Business park to grow at former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport terminal

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A new building is in the works at the Airside Business Park in Moon.

Allegheny County Airport Authority board members voted Thursday to lease about 4.5 acres of land at the former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport terminal to Airside Business Park LP, a partnership between the Elmhurst Group and the Erect Fund.

The action clears the way for the partnership to begin work on a 45,000- to 50,000-square-foot building at the site. It will be the first new building at the former airport terminal in six years.

"We're excited about expanding Airside. It's been a great success for us and the airport authority. We built it out much faster than we anticipated in the beginning," said Bruce Longenecker, vice president of operations for Elmhurst.

Elmhurst and the Erect Fund started work at the former terminal at the turn of the century and completed the first five buildings -- three office and two with flexible space available for assembly, storage or other purposes -- in about seven years. They had anticipated it would take 10 to 15 years to do that. They own all of the buildings.

The new building will be one story and will be used mostly for offices, although there will be some flexible space. Mr. Longenecker said a tenant has yet to be signed.

With the lease for the land now approved, marketing can begin to secure a tenant. It's unlikely that the team will undertake the project on speculation, he said.

"A user may need something specific so we might not build it until we have a user," he said. "We want to be flexible to market demand."

The timing could be right. Demand in the Parkway West corridor has picked up over the last year or so, driven in part by the Marcellus Shale drilling boom in the region.

Overall office vacancy rates in the corridor have dropped from 18 percent at the end of 2011 to 14.3 percent at the end of last year.

Mr. Longenecker didn't think finding a tenant would be a problem. "The location and access are unparalleled," he said.

The airport authority will lease the land to Airside Business Park LP at varying rates, starting at 20 cents a square foot and increasing to about 28 cents, said Randy Forister, senior director of development.

With the latest deal, the office park is filled, at least in terms of building sites. Mr. Forister said there are still a couple of hangar spaces available.

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


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