Boston Firm Acquires Landmark Union Trust Building in Downtown Pittsburgh

The Davis Companies, a real estate investment and development firm based in Boston, has acquired the historic Union Trust Building in downtown Pittsburgh. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the company purchased the property for $14 million at a recent sheriff sale.

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The Davis Companies, a real estate investment and development firm based in Boston, has acquired the historic Union Trust Building in downtown Pittsburgh. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the company purchased the property for $14 million at a recent sheriff sale.

Designed by renowned architect Frederick J. Osterling, the 11-story, 517,376-square-foot Flemish Gothic structure is one of the most architecturally distinct properties in the city. It first opened in 1917, with 240 shops on the first four levels and 700 offices on the upper floors.

Currently in a state of disrepair, the property has generated legal disputes in recent years and is only 39 percent occupied. Its former owner, 501 Grant Street Partners, filed for bankruptcy last year.

The Davis Companies’ offer outbid lender SA Challenger, an affiliate of U.S. Bank, which won a $41.4 million judgment against 501 Grant Street Partners in 2012.

The transaction marks the first acquisition for The Davis Companies in Pittsburgh. The firm led by Jonathan Davis, who grew up in Squirrel Hill, owns and manages more than 100 office, retail, industrial, multifamily and health care/bioscience properties in 12 states.

The company now plans to make significant investments to rehabilitate the Union Trust Building and attract more tenants.

In other news, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports that nonprofit Brew House Association has retained local contractor Trek Development to convert the historic Brew House on the city’s South Side into a mixed-income housing complex. The property, which will be reserved to local artists, will offer a total of 75 apartments, including 14 studios, 55 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units.

Lab 8 Designs Inc. is the architect of the project, which will move forward with the help of a grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

The organization has recently awarded $4,324,328 in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for a total of five affordable housing projects in Pittsburgh. Besides the Brew House redevelopment, the other winning projects include Larimer/East Liberty Phase I, Garfield Glen Phase II, Penn Mathilda Apartments (Bloomfield/Garfield) and Parkside Manor (Brookline).

Photo credits: HoboJones via Wikimedia Commons