Features Mann Report

1501 Penn LEEDs the Way in Pittsburgh

The building will host 13 office floors | Photography by Focus Studios

Pittsburgh is Steeltown no more, as shown by the plans for developer JMC Holding’s 1501 Penn Ave, a new commercial building located at the gateway of the Strip District and Downtown — Pittsburgh’s nexus for business, culture and innovation. The LEED-certified building, conceived in collaboration with the AM/Woolly Group and Brandon Haw Architecture, features flexible and efficient floor plans, tall ceilings, an abundance of natural light, energy-efficient systems and class-A amenities at the intersection of the Strip District and the Golden Triangle.

The site was home to the Wholey cold storage facility for decades. That building will be razed. The 950,000-square-foot development will consist of 13 office floors with 520,000 square feet of space, ground level retail and parking for 900 cars, including electric car charging stations and a bike facility. A tenant amenity floor will include common conference rooms, fitness center and a landscaped outdoor terrace overlooking the Strip District and the Allegheny River. New York-based British architect Brandon Haw has designed the building to meet LEED and WELL Gold Certification, noted Matt Cassin, partner of JMC Holdings.

“1501 Penn will be an environmentally responsible building built to protect and enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of the people who inhabit it,” Cassin said.

Sustainability also has become a “huge” priority in the market, he continued.

Ground-level retail will activate the street

“The city has taken drastic steps over the years to transform into a leader in sustainability, both in the U.S. where it ranks among a short list of cities with the most green square footage in the country, and in the broader global landscape for its vast success in brownfield redevelopment,” he said. “Of note, Pittsburgh was an early adopter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which will continue to have a significant impact on public and private projects in Pittsburgh for years to come.”

The building’s sustainability measures far exceed local requirements, incorporating features in the areas of transportation, water conservation, air quality and nutrition.

“1501 Penn Ave is designed to be a responsive, energy-efficient and adaptable building; a calm and timeless addition to the Strip District, providing flexible office space that is future proofed for a new generation of workplace needs,” Haw said.

Among the green features the site will provide are electric vehicle charging stations and internal secured storage space for up to 122 bikes and an additional 50 exterior spaces; two green roofs that retain and reuse rain water to meet sustainability targets, along with water meters and systems to reduce outdoor and indoor water use; enhanced indoor air quality strategies, including the use of low-emitting materials, providing high-levels of thermal comfort and ensuring spaces are designed to make the most of daylight and programming that encourages mindful eating through reducing the use of processed foods, promoting fruit and vegetables and clearly displaying nutritional information.

Incorporating daylight is an important part of the design

1501 Penn Ave is located at a new hub of technology, industry and innovation. Throughout the last decade, Pittsburgh has been undergoing a period of growth and is becoming one of the leading U.S. cities for jobs, culinary experiences and cultural institutions, recently becoming home to major companies such as Google, Apple, Bosch, Uber, Microsoft and IBM.

Cassin expects the shell to be delivered in fall 2022, with occupancy in winter 2022.