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PITTSBURGH, PA-Continental Real Estate Companies of Columbus, OH, has started site work for its second office building on the land it leases on the north shore of the Allegheny River between the city’s two new major league sports stadiums, PNC Park and Heinz Field. Being developed in partnership with Nationwide Realty Investors, the six-story, approximately 270,000-sf office development will rise on the Heinz Field side of the Fort Duquesne Bridge, which bisects the property. Late 2005 is the expected completion date.The impetus to start the estimated $30-million project is a long-term lease commitment by Del Monte Foods. The San Francisco-based company has signed a 15-year lease for about 65% of the space in the development, which is designed as two six-story buildings — one with larger floor plates than the other — whose top four floors are joined with an additional span of office space.Continental’s president of development Barry Ford tells GlobeSt.com that Del Monte will occupy all but the ground floor of the larger building, three of the four floors of office space spanning the two buildings and the top floor of the smaller building. The remaining office space on floors 2-5 in the smaller building and on the third-floor span is not yet leased, and a broker for the space has not yet been selected. The ground floor of both buildings will house 40,000 sf of retail space that also has not yet been leased.Del Monte acquired its Pittsburgh presence in December 2002 when it bought Heinz’s U.S. and Canadian pet food, US tuna, private label soup and US baby food businesses and took over Heinz’s Pittsburgh manufacturing plants. Del Monte spokesperson Melissa Murphy tells GlobeSt.com that to fill the new North Shore building the company will be vacating four of six buildings it occupies on the north side of the city. Some of the buildings are leased and some of the buildings are owned, says Murphy. Mike D’Amico and Brad Cotton with Grubb & Ellis in Pittsburgh represented Del Monte in its lease negotiations. All parties declined comment on the negotiated lease rate.Continental leases the land it is developing from the Sports and Exhibition Authority, which also owns the two stadiums. The lease can run 99 years if all extension options are exercised, says Ford. The company’s first development on the land was a 140,000-sf that is leased by Equitable Gas for its headquarters. That building sits on the PNC park side of the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Ford says there is room for five or six buildings on the remaining acreage, all of which can be as tall as 10 stories. When the land is built out in five years or so, there will be about 725,000 sf of office space, about 200,000 sf of retail and about 300 apartment units, he says.

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