South Side is officially divided into two neighborhoods: The South Side Flats, where most of the businesses are located, and the primarily residential South Side Slopes. The heart of the business district is located along East Carson Street, which runs the length of South Side.
South Side draws a mixture of industries, ranging from light industrial to newspapers, law offices, and architectural firms. Up-and-coming businesses are drawn here for the dynamic balance between history and innovation – not to mention, the considerably lower rents than are available in nearby Downtown Pittsburgh.
South Side Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Pittsburgh commercial real estate data generally groups South Side into the Downtown Central Business District, which features nearly 8 million square feet of office space inventory. There is a 13% direct vacancy in this area, and the average direct asking rate is $24 per square foot. Class A office space leases for more than $25 per square foot, while the direct asking rate for Class B is $23 per square foot.
Of the roughly 450,000 square feet currently in development, around 280,000 square feet are Class A, and the remaining 170,000 are in Class B spaces.
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Since Southside Works (“the Works”) opened in 2002, it has ushered in a new era of consumer-driven business. The multipurpose complex combines shops with hotels, apartments, and 700,000 square feet of office space. It’s also home to American Eagle Outfitters Global HQ and the UPMC Sports Medicine Complex.
South Side is well connected to other pockets in Pittsburgh: Thanks to the Birmingham Bridge, commuters can reach Oakland in less than 15 minutes, and Downtown via the Tenth Street Bridge in just over 10 minutes via car. However, parking is notoriously difficult in the narrow streets of South Side.
For commuters who don’t drive, Southside Flats is highly accessible via foot and bike – it has a 90 Walk Score, and 92 Bike Score. Those who opt to commute via public transport will find South Side accessible from most any of the surrounding vicinities. All of the 51 bus routes go from Downtown to Carson Street, and the 54C stop at 18th and Carson goes straight into nearby Oakland.
Robust Talent Pipeline
Proximity to the city’s major colleges and university, including University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and Duquesne University (which sits directly across the 10th Street Bridge), makes the area appealing to companies looking to recruit young professionals. South Side is also less than 10 minutes by car to the Allegheny County Courthouse, ideal for law firms.
Employee Amenities in Southside
For business lunches or dinners, there’s Mallorca and Stagioni. Along East Carson Street, there are a number of happy hour spots, including The Urban Tap, The Library, Local Bar + Kitchen, and Over The Bar Bicycle Cafe. Every Tuesday afternoon between May and November, workers make pit stops at the afternoon farmers’ market on Carson and 18th.
Sports fan may stick around the vicinity after work in the summer season to cheer on the Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium – this 5,000-seat stadium, which is just up the Monongahela River, is equally reputed for its stunning downtown and river vistas as it is for its soccer matches.
Back in South Side proper, there’s a considerable number of green spaces – and more are in the works. The Southside Riverfront Park, which opened in 2012, sidles along the Monongahela River and provides workers and residents alike with picnic spaces, hiking, and cycling. Its five miles also converge with the Three Rivers Heritage Trail system, and wind up all the way to the shores of the Works, where it meets the South Shore Riverside Park. At this point – the former site of a steel mill barge dock – there’s a piazza and concert stage. The trail also connects with the Great Allegheny Passage, which goes all the way to Washington, D.C.
In early 2018, plans for the development of a High Line in Pittsburgh were officially announced and developers McKnight Realty Partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking. The developers will work with a local architectural firm to redevelop the Pittsburgh Terminal Warehouse and Transfer Company, which will bring in 600,000 square feet of office and retail to the area. The site will be connected by a 500-foot-long elevated roadway, which will stretch over a future park, and face north towards Downtown.
Get to Know South Side, Pittsburgh
South Side got its industrial start in glass: In the late 19th century, the area was home to almost 100 glass factories, and nationally reputed as the center of the U.S. glass industry. Steel and iron mills also thrived here – the Works was built on the former site of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill. Long before there was Southside Works, there was Kaufmann’s Department Store – it opened on East Carson Street in 1871 before relocating to its Downtown location. And upon its completed construction in 1906, the Pittsburgh Terminal Properties building (on the west end of Carson Street, and soon-to-be site of the city’s Highline) was the largest warehouse between New York and Chicago.
Today’s residents have worked to preserve the neighborhood history. The entire stretch of East Carson Street, admired for its abundance of Victorian commercial architecture, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.
But though history colors the neighborhood, it doesn’t overshadow it: The residential demographics of South Side have veered young. Many students from nearby Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Pittsburgh have settled in the area, or frequently visit for its active nightlife scene.