Property watch: Deal reached between Wexford Science, OPDC on Forbes building

After a year and a half of wrangling, an agreement has been reached between Wexford Science + Technology and the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. on a proposed office building at 3440 Forbes Ave.

In a consent order from Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Senior Judge Joseph James, Wexford agreed to limit the height of the building to 153 feet or 10 stories. It originally requested 188 feet, but OPDC objected.

In addition, the deal has a community benefits agreement that stipulates that Wexford make a $400,000 flat grant to OPDC when the project is completed and provide free meeting space for Oakland neighborhood groups and organizations up to four times a month, along with other provisions. Find more about the deal on the OPDC website.

The Post-Gazette reported that other Oakland neighborhood groups and several residents have an appeal pending in the state’s Commonwealth Court over a decision by Judge James to deny them the right to intervene in the Wexford case.

Walkway closed temporarily

Bulldozers on hillside above University Drive

The Hillside Restoration and Enabling Project in Oakland will mean a temporary closure of the walkway on the south side of Irvis Hall through Feb. 5.

When complete, the project will provide walking, biking and road pathway improvements, in addition to updating aging utilities infrastructure such as power, chilled water and sewer lines. Work also will include a new pedestrian-friendly walkway to travel up and down campus and additional outdoor gathering spaces. The work should be completed in April 2021.

Pedestrians can still use the Petersen Events Center stairs. Closures that began in the prior project phase remain in place:

  • The main pedestrian stairs from Irvis Hall to Chevron Science Center are closed.

  • Pedestrian stairs from Eberly Hall to University Drive A remain closed. Pedestrians are able to access Eberly from Parkman Avenue.

  • Upper University Drive A and University Drive B remain closed to vehicles.

Pitt purchases two properties

Late last year, Pitt bought two properties in Oakland:

  • 229 Atwood St., a one-story red-brick commercial building at the corner of Sennott and Atwood street currently occupied by Love Tea, for $2.1 million. "The university is currently reviewing options for future potential development at this location," a Pitt spokesman said.

  • 3512 Fifth Ave., a small office building, paying $1.86 million to Khalil and Sadie Khalil. The spokesman said Pitt purchased this property in mid-December after leasing it for many years and will continue using it for office and meeting space.

Find more information about the purchases in the Pittsburgh Business Times.

— Susan Jones


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