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October 11, 2001

Pitt close to signing 2 tenants for MPAC retail space

Pitt is close to inking rental deals with two retailers for space inside the Multi-Purpose Academic Complex (MPAC), an official said this week.

According to Eli Shorak, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Pitt is negotiating with Panera, a restaurant featuring sandwiches, homemade bread and bagels, and Guacamole, a Washington, D.C.-based clothing store geared to young adults, for rental space on the 1st floor of Pitt's newest academic building, which is in the final stages of construction.

Shorak reported to the University Senate's plant utilization and planning (PUP) committee Oct. 8. "We're still negotiating the lease terms. Nothing's been finalized," he pointed out.

Together, the two retailers would take up about 14,000 sq. ft. of the 18,000 sq. ft. available, Shorak said. "We're looking to find one or two more retailers for that other 4,000 sq.-ft. space. The retail market is soft right now; not too many are expanding."

No timetable has been set to finalize the rental deals, Shorak added. He declined to name other potential renters.

The six-story MPAC building is bordered by South Bouquet and Sennott streets and Oakland and Forbes avenues. The structure is slated to house the College of Business Administration, the psychology and computer science departments, a Pitt law school clinic, and 92 short-term, public parking spaces, 70 of which will be underground, in addition to the 1st floor retail space on Forbes Avenue.

The police mini-station, originally expected to be housed in the building, instead has been opened between the Law Building and Lawrence Hall, at the foot of the stairs leading to the overhead pedestrian walkway across Forbes Avenue.

Ana Guzman, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management, told the PUP committee that her unit expects to begin installing carpeting and moving office and classroom furniture into the MPAC building in December.

"The academic units, like computer science, will not be moving into the building until April or May, after the spring term concludes," Guzman said. "There's no sense doing it in the middle of classes."

She said the main "academic entrance" to the building will be at the corner of Forbes and South Bouquet.

Entrance to the MPAC parking garage will be from Sennott Street. The retail space loading dock for MPAC will be on South Bouquet Street.

When completed, the MPAC facility will cover about 31,500 square feet. The projected cost is $35 million. Pitt received final City Council approval for the MPAC project in June 1999. Construction began in January 2000 with the demolition of the buildings on the site.

–Peter Hart


Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 4

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