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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
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Sampson Morris Group to redevelop Wholey's Building in Pittsburgh's Strip District

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Monroeville-based Sampson Morris Group is making preliminary plans to redevelop Wholey’s cold storage building located at 1501 Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

Company president Michael Morris says that mixed-use options have been considered, but that a residential use is planned. “We have the ability to do warehouse, office and/or residential. We’re favoring for-sale condos,” adds Morris, who expects the project to feature up to 140 units and 200 indoor parking spaces. “There might be a small amount of retail.”

The firm is under agreement to purchase the 330,000-square-foot, seven-story property. “We’re working through the structural analysis, due diligence and designs, and talking to with the city,” adds Morris, who says condos will range in size from 800 to 1,200 square feet.  “It’s a phenomenal location. We can attract people who want to walk to the Cultural District or the Strip on Saturdays. Access to the building is terrific.”

Morris is working with Chip Desmone and Eric Booth of Lawrenceville-based Desmone & Associates Architects on preliminary designs. The redevelopment calls for installing windows, stair shafts, elevators, and garbage shoots.

Built in 1930 as a cold storage building, the concrete double-walled property contains a three-foot exterior structure. “There’s a lot of demo work required. We’re going to use the entire building. It’s very doable, and will be one of the quietest buildings on the block,” adds Morris, who has looked at cold storage loft conversion projects in Kansas City and Chicago. “It’ll appeal to all sorts of individual architectural tastes—the soft loft look, exposed brick, and the more urban sophisticated look. We’ll be able to build it out in various degrees.”

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Michael Morris, president, Sampson Morris Group
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