The developers who repurposed a historic Nabisco factory into the tech-oriented Bakery Square campus want to build a nine-story office building on the final undeveloped parcel of the East End property.
Walnut Capital, in plans submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Adjustment, says it will construct a LEED-certified building with 320,000 square feet of office space as its final buildout on the 20-acre Bakery Square development in Larimer and Shadyside.
Walnut is seeking a variance to permit a building that would be three stories taller than current zoning law permits on the 1.5-acre parcel. Its request is scheduled for a Feb. 15 zoning hearing. Strada is architect for the project.
“We’ve received substantial interest in high-quality, green office space at Bakery Square’s campus that exceeds our current demand,” Walnut Capital President Todd Reidbord says in a statement that did not specify potential tenants.
“This is the first step of the planning process and we will be working closely with city leaders and community members,” he says. “Our city’s continued growth is dependent on developers’ ability to keep up with the demand — staying ahead of high-tech companies’ growth needs and working with government partners to invest in infrastructure.”
Bakery Square, an office and housing complex built around the former Nabisco factory, is home to tech companies, retailers and more than 500 residents in apartments and townhomes. The development along Penn Avenue includes the site of the former Reizenstein School and has attracted tenants such as Google, UPMC, the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute and PNC’s startup arm, Numo. Office space at Bakery Square totals 800,000 square feet, Walnut says.
If approved, the next phase of development would include an 800-vehicle garage. Walnut says its $40 million project will generate around 1,500 jobs and an estimated $800,000 in new real estate taxes for the city, county and Pittsburgh school board.
The developers held a community meeting last month with former City Councilman Dan Gilman and plan to have another community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, in the lobby of Bakery Living Blue at 6454 Living Place, to talk about the building plans. In a flyer inviting community members to learn more, Walnut refers to the project as Bakery Office 3.0.
Walnut Capital has plans to bring similar office developments to the Oakland neighborhood, where it has purchased the bankrupt Pittsburgh Athletic Association’s clubhouse on Fifth Avenue, across from the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh headquarters in two buildings at 234 and 242 McKee Place.
The company has also proposed redeveloping a former Cadillac dealership at 3224 Boulevard of the Allies into office space.
“With Bakery Square’s office and residential campus, we raised the standard of development in Pittsburgh,” Gregg Perelman, Walnut Capital’s founder and CEO, says in the statement. “The ‘New Pittsburgh’ expects a great deal of amenities, and if we’re going to keep attracting new companies — and keep the brains in Pittsburgh — we need to have great office space and housing.”
Walnut says it has invested nearly $400 million in its Bakery Square development, which emphasizes green streets, bike lanes and eco-friendly infrastructure that includes 100 percent absorption of stormwater. Walking and biking pathways connect with Mellon Park, as well as retailers and restaurants.