Ranked as one of the top four tech hubs to watch in 2018 by VentureBeat, Pittsburgh is also regularly included on lists of the best places to live and visit in the U.S. Affectionate monikers for Pittsburgh include the City of Steel, hearkening back to the city’s origins as a steel manufacturing powerhouse, and the City of Bridges, in honor of the 446 bridges that cross the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers.
A report conducted by Innovation Works and Ernst & Young and released in early 2018 shows that over $687 million was invested in Pittsburgh tech companies in 2017. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, IBM, Uber, Nokia, Evoqua Water Technologies, and Duolingo are just some of the major tech tenants that lease office space in Pittsburgh.
In addition to technology, Pittsburgh is a leading city in manufacturing, medical and health services, sustainable energy, environmental design, arts and cultural nonprofits, and film. Many federal agency headquarters are also located in Pittsburgh, including cyber defense, robotics, energy research, and software engineering.
Office Space for Rent | Pittsburgh Lease Data & Trends
How much does Pittsburgh office space cost?
|Office Space for Rent||Class A||Class B||Inventory||Vacancy|
|City of Pittsburgh||$30/sf||$23/sf||30 msf||15%|
|Pittsburgh Suburbs||$23/sf||$20/sf||23 msf||19%|
Average rents in Pittsburgh have dropped recently, thanks to merger and acquisition activity among major corporate occupiers in the area bringing vacant office space back on the market, so companies considering East Coast office space would be wise to consider their options in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh office space in a Class A building usually ranges from $23 to $30 per square foot depending on the submarket, but modest Class B asking rents (particularly in the suburbs) bring the overall Pittsburgh average to less than $20 per square foot.
Pittsburgh Office Space Insights
Pittsburgh has nearly 55 million square feet of commercial real estate inventory with an average vacancy rate of 17%, and new construction in the area increasing by nearly 15% over last year. With an aim to attract and retain tenants, many landlords and developers are investing in renovating older buildings to provide creative and appealing office space. In Pittsburgh’s current market, tenants will find they have lots of room to negotiate their commercial lease with the landlord.
In addition to new development and renovated office spaces, high sublease activity in Pittsburgh provides another option to tenants. BDO is marketing upwards of 60,000 square feet of office space for sublease at the Heinz 57 Center, while Bank of America’s 144,000 square foot office space in Nova Place is also available for sublease.
Pittsburgh Office Space for Rent | Popular Neighborhoods
Located at the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, Downtown Pittsburgh is also called the “Golden Triangle” due to its distinct shape and layout. Commercial tenants seeking creative and unusual office spaces tend to gravitate toward Downtown and pay an average of $30 per square foot for Class A property. While Downtown appeals to many up-and-coming companies, especially with its abundance of coworking spaces, the neighborhood is also home to the corporate headquarters of seasoned tenants like H. J. Heinz Company, PPF Industries, and U.S. Steel. Downtown is the most walkable Pittsburgh neighborhood and has eight T stations for convenient commutes around the city.
Northeast of Downtown, the Strip District runs for a mile along the Allegheny River and is a highly popular neighborhood known for its dining and nightlife scene. Office space in the Strip District — as well as various shops, clubs, and restaurants — is commonly found in reclaimed industrial and warehouse spaces. Companies seeking customizable office space in proximity to Downtown will find the Strip District to be an inviting neighborhood. Two major technology pioneers have office space in the Strip District: Bosch, a leading technology and service company, and Petuum, a highly funded AI and machine learning startup.
The South Side is in the midst of a development renaissance, with close to a dozen new projects announced in Q1 of 2018. McKnight Realty Partners is spearheading one such project, investing over $100 million into the renovation of the Riverwalk Corporate Center. This renovation will transform the historic warehouse into an 868,000 square foot complex that includes creative office space, outdoor amenities, and a parking garage. Class A product currently rents in the low $20’s on average.
Lawrenceville is one of the largest Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and is actually considered by the city to be composed of three smaller neighborhoods: Upper, Central, and Lower Lawrenceville. However, those who live and work in Lawrenceville don’t bother with those distinctions. This neighborhood has a genuinely eclectic and old-school funky feel, with plenty of art galleries and unique shops to entertain locals and visitors. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is also located in Lawrenceville, making the area appealing for companies in children’s health, medical, and non-profit services. Bus routes 54 and 86 serve the area.
More of Pittsburgh’s famous attractions live in the North Shore than any other Pittsburgh neighborhoods. From the Andy Warhol Museum to the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, North Shore is a major cultural hub. Rapid developments are sprouting up around Heinz Field and PNC Park, and office space is ideal for the manufacturing, digital marketing, accounting, and insurance sectors looking to spend a little less per square foot than in Downtown. Commuters can take the light rail to the North Side Station next to PNC Park.
Hazelwood has a desirable location, close to the Monongahela River surrounded by plenty of nature yet also within a short commute from the Oakland, Greenfield, and Squirrel Hill neighborhoods. With 178 acres of riverfront property set to be redeveloped by the ALMONO Partnership, interest in the Hazelwood neighborhood will only rise. The new development, called Hazelwood Green, will be located just off of Second Avenue and compose almost one-fifth of the entire submarket. Carnegie Mellon’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute has already signed on as the first anchor tenant of Hazelwood Green.
The streets of Shadyside are lined with elegant Victorian mansions, giving the neighborhood a refined residential character. Located in Pittsburgh’s East End, companies with office space in Shadyside will find themselves in close quarters with Shadyside Hospital, Chatham University, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Most Shadyside businesses are located along Walnut Street, Ellsworth Avenue, and South Highland Avenue.
Class A product has vastly higher rents in Oakland, with an average asking price of $41 per square foot compared to Pittsburgh’s overall Class A average of $31 per square foot. Businesses in Oakland have access to talented interns and recent graduates from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Carlow University, making it an extremely desirable location to set up shop.
The medical and health sectors have a strong presence thanks to UPMC, and Oakland is also emerging as a hub for startups and incubators like Project Olympus, Idea Foundry, Revv Oakland, and Startup Oakland. Facebook has plans to open a new AI lab in Oakland in hopes to benefit from Carnegie Mellon’s renowned AI research program.
Getting to, From, and Around Pittsburgh
The unique landscape of Pittsburgh means the city doesn’t have a traditional city grid, but there’s still plenty of ways to get to and from your Pittsburgh office space. Downtown Pittsburgh is the easiest area to navigate by foot and has plenty of parks and plazas to rest in and enjoy on your way. From the suburbs and outer neighborhoods, public transportation options include numerous bus routes, light rail lines, and the famed Monongahela and Duquesne Inclines to get around Pittsburgh. The Inclines offer an astounding view of the city and are commonly used by commuters and tourists alike to reach the base of Mt. Washington and transfer to other modes of transportation.
Pittsburgh’s light rail system is called the “T” and makes four stops in a loop around Downtown, at Steel Plaza, Gateway Center Plaza, Wood Street, and the First Avenue Parking Garage. The “T” connects to Pittsburgh’s southern suburbs after traveling under the Monongahela River. Amtrak rail services from both the Midwest and East Coast also serve the city.
While parking can be expensive and hard to find, it’s typical for those living outside of Downtown to drive to work. Drivers have easy access to Pittsburgh via major roadways including I-79, I-279, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Downtown Pittsburgh is located approximately 20 miles from the Pittsburgh International Airport, which is considered one of the most modern airport terminal complexes in the world. PIT is the second busiest airport in the state of Pennsylvania, with a little over 400 flights per day to 74 destinations.