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June 11, 2009

Pitt to buy Concordia Club

The trustees’ property and facilities committee on Monday approved the University’s purchase of the Concordia Club as part of some $70 million in construction and renovation projects that will include the relocation of Pitt’s mailing services, surplus property, central receiving and movers from their current leased location at the Lexington Tech Park Warehouse to Pitt’s Thomas Boulevard facility.

Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor and general counsel, said a sales agreement for the Concordia Club had been signed and the University’s due diligence on the property is underway. Closing is expected by Nov. 30.

The three-story, 18,000-square-foot club, located at 4024 O’Hara Street, is situated on approximately a one-half acre site with parking for 25 vehicles. It includes banquet and meeting rooms, a lobby area and offices.

Cochran noted that Pitt constantly is seeking strategic real estate opportunities. The Concordia Club’s location within the central campus and contiguous to other Pitt properties made it a logical fit for acquisition. Cochran noted that with the exception of the Bellefield Presbyterian Church, the University owns the entire block bounded by Fifth Avenue, O’Hara Street, Thackeray Street and University Place.

No specific use for the building has been identified, but Cochran said the club could be another venue for large functions such as those typically held in the William Pitt Union’s heavily used Ballroom or Kurtzman Room.

The trustees’ committee also approved a $3.2 million project to renovate 21,300 square feet of space on the ground floor and 1,650 square feet of space on the basement level of the Thomas Boulevard facility, which will enable mailing services, surplus property, central receiving and the movers to relocate from leased space, at an annual savings of more than $67,000.

The project is scheduled to be complete in time for employees to move during the University’s winter recess.

The committee also approved the following projects for the Pittsburgh campus:

• $32.38 million in renovations and additions to Chevron Science Center. Funded by $25 million in state capital funding and $7.38 million in Provost reserves, the first phase of the project will add 31,331 square feet of lab/equipment space in a three-story addition above Ashe Auditorium.

The auditorium lobby and entrance will be renovated and a new vestibule added. Other infrastructure upgrades and features aimed at achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification for sustainable construction are planned. Construction is expected to be complete in 16 months.

• Nearly $27.8 million to develop an Olympic Sports Complex for men’s baseball, women’s softball, and men’s and women’s soccer.

Located next to current facilities on the upper campus, the complex will feature a two-story 23,000-square-foot support building housing restrooms, concession stands, and training and locker-room facilities.

The venues will seat 725 for soccer, 900 for baseball and 600 for softball. Each will have scoreboards, press boxes, broadcast-quality lighting and artificial turf. The baseball and softball facilities will include dugouts, bullpens and batting cages.

The project, part of the University’s 12-year facilities plan, will be funded by bond proceeds. Annual operating costs of more than $2 million are to be covered by gifts and other reserves.

The project is expected to be completed by fall 2010.

• $1.2 million to upgrade the ventilation system in the basement and first floor of the Cathedral of Learning. The work is necessary because existing conditions do not meet building code standards for outside air requirements.

The committee also okayed a 10-year lease for more than 144,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in the new Bridgeside Point II building on Technology Drive for the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. The facility is situated next to Bridgeside Point I, which houses other Pitt research and office spaces.

The McGowan Institute will move from Bridgeside Point I to a larger space in the new building and microbiology and molecular genetics will move from the Biomedical Science Tower and Bridgeside Point I to consolidate in Bridgeside Point II.

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery plans to relocate its stem cell research center, hand research laboratory and new Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering to the new building.

Cochran said funds are in place for the first five years of the lease, which begins Oct. 1, 2009.

Two projects at Pitt-Bradford were approved:

• $2.5 million to upgrade electrical service and improve power reliability. The project includes installation of power distribution equipment and the upgrade of infrastructure between the electric utility’s substation and the campus.
Information provided to the committee stated that Bradford campus operations have been disrupted by about 25 electrical outages over the past several years.

Although Pitt is negotiating with Penelec, which supplies power to the Bradford campus, to pay for the upgrade, the cost was approved in order to prevent delays to the project’s start.

• $2.5 million for a multipurpose facility and interfaith chapel, funded by gifts to the Bradford Educational Foundation.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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