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PNC to build greenest building on earth, a 40-story, $400 million headquarters downtown

Planned as the world's greenest building, the proposed $400 million, 40-story Tower at PNC Plaza to be built at Fifth and Wood Sts. will profoundly impact the continuing revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh.

At around 800,000 square feet, the Tower will serve a rapidly growing PNC exclusively, according to PNC chairman and CEO Jim Rohr. With an aim to exceed the certification for LEED Platinum, it will exemplify PNC's "relentless commitment to green buildings," says Rohr whose company now "has more LEED buildings than any company on earth."

The Tower will feature office space to accommodate 3000, along with street-level retail, 300 parking spaces below and a rooftop garden. "It will dramatically increase the value and appreciation of Fifth Avenue downtown," Rohr says.

San Francisco-based firm Gensler will design the building, while Pittsburgh's P.J. Dick will handle construction. The U.K.'s Buro Happold was hired for engineering and Seattle's Paladino & Company will help with the green building aspects.

In the "worst kept secret" as Rohr called the announcement of the building at a press conference Monday afternoon, PNC has quietly acquired six properties, which were not for sale, totaling 31,000 square feet around Fifth, Forbes and Wood Street. It is seeking to acquire three more properties totally about 6,000 square feet from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Ultimately, this will give Pittsburgh an even bigger spotlight on the global stage, says Saulson. "We think the Tower at PNC Plaza will be a destination," he predicts. "It will draw people from around the world, and hopefully some people who want to emulate it."

With a design focused heavily on glass, each employee will have access to natural light, says Gary Saulson, director of corporate real estate at PNC. "It's going to be a phenomenal work environment." Saulson adds that the Tower will consume less than 50 percent of the energy a typical office building uses and will save PNC at least 30 percent on its energy costs.

At the press conference, Richard Fedrizzi, president of the U.S. Green Building Council, commended PNC for being a major corporation that showed faith in green design and for its world-class leadership that "helped begin a movement that is changing building and communities around the world." Mayor Luke Ravenstahl hailed the building for helping usher in the "Third Rennaissance" and continuing the positive momentum for Pittsburgh.

Deconstruction of buildings on the site will begin later this year, and construction is expected to start in spring 2012. The Tower at PNC Plaza is scheduled for completion in summer 2015.

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Writer: Alex Audia and Tracy Certo
Source: Jim Rohr and Gary Saulson, PNC

Image courtesy of PNC
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