Goodwill plans for new headquarters building sometime in future


Wanted to buy: 100,000 sq. ft. building preferably on one floor with high ceilings and accessible to public transportation. Must be handicapped accessible. Call Mike…

Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania is looking for a new headquarters building and has enlisted Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services help to not only find the new home, but also renovate the new building.

"We're not moving just for the sake of moving," said Mike Smith, CEO of Goodwill. The current seven-story headquarters (with one elevator) was built in 1919 as the company store for a local steel maker.

Mr. Smith said that the cost of bringing the headquarters up to date would be greater than relocating. He added their priorities include finding a location that will service their clients well. There is no set timetable for the move.

Goodwill serves more than 100,000 people annually and helps nearly 2,000 people find employment each year. Although the existing headquarters has more than 150,000 square, they are looking for a building that is approximately 100,000 square feet, a portion of which has high ceilings to accommodate some of their programs.

One of Goodwill's primary concerns in finding a new location is the availability of public transportation. As many of their clients live on the South Side, their preference would be to stay in the area.

Goodwill officials have already looked at several new sites and dismissed them as possibilities saying they were older buildings and would require as many renovations as their current headquarters.

As part of a three phase agreement with Burns & Scalo, the real estate developer has also agreed to buy the Goodwill building and several additional nearby properties. Mr. Smith declined to say how much the developer is paying for the properties by stating although the building is under agreement, they haven't closed on the sale as of yet.

Initial plans call for 50-75 one and two bedroom apartments on the upper floors with retail on the first floor. Indoor parking will be provided for the apartments in the lower level and behind the current building at 26th and E. Carson streets.

Goodwill's store at 27th and E. Carson and a program facility at 24th and E. Carson are not part of the package of properties Burns & Scalo is buying.

James Scalo, president of Burns & Scalo called the Goodwill headquarters "the jewel of South Side" and expected the conversion to apartments to cost in the neighborhood of $15-$20 million. The project could become larger if they decide to extend the building up Carson Street.

The new apartments would all be market rate and condos aren't being considered for the property at this time.

"We would add a second building if we wanted more units," he said.

Burns & Scalo has no plans for the auxiliary properties at this time.

Before the 12-15 month project can begin, Goodwill will have to find a new location, renovate and relocate. Mr. Scalo admitted that Goodwill is "looking for the Cinderella slipper" in a new headquarters and could take a while to find the right location.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl offered the URA's help in renovating the building for apartments.

"We think the future for this site is wonderful," Mayor Ravenstahl said noting the proximity to SouthSide Works.


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