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PITTSBURGH-TechAssist is moving its national operations center from Washington, DC to the National City Center, 20 Stanwix St. The information technology consulting business has signed a 10-year lease for 11,000 sf.

The estimated cost for the tenant improvements and new equipment is $1 million, according to a released statement from Gov. Edward Rendell’s office. The 338,000-sf building was acquired by New York City-based National City Center LP from UBS Realty Advisors in February 2006 for $23 million, sources say.

The company will open the new center Feb. 1, says Chris Knudson, president of the Washington, DC market for TechAssist. The operations center had been operating out of the company’s headquarters at 1225 19th St. NW in Washington, DC. “We have had a lot of engineers working remotely. This will consolidate it in one place,” he says.

Besides the network operations, the space will house a remote-support call center, back office functions and training facilities. The building, which was designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owning & Merrill, is 86% occupied with major tenants including National City Bank, The Hartford and GW Resources, says Andrew Miller, a broker with CB Richard Ellis’ Pittsburgh office. The asking lease rate for the building is $22 per sf full service. “The building fit well with what they were looking for with the image they wanted to present to their clients in terms of it being a well known class A building.”

TechAssist considered locations throughout the Midwest region for the operations center, Knudson says. “We were looking for an expansion market. We wanted to explore cities out of the Washington, DC area.” The company reviewed locations for the availability of qualified employees, the cost of real estate and economic incentives offered by the municipalities, he says. Cleveland and Pittsburgh were the finalists with TechAssist choosing Pittsburgh because of the proximity to Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh and the financial incentives. “The State of Pennsylvania offered a much better package.”

The company received a total of $439,200 in incentives including a $200,000 small business first loan, $100,000 opportunity grant, $43,200 in customized job training and $96,000 in tax credits for job creation. The move of the operations center is expected to create, within the next three years, at least 96 jobs, including engineering, sales, marking, administrative and executive positions. TechAssist has to remain in the state for a minimum of five years for the incentives, says Dennis Yablonsky, department of community and economic secretary.

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