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Buccini/Pollin to build $200M Pittsburgh office tower

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Buccini/Pollin Group will build the FNB Financial Center in downtown Pittsburgh. | Photo courtesy of BPG

PITTSBURGH ““ The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), a Wilmington-based real estate development and management company, announced plans Tuesday, Jan. 7, to build a roughly 40-story office tower on the former site of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

BPG has been branching out from its Wilmington home in recent years as it looks for investment and development opportunities in other cities like Philadelphia, Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans, and especially Pittsburgh, where it was selected by an affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins to oversee a master redevelopment plan around the team’s arena.

BPG’s Managing Partner Chris Buccini called the project, which will add prominently to the city’s skyline as one of the city’s 20 tallest buildings, “one of the most significant projects in our company’s history.”

The $200 million tower project was jointly announced by the Penguins, as the organization owns the land that the project intends to utilize. The Civic Arena was previously home to the city’s hockey franchise until the PPG Paints Arena was opened in 2010.

After being replaced with the modern facility, the Civic Arena was demolished and paved as a parking lot expansion. In recent years, the team has targeted the area for an ambitious redevelopment plan.

BPG officials announced that First National Bank Corp. (FNB), a large financial institution based in Pittsburgh, will be an anchor tenant in the tower to be called FNB Financial Center and a partner in its development. FNB will lease over 160,000 square feet of space in the tower across eight floors, or about 40% of the project’s available office space, with additional options to expand to accommodate future growth, officials said.

Boris Kaplan, BPG’s vice president of development, said that leasing interest in the city’s central, mixed-use district has been very strong and he expected future tenants to be announced in coming months. The national brokerage firm JLL is handling leasing.

BPG plans to build the roughly 400-foot-high, 500,000-square-foot tower on about 1.25 acres of existing parking lots near PPG Paints Arena. The bottom floors of the tower will feature retail shopping and other amenities, and a public parking garage will be connected to the project

The architectural design is being done by Gensler, a firm based in Philadelphia, officials reported. Gensler’s concept for the tower utilizes glass and crisp angles to integrate the large structure into the skyline, officials said.

While still conceptual, developers are planning 60,000 square feet of public open space between Washington Place and Logan Street that will offer views of Pittsburgh’s landmarks. Those spaces are planned to take advantage of crowds that arrive for Penguins games and other events.

The tower is the first piece of a 28-acre, $350 million redevelopment plan in what’s known as the Lower Hill District. An adjacent 300-unit multifamily development, live music venue, and parking garage are also in the works along with retail and more.

Developers expect final municipal approvals for the tower project in the next six to nine months, at which time they will break ground. Construction is expected to take about two years and create more than 1,000 construction jobs.

By Jacob Owens

[email protected]

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