New York firm buys North Side's Allegheny Center office complex
February 19, 2015 11:13 PM
Faros Properties purchased the office complex in Allegheny Center.
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For the past three years, a New York City-based real estate investment firm has been buying up residential buildings near Downtown. This week, it jumped head first into the Pittsburgh office market.
Faros Properties has acquired a controlling interest in the 1.2-million-square-foot Allegheny Center office complex on the North Side. It closed on the transaction Wednesday. No financial details of the deal, announced Thursday, were disclosed.
The acquisition gives the firm control over the three-building complex and a 2,700-space parking garage, as well as the adjacent Allegheny Center apartments that it acquired in March 2013.
Jeremy Leventhal, Faros’ managing partner, would not discuss the firm’s plans for the complex at this time. He said that all or “elements of it” could remain in use as office space, though that is not set in stone.
“Right now part of our task is to dig in the next four to eight weeks to figure out the highest and best use for the complex,” he said.
Faros plans to spend a “significant amount of capital” to improve the complex, which opened in 1965 as an enclosed mall and once housed retailers such as Woolworth, Sears and Zayres. By the mid-1990s, most of the mall’s 75 stores had left, paving the way for the conversion to office space.
The complex now has a 70 percent occupancy rate, according to the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank real estate firm. Tenants include PNC, the largest, and Bank of America.
Faros entered the Pittsburgh market in November 2012 when it bought the Washington Plaza apartment complex in the lower Hill District. Four months later, it acquired the four-building Allegheny Center apartment complex, now known as Park View. In November, it assumed a controlling interest in Carson Street Commons on the South Side.
The firm has invested more than $175 million in purchasing and improving the three residential properties.
Mr. Leventhal envisions additional acquisitions in Pittsburgh.
“We’re very fond of the Pittsburgh market. We like to invest in markets with a high concentration of intellectual capital, smart people and driven people,” he said.
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