The Strip District. The Strip. The Historic Market District. However you refer to this mile-long stretch from 11th to 31st Streets along the Allegheny River, there’s no denying it holds an impressive industrial history and is core to Pittsburgh’s recent ascent into the national spotlight.
The Strip, which connects Downtown to Lawrenceville, is the original home to many of the businesses that put Pittsburgh on the map. Former tenants include H.J. Heinz, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Alcoa (the Pittsburgh Reduction Company), Armstrong Cork, and U.S. Steel. Though the majority of its initial corporations and industries have either moved or closed, the Strip District has recently been revived as an epicenter for businesses and merchants. It’s also a top Pittsburgh dining destination. Old warehouses and factories have been converted into modern office spaces, and former cork and dairy production spaces have become upscale residences.
Industrial diversity is strong here. In addition to the bustling retailers along Penn Avenue, plus the multipurpose complexes that have taken over the former manufacturing spaces, there are also tech companies, non-profits, art studios, antique dealers, light manufacturers, film studios, and financial firms around the Strip District.
Strip District Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
The Strip District is part of the Greater Downtown area of Pittsburgh, which has 12 million square feet of inventory. Of that total, there is about a 12% vacancy rate, which is higher than the Pittsburgh average of almost 11%.
The asking rate for the average office space in this part of town is about $23 per square foot, higher than the citywide average of $19 (but still more affordable than Oakland, which goes for nearly $25 per square foot). The average Class A space in the greater Downtown Pittsburgh district leases for around $27 per square foot.
What Our Brokers Say About Strip District Office Space for Rent
The Strip is both car- and pedestrian-friendly. Liberty Ave, Penn Ave, and Smallman Street are the main roadways that travel through the Strip District. The neighborhood scores a 72 on Walk Score, since the Strip’s small size means most tasks are easy to accomplish on foot.
Transit in the Strip is accessible, but somewhat limited (the T doesn’t reach here; the closest stop is Wood Street Station). The 54 North Side-Oakland-South, 86 Liberty, 87 Friendship, 88 Penn, and 91 Butler Street buses all run through here. Driving is often the easiest option, thanks to the well-connected streets Liberty and Penn Avenues; plus the David McCullough and Veterans’ Bridge, which link across the Allegheny. Most parking facilities can be found around the lower- and mid-Strip District.
For out-of-town business, the Amtrak Pittsburgh station is right on the border of the Strip, on Liberty Avenue. It’s serviced by two routes: The Pennsylvanian and the Capitol Limited. Out-of-town clients will find hotels in the nearby Downtown district to be easily accessible; the Fairmont Pittsburgh and the Omni William Penn Hotel, for example, are both under a 10-minute drive from the Strip.
Where Penn Avenue runs through the Strip District, it picks up as a hub for dining, entertainment, and retail destinations. The Pittsburgh Ballet School and Pittsburgh Opera are both on Penn Avenue. Along this stretch, our team recommends Bar Marco and Savoy, plus The Beerhive and Pittsburgh Winery for drinks. Before they were an midwestern and Eastern seaboard institution, the Primanti Bros. were here, just off Penn; the original location still draws lunchtime crowds (and after hours; this location is open 24/7) seeking the signature sandwiches on 18th Street.
Penn Avenue is also home to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a perk for the studios and galleries in the district.
Tech is growing in the Strip District, too; Uber opened its Advanced Technology Group at 31st Street, Bossa Nova and Argo AI are both here, Bosch has an office on Smallman Street, and Apple operates its local technology center in the Strip.
Get to Know The Strip District
With its prime location along the Allegheny River, the Strip has a long history serving as a trade and production hub. The early 19th century brought iron mills, foundries, and glass factories to the area. It was here in the Strip that Andrew Carnegie got his start overseeing iron mills. The Strip is also home to the Fort Pitt Museum, which showcases the many incarnations of this former war site.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Strip had become a center for immigrants of European origins. (On Penn Avenue, the Pittsburgh Macaroni Company, an Italian pasta manufacturer and goods importer that’s been in operation since 1902, is living testimony to that.) This influx of immigrants arrived at the Strip and contributed to the massive industrial growth that Pittsburgh was undergoing at the time. Later, wholesale produce merchants moved in and flourished through the 1920s.
By the 1970s, the evolution of produce delivery from railroads to trucks meant the local industry had mostly floundered. The Strip underwent something of a gritty period, which lasted until the 1990s.
True to its international origins, in its revival over the past several decades, the Strip District has welcomed a new wave of business and residential immigrants – this time from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America.
In 1996, the Heinz company opened a history museum on the site of a former chair manufacturing company. Remnants of the neighborhood’s past are well-marked, thanks to various historical markers on many of the buildings.
Many of today’s residents opt to live in converted warehouses, like the Armstrong Cork Factory, the Brake House Lofts, and the Otto Milk Building.