CREW Pittsburgh partnered with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC
) for an amazing property tour on October 20, 2022, at Rockwell Park in Pittsburgh’s North Point Breeze Neighborhood. Rockwell Park is an innovation district a century in the making. This 24-acre property maintains an entire campus complete with office, tech-flex, retail, restaurant, entertainment venues, and all kinds of spaces. Once home to innovators like Rockwell International, whose advancements in technology helped NASA land men on the moon.
Moderated by Katie Meehan, Marketing Manager for Franjo Construction, the following panelists discussed how the campus has been reimagined and how various players are modernizing Pittsburgh commercial real estate through historic building redevelopment.
- Jason Stewart - Managing Director, Agency Leasing, JLL
- Chad Wheatley - Co-Founder, Forefront Development Group
- Luna Fruensgaard - Design Principal, Indovina Associates Architects
- Mary Broglia - Director of Property Management, Ellsworth Equities
Preservation of existing infrastructure is the strategy at this site versus ground up development. This gives the buildings charm and maintains the rich industrial and innovative history of the campus. Where upgraded infrastructure was necessary, the design team implemented new and more contemporary styles. At the entrance to The Edwin building, a large steam press greets you as you walk through the door. A sitting room is located in a cozy nook which once housed the freight elevator – elements of which were left in place.
In some cases, more effort was needed to preserve the historic richness of the 100-year-old infrastructure. One of the buildings needed the old brickwork repointed which is a more timely and costly effort than bringing in new brick. Luna Fruensgaard indicated that we “do the right thing, not the least expensive.” Every aspect of the property was thought out.
The campus design was not set for a specific target tenant but were designed as shells that can house a variety of tenants. Jason Stewart joked that the target tenant is “one that will show up and pay rent!” Obviously, Rockwell Park is already taking off with new tenants like ASCEND which is finishing construction on a new rock wall fitness center in The George building. Other tenants at Rockwell Park include 3M, Carnegie Mellon University, and the East End Food Co-Op among others.
After the panel discussion, attendees were spilt into two groups to tour portions of the campus. A photo scavenger hunt guided visitors to special historic features of the campus, such as an old scale, and encouraged networking among CREW Pittsburgh and NAWIC. The tour concluded with additional networking with food and drinks from She’s All Tap and Let’s Taco.
Thank you to our annual sponsors and to the event sponsors Meter
and Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.