As developers await the stabilization of the office market, they continue to gravitate toward housing and other uses in the popular Strip District neighborhood.
With new housing comes new residents. In a recently released State of the Strip District report, Strip District Neighbors — a nonprofit dedicated to promoting economic development and quality of life in the neighborhood — indicate the neighborhood’s population is expected to double again within the next two to three years.
The third annual report says the residential population, currently 3,214, has grown 316% since 2015.
“The Strip currently has 2,297 rental and for-sale units combined, 35 under construction and 2,111 units expected to deliver within the next few years,” the report reads. “Once these new units are completed, the Strip is poised to see its current residential population double again.”
In the report, Pamela Austin, president and board chair of Strip District Neighbors, notes the influx of entertainment venues — such as Puttshack, Puttery, Sandbox VR and City Winery, in the Terminal on Smallman Street, and reopening of Pittsburgh Winery in the Franklin on Penn building — have driven residential sales and retail openings.
“Brick-and-mortar storefronts continue to thrive in the Strip District, with 17 new retail and restaurants established in 2022, primarily along Smallman Street,” the report continues.
Eleven new shops, restaurants, financial services and event venues are also in the works.
Austin adds the completion of Forte Condominiums on Penn Avenue added to the “sizable portion of for-sale home transactions,” and mentioned the addition of notable institutions — the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and the Richard K. Mellon Foundation, as well as Oshkosh Corp. that are also fueling the boom.
The Strip District is part of the “Downtown Fringe” submarket, which accounts for 15% of all Pittsburgh’s office inventory, according to the report.
While the area is in high demand, the report says there is substantial space to fill the most recent office developments in the neighborhood — Oxford’s 75 Hopper Place at 3 Crossings and Burns Scalo Real Estate’s Vision on Fifteenth.
In an effort to combat “extreme headwinds” in the office market caused by corporations giving back space, downsizing, hybrid work-from-home models and interest rates and inflation, city officials have passed legislation to streamline the zoning process to convert office space to residential space.
The city has also piloted a $9 million residential conversion program in partnership with the state and county.
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