SouthSide Works, as it currently looks. Photo courtesy of Somera Road.

The SouthSide Works Cinema is closing, but big new investments are coming to the SouthSide Works complex. Its owner, New York-based Somera Road, Inc., plans to spend $37 million in capital improvements and $130 million in new development, including tech-focused office space and 230 waterfront apartments.

The theater property will be converted into a 77,000-square-foot office space called Box Office, where approximately 500 people will work. Another 200,000 square feet of office space is planned for the Monongahela riverfront.

“The cinema’s grand entry, high ceilings and efficient usable floorplate, coupled with steel and glass improvements, and the adaptive reuse appeal creates a unique office conversion opportunity Pittsburgh hasn’t seen before,” says Jon Reeser, vice president of acquisitions with Somera Road, and head of the company’s Pittsburgh office.

SouthSide Works already has some big high-tech tenants, including an Amazon engineering office.

Container Park at SouthSide Works image courtesy of Somera Road.

They’re also planning Pittsburgh’s first “container park” concept — an indoor/outdoor space constructed partially from used shipping containers, which has been successful in places like San Diego, Nashville and Las Vegas. It’s intended to draw people — cyclists, runners, dog walkers — from the river and trail up through the property. It will also feature a large lawn area and a dog park.

The redevelopment is expected to improve foot traffic for the remaining retail tenants. Currently, SouthSide Works has about 288,000 square feet of retail space, and 180,000 square feet of office space. There are 83 residential units on the property now.

“By creating access, supporting innovation and creatively activating every aspect of SouthSide Works, we’re creating the city lifestyle experience that Pittsburgh deserves,” says Ian Ross, principal and founder of Somera Road.

Somera Road has a $1.5 billion portfolio of real estate across 49 markets and is known for investing in troubled properties. The development is expected to begin this summer. There’s no date for the theater’s closing yet.

The SouthSide Works development occupies land once home to the massive J&L Steel Works.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.