Strip District


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A Delaware County company appears to be close to a deal to buy one of Pittsburgh’s premier apartment complexes.

GMH Capital Partners of Newtown Square near Philadelphia has its eye on the Cork Factory Lofts in the Strip District.

The complex features the original 297-unit Cork Factory apartment building — a conversion of the former Armstrong Cork Factory — and the newer 96-unit Loft 24, which opened in 2012.

Since opening in 2007, the Cork Factory had been a hot seller in the Pittsburgh market, with very high occupancy rates. Loft 24 currently is filled, while the Cork Factory is 98 percent occupied.

Bruce Pilarczyk, GMH senior vice president of marketing, said he could neither confirm nor deny that the company was in the process of purchasing the complex.

The conversion of the former factory that produced cork for everything from life jackets to bottles of Heinz ketchup was the brainchild of a partnership that featured Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc. and local investors like Chuck Hammel, president of Pitt Ohio Express, and Robert Beynon of Beynon & Co.

Daniel McCaffery, chairman and CEO of McCaffery Interests, Mr. Hammel and Mr. Beynon could not be reached for comment.

GMH is not new to the Pittsburgh market.

The company started construction on a 376-unit luxury apartment complex in the 40-acre Southpointe Town Center in Washington County last fall. The four-story development, built on 8.1 acres of land, is expected to be completed in 2015.

One of the reasons the company chose Washington County to build a luxury apartment complex was the emergence of the Marcellus Shale industry in the region. GMH has sought to develop quality multifamily housing for the energy industry as part of its business portfolio.

While Mr. Pilarczyk would neither confirm nor deny GMH’s interest in the Cork Factory, he did say that the company has an interest in perhaps doing more in Pittsburgh.

“We’ll definitely look at opportunities” as they present themselves, he said.


Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

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