Since their incorporation in 1946, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) has remained committed to creating jobs, expanding the city’s tax base, and improving the vitality of the city’s businesses and neighborhoods. As the economic development agency of Pittsburgh, the URA facilitates community-driven projects that provide residents and local leadership a voice in the decisions that shape their own neighborhoods.
After spending many decades in their former space that had fallen into disrepair, the URA was ready for a significant transformation in their workplace. The goal was to meet the needs of a changing workforce and to clearly reflect the values of the organization.
To maximize their impact on the region, the URA, City of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority purchased the former Art Institute building at 412 Boulevard of the Allies with plans to relocate to a larger, newly renovated facility. The new space would create a one-stop-shop for URA’s growing departments to provide enhanced services, guidance, and resources to the businesses and neighborhoods throughout the City of Pittsburgh.
In March of 2019, the URA selected Volpatt Construction as the General Contractor for the 34,000 SF renovation of the interior office build-out on the 8th and 9th floor. The scope included new casework, drywall, flooring, ceilings as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection modifications.
Becoming perhaps the most impactful feature of the space – and a unique installation – is the double-height map of the city printed onto cork-faced panels that serves as the backdrop to the new staircase and connects both URA floors at the heart of the new space.
This project was met with several challenges that required considerable preparation and coordination. Whether it was the cork map installation, or the fact that the steel staircase was crane-lifted in through a window 3 stories high and carried up another 5 stories, while dealing with a broken elevator, the Volpatt Construction team did its best to remove all obstacles to get the project completed in a timely manner.
Part of achieving the URA’s objective included setting specific sustainability goals, including targeting Silver level certification under the LEED v4 ID+C: Commercial Interiors rating system. LEED v4 is considered the most rigorous green building rating systems in the world. Volpatt was able to effectively facilitate and advance the documentation process to support the URA’s LEED v4 Silver application.
At least 75% of the construction and demolition debris (by weight) had to be diverted from the landfill. Unfortunately, a group of dumpster divers stole metal waste and nearly jeopardized Silver certification. Volpatt teamed up with Strada to explore and submit a pilot credit that brought the project back on track to help obtain the desired LEED rating.
In December 2019, the Volpatt construction team delivered a successful project to the URA and brought their vision to fruition. It has been such a reward for the team to provide much needed space to such an impactful organization. This project highlights a critical priority shared by Volpatt Construction and the URA that centers around improving local communities and the need to build for a better tomorrow.
Client: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Area: 33,000 SF
Value: $2 Million
Completed date: General Construction
Category: Commercial, Green Building