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Market Facts

Major corporations place Downtown Pittsburgh in the nation’s top ten for headquarters of Fortune 500 companies, but being Downtown provides important advantages for smaller businesses, too. Downtown Pittsburgh is home to some of the most innovative start-up companies in the country, including those from Pittsburgh’s vital technology sector.

The geographic center of the region, Downtown is easily accessible, with a variety of transportation options. It also has more than 30-million square feet of office space with highly competitive rental rates. An eclectic mix of architecture, from meticulously restored historic structures to the latest in contemporary design, allows a business to find a space that perfectly suits its personality.

Through extensive data collection, the PDP serves as the top-of-mind resource for all things Downtown by leveraging our work in economic development, real estate, transportation, clean and safe programs, marketing and advocacy. 

Below find information on the following markets:

  • Office
  • Residential
  • Retail
  • Visitors/Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Environment

The Downtown Pittsburgh office market makes up over 47% of the entire Pittsburgh office sector. Starting 2013 with an occupancy rate of 92.9%, the Central Business District (CBD) continues its five-year upward progression as one of the strongest markets in the country. At the end of 2012 the CBD was ranked as the strongest market in the U.S. by occupancy rate and the second by lease rate according to national real estate firm CBRE. Average lease rates increased 2.69% in 2012 and by 4.59% since 2010. The Class B market continues to tighten with the ongoing office-to-residential conversions by developers such as PMC Property Group.  The notable acquisitions for repurpose include the Regional Enterprise Tower, the former Reed Smith Building and the Clark Building. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland vacated its longtime home on Grant Street by shifting local staffing to Oxford Centre and placed the empty building for sale through a closed bidding process with an announcement of proposed use expected soon. 

2012 was a year of growth and expansion in the residential realm. The U.S. Census noted a 21.3% increase in population in the Greater Downtown between 2000 and 2010, a significant increase in what has traditionally been a commercial center. While U.S. Census estimates are not available for the period between 2010 and the end of 2012, the PDP tracks 632 additional units that came online in that time period. At an average occupancy rate of 95.9% and estimating 1.5 residents per unit, we can estimate 909 new residents in Downtown since 2010.The Greater Downtown market ended 2012 with an occupancy rate of 95.9% up from 93.6% at the end of 2012, while 537 new units came online in 2012. On the condominium side, 63 units sold in 2012 with an average sales price of $398,416. The average unit size was 1,579 square feet with an average sales price of $217 per square foot, compared to an average unit size of 1,236 square feet and a price of $208 per square foot in 2011. These strong numbers shows the continued strength of the Downtown residential sector, making the market more attractive to outside investors. The residential market is rapidly growing and more apartments and condominiums are planned and under construction as interest in urban living increases and more people call Downtown Pittsburgh home. 

Downtown Pittsburgh is becoming very well known for its dining scene, providing a wide range of options to suite anyone’s tastes. More than 15 restaurants opened in 2012 including Bluebird Kitchen, Osteria 100, Sienna Sulla Piazza, Sal’s City Deli and Stone Neapolitan Pizza to name a few. The PDP maintains a list of over 300 restaurants in Greater Downtown. Upon the realization that a more coordinated effort is needed to attract new retail, the City of Pittsburgh convened the Downtown Retail Working Group - a group composed of representatives from Downtown retailers, businesses, real estate developers and brokers as well as the many institutions that are investing in Downtown, with the leadership of the URA - in order to enhance the retail experience by creating a comprehensive strategy focused on three on key areas: marketing, urban design and retail attraction and retention. 

There’s no doubt that visitor spending is an important part of economic vitality, and Downtown has the venues and assets that continue to support the sector. In 2011, total visitor spending in Allegheny County increased 10.4% to $5.3 billion from $4.8 billion in 2010. Hotel occupancy peaked at 81% in October and averaged 67.3% for the year, up from 65.1% in 2011 and 64% in 2010. The average daily rate for 2012 was $150.60 and the revenue per available room was $102.10, a 2.6% and 6.4% increase respectively. Downtown arts and entertainment amenities continue to serve workers and residents while acting as regional destinations. Already in 2013, Pittsburgh has been named in the top 10 international travel destinations by Jetsetter Magazine. 

Public Transportation was an important topic of conversation in 2012 beginning with the announcement of a major budget crisis at the Port Authority of Allegheny County that had the potential to cut service by 35% in September. As a result, the transit system increased fares in July on all routes, ranging from 11% to 15% but service cuts were temporarily avoided with the aid of $35 million from the state and county along with labor concessions. T ridership averaged an increase of nearly 18% in the nine months following the March opening of the North Shore Connector, whereas the first three months of the year averaged a 2.1% net increase. January 2012 in comparison to January 2011 shows a 1.7% decrease in T ridership while January 2012 to January 2013 shows a 24% increase. Beginning in the fall, five alternative plans for the Downtown to Oakland Bus Rapid Transit corridor study were presented to the public. Feasibility planning for Bus Rapid Transit into Oakland continues as additional benefits, impacts and capital cost estimates are determined. The high occupancy rates in Downtown garages may feel a reprieve over the next few years as two currently planned parking projects are implemented. Following a successful pilot program in the Cultural District, ParkPGH has expanded to the North Shore and into the Downtown Central Business District with the assistance of Alco Parking and the Pittsburgh Parking Authority. 

Pittsburgh is ranked 14th nationally for the number of LEED certified projects with Pennsylvania ranking fifth among U.S. states. Multiple Downtown buildings and venues became LEED certified in 2012, including the August Wilson Center for Performing Arts and SportWorks at Carnegie Science Center for New Construction, and the redevelopment of Market Square Place was certified for Core and Shell reuse. Multiple floors in various office buildings in Downtown have become LEED certified Commercial Interiors throughout 2012 including the U.S. Steel Tower, 525 William Penn Place and One PNC Plaza. In addition, over 14% of the total CBD office space is Energy Star labeled totaling just about 3.3 million square feet. This theme of sustainability expanded in 2012 with the creation of the Pittsburgh 2030 District including goals to decrease emissions in Downtown by 50% before the year 2030. 

Downtown Made Easy Shop and Dine Guide State of Pittsburgh Downtown Made Easy Map

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