In 2009, the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh moved one of its major facilities to Lawrenceville, helping to spur an economic revival in this growing neighborhood between Bloomfield and Downtown. In less than a decade, the area has undergone a dramatic transformation from an economically-depressed neighborhood to one of the most in-demand pockets for both residents and businesses in Pittsburgh.
Though the neighborhood is technically comprised of three separate parts – Upper, Central, and Lower Lawrenceville – these borders are, in effect, blurred. That downtown is less than three miles away makes the area popular for businesses seeking spaces that provide proximity to the central business district, but with the perks of a quieter, up-and-coming neighborhood.
The industrial past of this former blue-collar neighborhood has given way to a decidedly modern present: Businesses here are a mixture of robotics, machine manufacturers, beer distributors and breweries, and health centers. The “cool factor” also draws artists, designers, and other local leaders in the creative industries to the area. Certain pockets of Lawrenceville, especially on Butler Street, are also prime retail and dining destinations.
Lawrenceville Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
South Side is part of the East End commercial real estate submarket, which, together with Oakland, accounts for more than 2 million square feet of office space inventory. The limited inventory is reflected in the 3% direct vacancy rate, which is far below the citywide average of almost 17%. This has resulted in moderate direct asking rents of $24 per square foot. Class A space runs around $28 per square foot; the direct asking rate for Class B space is $22 per square foot.
Of the roughly 282,000 square feet currently in development, just above 240,000 square feet are Class A, and the remaining is Class B space.
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What Our Brokers Say about Lawrenceville Office Space
Visioneers fit in well here: Lawrenceville is something of a pioneer in the robotics field. The National Robotics Engineering Center, Carnegie Robotics, RedZone Robotics, and RE2 Robotics are all based around the neighborhood. Many alumni of Aquion, 4Moms, and Plextronics have stayed locally and started their own companies or joined the next generation of Pittsburgh startups.
The different sections of Lawrenceville range in their overall ease of accessibility scores. Of the three, Central and Lower Lawrenceville offer the best Walking and Biking Scores – 88 and 80, and 87 and 79, respectively. Lawrenceville is well-serviced by buses: The 54C, 64, 87, 88, 91, and 93 buses all connect to surrounding neighborhoods. From Lawrenceville to Downtown is a 20-minute bus ride, and a 10-minute drive.
Those looking to reach the area by car should note that street parking is often limited to hourly. Traffic also tends to concentrate on busy Butler Street during rush hours.
And no wonder, since this is where much of Pittsburgh comes to eat. As the main road and artery to the neighborhood, Bustler boasts plenty of upscale culinary and drinking destinations. On the street and in its vicinity, the best bet for happy hour drinks is one of the many breweries around – there’s Eleventh Hour, Roundabout Brewery, and Church Brew Works. The Vandal and Piccolo Forno are perfect for business lunches. Dinner spots include Morcilla, Poulet Bleu, and Justin Severino’s Cure. Espresso a Mano is one of the city’s most popular coffee shops; for a quieter cup of joe, there’s The Abbey, which was opened in a former mortuary, and Constellation Coffee, right by the UPMC campus.
Workers take breaks in the distinctly urban Arsenal Park, or along the nearby Allegheny River. The scenic Allegheny Cemetery – where native son and composer Stephen Foster is buried and honored annually with a summer concert – partially sprawls through Lawrenceville, including the entrance on Butler Street.
Although Lawrenceville itself doesn’t yet have any hotels, out-of-town business visitors can stay in nearby East Liberty at the newly-minted Ace Hotel, or any of the Downtown hotels. Both are less than a 10-minute drive to Lawrenceville.
Get to know Lawrenceville
There’s a reason Lonely Planet tapped deemed (together with neighboring East Liberty) to be the coolest neighborhood in America—it’s filled with artists and is benefiting culturally from a burgeoning restaurant scene. Residents are drawn to the well-maintained working-class aesthetic, the byproduct of preserved row houses and converted warehouses that fill the streets and numerous alleyways.
Of course, before there were families and young professionals moving into the converted townhouses, there was industrial Lawrenceville. Named for war hero James Lawrence, the ‘Ville was founded in 1814. With its strategic location along the Allegheny River, the neighborhood is the former site of the Allegheny Arsenal – a legacy that lives on with eponymous nods like Arsenal Park, Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar, and Arsenal middle school. Like so much in the Steel City, the neighborhood peaked during the ironworks era, but was hit with the citywide depression in the 1980s.
But today, the neighborhood has undergone (and continues to experience) something of a renaissance. In less than 10 years, its population of 18- to 25-year-olds has grown by 25 percent. Both reflective of and in response to this trend, brand-new rounds of restaurants, bars and breweries, and retailers have sprung up seemingly overnight. Lawrenceville hosts annual events, like the Joy of Cookies Tour, RANT (Rock All Night Tour), and Art All Night. It’s also where much of Pittsburgh converges for its summer kickoff, the Memorial Day Parade at 40th and Butler Streets.
Lawrenceville prides itself on sustainability; the neighborhood counts 14 restaurants that foster environmentally ethical practices. It’s also home to appointment-only Clemente Museum, the Arsenal Bowl, and Row House Cinemas – all unique establishments that could, perhaps, only exist and thrive in this neighborhood of old-meets-new.