Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2018) — Lionstone Investments and Walnut Capital announced their recent acquisition of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association clubhouse on behalf of institutional investors. Completed in 1911, the five-story building sits on a three-quarter-acre site at Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard. Plans for the property include restoration of the exterior façade and well as complete interior renovations and updates.
The property is centrally located in Pittsburgh’s new Oakland Innovation District, adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning, Carnegie Mellon University, and UPMC’s Hospitals and Research Campus. Until recently, it had served as the clubhouse for the Pittsburgh Athletic Association (PAA), founded in 1908. Unfortunately, as the social club’s membership declined over the years, the structure fell into decay.
“The building’s prime location at the heart of Pittsburgh’s university and medical markets, its historical significance, and the area’s high demand for real estate made this an appealing investment,” noted Lionstone Investments co-founder and Head of Capital Formation Dan Dubrowski. “We are excited to be able to partner with Walnut Capital to restore an architectural gem and deliver new, best-in-class mixed-use real estate to the community.”
Architect Benno Janssen based his original 1911 design of the facility on Renaissance Venetian palazzo architecture. Offering comprehensive athletic amenities, it featured a bowling alley, basketball and squash courts, and third-floor swimming pool. The structure was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
In addition to the refurbished exterior, the building will feature nearly 90,000 square feet of new office space, a renovated lobby, restaurant and dining options, and a new fitness facility and club room reserved for the PAA. Work on the building will begin late this summer and is anticipated to take 18 to 24 months.
“Walnut Capital is a strong believer in the economic transformation of Oakland as the epicenter of the new Pittsburgh economy,” stated Gregg Perelman, CEO of Walnut Capital. “The rejuvenated PAA building would be an ideal home for globally significant companies that want proximity to our prominent universities and medical institutions. Our goal will be to create something new within something known — a destination with an amazing past and brilliant future.”
The sale was brokered by HFF on behalf of the PAA as part of its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization. Mark Popovich, Senior Managing Director who led the process for HFF remarked, “the PAA building was a highly sought-after property given its stature and location. It’s a unique asset that will benefit from Lionstone and Walnut Capital’s expertise in redeveloping historic buildings.”
About Lionstone Investments
Lionstone Investments is a data-analytics driven real estate investment firm that conceptualizes, analyzes, and executes national investment strategies using proprietary algorithms and advanced analytics to understand the changing ways people in America want to live and work — Places for Productive People.® Lionstone Investments is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC. Please visit our website at: lionstoneinvestments.com
About Walnut Capital
Walnut Capital is one of Pittsburgh’s best known and fastest growing real estate development companies. We’re leading the way in the development and property management of commercial office, mixed use, retail and luxury apartment complexes in various prime Pittsburgh area locations. In business for over 20 years, Walnut Capital has proven experience in all areas of expertise, starting out with renovations at historic Squirrel Hill residential townhouse communities, becoming the largest commercial landlord on Shadyside’s Walnut Street, and managing over 2,500 apartment units throughout the city of Pittsburgh. We focus on developing spaces that build communities, revitalize neighborhoods and help Pittsburgh reimagine itself into a hub of new knowledge. Walnut Capital has been instrumental in Pittsburgh’s evolution from post-industrial steel town to a world-class intelligence-based economy. Our track record in creating innovative centers in modern urban settings is second to none, most notably the remarkable transformation of the Nabisco Building into Bakery Square. Home to technology companies, like Google, Philips and UPMC, high-end retailers, like Anthropologie and West Elm, housing Pittsburgh’s first luxury apartment community, Bakery Living, and expanding with a third office building and 800-car parking garage, Bakery Square is now the icon of the city’s progressive economy. Walnut Capital now has over 1,500,000 square feet of Class A office space already developed or currently in development throughout Pittsburgh’s core market. For more information on our development projects, visit walnutcapital.com.
HFF and its affiliates operate out of 26 offices and are a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services to the global commercial real estate industry. HFF, together with its affiliates, offers clients a fully integrated capital markets platform, including debt placement, investment advisory, equity placement, funds marketing, M&A and corporate advisory, loan sales and loan servicing. HFF, HFF Real Estate Limited, HFF Securities L.P. and HFF Securities Limited are owned by HFF, Inc. (NYSE: HF). For more information, please visit hfflp.com or follow HFF on Twitter @HFF.