Jewish Federation about to close on 10-year lease
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Community updatesFederation to close on lease for Technology Drive location

Jewish Federation about to close on 10-year lease

The Federation plans to move from its current location on McKee Place in Oakland to a new building on Technology Drive. Organizational offices are expected to move in early 2019.

The properties on McKee Place have been home to the Federation since 1955. (Courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh)
The properties on McKee Place have been home to the Federation since 1955. (Courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh may have found its new home. The organization is “in final negotiations” on a 10-year lease at 2000 Technology Drive, according to Adam Hertzman, Federation’s director of marketing.

“The board has approved the lease,” and although the document remains unsigned, everything should go through “once the final issues are worked out,” said Hertzman. That process should be resolved “in the next few days.”

While the Federation’s current multiple-story home at 234 McKee Place in Oakland comprises roughly 13,000 square feet, the new site will boast a single level measuring 16,925 square feet.

The added area is of incredible benefit, said Hertzman.

“It will be great for the community because there are much better meeting spaces,” he explained. “Our volunteers will not need to be stuck in windowless meeting rooms. There’s a lot more collaborative space and a much nicer welcome area where we can feature the way donor money is helping in the community.”

Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish community umbrella organization, said the new location will enable the Federation to better serve its constituents.

“We are excited to move into this great space that will enable us to welcome the community better and will provide an excellent working environment for our dedicated staff,” he said.

The move has been in development for some time.

Although the Federation has been looking for a new building for at least the past six years, “we began the process in earnest about a year and a half ago when we were looking to sell the building,” said Hertzman. “When that became clear that it would be a reality, we started to look about a year ago” for a new location.

“We’re all looking forward to a more efficient and effective workplace so that our organization has the opportunity to better provide for the needs of the Jewish community,” said David Sufrin, who led a volunteer committee dedicated to finding Federation’s new home.

While exploring commercial properties throughout the greater Pittsburgh area, Sufrin worked with real estate broker Jamie Pivarnick of CBRE and attorney Alan Gordon of McGuireWoods. Hertzman noted that “there are a large number of commercial real estate owners in Pittsburgh who are Jewish families, and many of them are generous donors to the Federation, so of course because of the conflict of interest they were not involved in the search process.”

Financial details of the deal were not released, but Hertzman said the move is “cost neutral.”

“We owned our current building and we are leasing the current space. There is cost savings in the fact that we don’t have to maintain the new building,” he said. “About the only thing we’ll miss about the old building is that it’s closer to restaurants.”

As for the new building, it’s more “disabled accessible,” said Hertzman. Parking, in particular, will be closer to the building’s entrance.

Once the current tenants vacate the space owned by Silk & Stewart Development Group, which should occur in late 2018, the Federation will begin its “buildout,” said Hertzman. Organizational offices are expected to move during early 2019.

There is an option for the Federation to utilize additional space on the second floor of the building, as well as the ability to renew the lease with Silk & Stewart for two additional five-year terms.

“We’re excited to have the Jewish Federation join our other tenants at 2000 Technology Drive,” said Andrew Stewart, principal of Tech Drive Partners, LLC, the legal entity under which Silk & Stewart is renting the building.

One change attendant to the move is the inability for the Federation to erect a sukkah in the parking lot as they were able to do in their current home. No worry, said Hertzman. “Now we can put the sukkah up on the patio.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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