Built in 1916 by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building is undergoing an extensive rehabilitation and repositioning by its new owner. Since acquiring the 15-story Flemish-Gothic building at a foreclosure auction in April for $14 million, The Davis Companies has been restoring the historic property for the demands of the 21st century workplace – where employees can enjoy modern Class-A space and shared amenities.
Designed by Frederick J. Osterling, the building was constructed on the site of Pittsburgh’s nineteenth century St. Paul’s Catholic Cathedral. Known as the Union Arcade, it featured 240 shops and galleries. The mansard roof is adorned with terra cotta dormers and two chapel like mechanical towers. The interior is arranged about a central rotunda, capped by a stained glass dome.
When The Davis Companies, which is based in Boston, acquired the 517,000 square-foot building, it was only 39 percent occupied. The largest tenant, Siemens Corporation, has a 193,000 square foot lease that expires in 2019. The Davis Companies recently signed their first two leases since buying the building. The technology companies Jawbone and Truefit have agreed to lease a combined 30,000 square feet.
“We are thrilled to have these two exciting, innovative companies embrace our vision for a robust, new community at the Union Trust Building. Downtown Pittsburgh is undergoing a powerful revitalization and has much to offer employers and employees alike,” said Jonathan Davis, CEO and founder of The Davis Companies. “As a developer with a long history of adaptive reuse and historic rehabilitation projects, and as a Pittsburgh native, the opportunity to transform this iconic building into a first-class 21st century workplace and to closely collaborate with Mayor Peduto and his administration to draw growing businesses downtown was irresistible.”
New tenant Truefit, a Pittsburgh-based software technology innovation firm, has signed a lease to relocate its headquarters downtown from Cranberry, and moved into the building on December 1, 2014.
“For years, we have been exploring a vision for a central downtown location where innovative companies would collaborate on breakthrough new products. That dream is finally becoming a reality at the Union Trust Building,” said Darrin Grove, CEO and founder of Truefit.
Jawbone, a leader in consumer technology and wearable devices, moved into the property last month. They have designed a unique space that combines the historic features of the building with open, high-tech, lab space, cultivating a collaborative and creative environment for new product development and innovation.
The Davis Companies was represented by Jason Stewart, Executive Vice President at JLL, in both transactions. Truefit was represented by Bill Leone, currently Senior Vice President at JLL. Jawbone was represented by Brad Totten, Senior Vice President and Principal at Avison Young.
Jawbone and Truefit will each occupy unique, sky lit, two-story open plan spaces on the 10th and 11th floors within the building. They will be joining the environmental sciences headquarters of AMEC Foster Wheeler, an engineering and project management firm, and Novitas Solutions, a processing company for government-sponsored health care programs, who collectively lease nearly 200,000 square feet at the Union Trust Building.
Upon completion of renovations in the first quarter of 2016, the property will boast more than 500,000-square-feet of Class-A retail, office, tech-startup and amenity space. As part of this transformation, The Davis Companies is repositioning nearly 40,000 square feet of ground-level retail space to establish an indoor/outdoor environment, lined with restaurants, cafes and coffee shops for tenant and public use. They are also planning an underground parking garage and secure onsite bicycle storage. Amenities include a 5,200-square-foot fitness center and 12,600 square-feet of conference and lecture facilities, providing seating for up to 350 people and 75 people in two different spaces.
Exterior photo credit: Wikipedia user HoboJones
Interior photo credit: Skyscraper Page user geomorph