A Columbus, Ohio, developer is asking for another month to complete the purchase of 1.3 acres of land on the North Shore for a proposed three-story office and retail complex.
Pittsburgh Stadium Authority board members will decide Wednesday whether to grant the extension until the end of July to Continental Real Estate Cos. for the North Shore I and II development next to Stage AE.
It's the second time the developer has gone before the authority asking for more time. In December, the board approved a three-month extension to give Continental time to close on the purchase and to finalize a deal with an office tenant.
Barry Ford, Continental's president of development, said the latest extension is needed to complete documentation related to the purchase and to close on the financing.
He's not expecting much opposition to the request. "They know we are working in good faith to get this all done," he said.
Continental, hired by the Steelers and the Pirates to develop the land between Heinz Field and PNC Park, hopes to begin construction in August.
It will be the first project advanced by the developer since the authority board voted in October 2011 to amend the 9-year-old option agreement with the teams and extend the deadlines they had missed for building on the property between the two stadiums.
Continental, doing business as North Shore Developers LP, has increased the size of the project from two stories to three and will build most, if not all, of the complex on speculation without a signed tenant. Mr. Ford said he is hoping to complete a deal in the near future with a tenant for a small piece of the 80,000 square feet of office space available.
"We are working with several good prospects for office space, but the majority of the office is being built speculatively," he said.
The North Shore I and II development technically is two buildings connected by an enclosed pedestrian bridge. Continental will pay $1.1 million for the 1.3 acres of land. That's $200,000 more than it was appraised at, a reflection of the decision to add a third floor to the complex.
Continental recently added Burgatory, a local hamburger chain, to the list of tenants it had signed to occupy 40,000 square feet of street-level retail space in the complex. It also has secured leases with national player Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill and North Park Lounge, a local chain.
City Councilman Corey O'Connor, a stadium authority board member, said he would support the extension, noting that Continental did make a "huge switch" in agreeing to build three stories instead of two.
"Obviously, I would have hoped that we would be past this process. Another month is OK. I think that's an OK solution," he said.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.