Nabisco Building – Bakery Square, Pittsburgh

Sep 16, 2012

This is the second in a series of posts about the adaptive reuse of Nabisco buildings around the country. The quality of construction and the location of these properties make them ideal focal points for urban revitalization.

Original Nabisco Building - Pittsburgh

From boom, to blight, to a rebirth that has made it home to Google offices, the seven-story, 495,000 square-foot Nabisco bakery in Pittsburgh has quite a story to tell. Here it is.

The building was constructed in 1918 in the East Liberty neighborhood, less than six miles from downtown Pittsburgh. It was expanded in 1928 and 1948. Nabisco operated the plant for 80 years before closing its doors in 1998. The next year, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) bought the plant and leased the property to Atlantic Baking Company. The factory later was leased to the Bake-Line Group of Oak Brook, Ill., until that company declared bankruptcy in 2004.

Nabisco Building - Bakery Square Pittsburgh 02

The old Nabisco building remained vacant for a few years and was declared “blighted” by the city of Pittsburgh in 2006.

The building’s rebirth began in 2007, when Walnut Capital purchased the property with major redevelopment plans. They dubbed the project “Bakery Square,” recognizing the site’s history in producing baked goods. Walnut Capital was able to keep the factory as part of its adaptive reuse and add a tower, while demolishing only a section of the site’s three-story structure. The rest was refurbished.

Nabisco Building - Bakery Square Pittsburgh 01

The property has been redeveloped as a multi-use lifestyle center, offering retail and office space, a fitness center and a 110-room hotel. Tenants include the University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Technology Development Center and, more recently, the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Click here to view a video on Bakery Square’s history and development.

The building also has become home to a number of high-tech companies, most notably Google. In 2009, Google leased 40,000 square feet of space, occupying the sixth and seventh floors. Check it out; it’s amazing how modern an almost 100-year-old building can look. Google must like old Nabisco buildings—they have offices in the refurbished Chelsea Market facility in New York City, as well.

Nabisco Building Pittsburgh - Google Giant Hammock

The story in the link above shows a giant hammock hanging in Google’s offices in the Bakery Square building. What type of outside-the-box ideas do you think we could incorporate into U-Haul Moving and Storage of Detroit, another historic Nabisco building?

Next up, we’ll take a look at the adaptive reuse of a Nabisco building in Los Angeles and how it helps the revitalization of the surrounding community.

Read more about the current state of other Nabisco buildings.


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