Kit Mueller, co-founder of
and Built In Pittsburgh
, plans to buy the building at 6400 Hamilton Avenue in East Liberty and turn it into something he’s calling The Forge
— Pittsburgh’s first innovation campus.
“The intent is to provide a framework for all that’s happening in that neck of the woods,” says Mueller.
Each floor in the 98,000 square-foot building is big enough to hold one fairly large company, as well as flexible space for growing companies. The building, which is more than 100 years old and formerly served as a slaughterhouse, will include education and maker space, a rooftop nanotel — living quarters made from recycled shipping containers for use by visiting teachers and innovators — and agritecture, a state-of-the-art operation for sustainable, urban, indoor farming.
The building should be ready for tenants within about 20 months.
“Other rust belt cities are doing this sort of thing, and this will add our own special flavor for what’s going on here in the ‘Burgh,” he says. “This wouldn’t be feasible in some other parts of the city, and we’re glad to be doing it where the rest of the innovation is happening.”
One of the main ideas behind building an innovation campus, Mueller says, is that it would not only provide affordable space for businesses coming out of startup incubators, but that it would have enough space to retain them as they grew and keep them in geographically close like-minded institutions, such as Google, Tech Shop and Thrill Mill.
“You never have to grow out of the building. You come out of the accelerators and grow into a full floor.”
Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Kit Mueller