Recreation center groundbreaking planned for September

At an April meeting, the Board of Trustees Property and Facilities committee approved $255 million for the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, $154 million for construction of the core and shell of a building at Fifth and Halket streets, and $17 million to acquire the Strand Building on Forbes Avenue.

Committee chair Louis Cestello reported on these actions at the June Board of Trustees meeting.

Groundbreaking is schedule for Sept. 29 for the nine-story recreation center on O’Hara Street and it is expected to be completed by fall 2024. The facility will include gymnasiums, fitness areas, aquatic center, jogging track, specialized activity spaces, dining facilities and space for a future wellness suite.

Money for the Fifth and Halket street building will be used to construct the core and shell of the 306,000-square-foot structure. Pitt acquired the property from Shadyside-based developer Walnut Capital in December 2021 for $19.5 million.

The interior design of the 10-story building will come later, and be “designed to offer flexibility to meet the needs of multiple University programs under consideration for the building,” Cestello said. Money for those projects will be approved by the committee at a later date. The space will be used for laboratories, classrooms, offices, retail and support spaces. as well as a parking garage on the lower level and part of the ground floor.

He said the two projects are projected to generate 2,167 construction jobs and 867 support jobs.

The five-story Strand Building, at 3607 to 3611 Forbes Ave., has 39,000 square feet. It includes retail space on the first floor, currently occupied by Golden Palace Buffet and SuperCuts, office space above that and 20 residential apartments.

Much of the office space is already occupied by the School of Medicine, including the Center for Research on Health Care.

At the April meeting, David DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations, said the building is in “a strategic location in the heart of Oakland and aligns with the University's real estate strategy.”

The committee approved the acquisition of this property at a purchase price of $17 million plus closing costs of approximately $925,000 pending final due diligence.

— Susan Jones


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