Chicago company investing $10 million in vacant Canonsburg building

Katie Anderson

Observer Reporter

A Chicago real estate investment firm has started a $10 million project in Canonsburg.

Jeff Brown, CEO of T2 Capital Management, said his company last month purchased the former Fort Pitt Bridge Works building at 135 Meadow Lane, in the Fort Pitt Industrial Park. Brown said construction already has begun at the 130,583-square-foot building, which will soon be known as the Canonsburg Distribution Center.

“The building is located in a great market, and we saw a unique opportunity for local economic development,” Brown said in a news release. “Aside from the space and immense potential, the chance to be part of a hard-working and growing community certainly drew us to the location.”

According to the news release, the “state-of-the-art” facility will have a 30-foot clearing height and 12 shipping and receiving docks. Brown said his company has a similar, but much larger, distribution center in Columbus, Ohio. The Canonsburg building will be rented out to companies that need to store inventory that can be distributed locally.

The first tenant is an Illinois company, Anixter, that deals with electronics, security and utilities. Brown said in an interview Tuesday that one reason his company purchased the building was “Anixter’s interest in being in the Pittsburgh market,” and the proximity to the Southpointe business park.

Anixter already has signed on for a minimum of 10 years in the Canonsburg facility, and will take up about 38 percent of the space. It is expected to move into the building in September, once construction is complete, Brown said.

Brown said he’s in discussion with other potential tenants that he hopes to have signed by September.

“It’s a wide variety that we can accommodate,” he said.

The facility could mean jobs for the Canonsburg area, Brown said. Once the building is rented out, he said “dozens if not hundreds” could be employed there.

“Employment is certainly a positive,” Brown said. “The tenants will be the ones doing the hiring for whatever they need there.”

Brown said the borough of Canonsburg was “extremely helpful and cooperative” in the building permit process. He said the building will get new water and utility lines, lighting, electrical system and sprinkler system.

“The shell of the building will remain intact, but all of the interior will be new and some exterior,” he said. “It was always an industrial building, but it has been vacant for five years.”

The building had been owned by David Stoehr, president of Stoehr Development Group, who had planned to rejuvenate the brownfield site and construct commercial buildings back in 2009.

Brown hired Pittsburgh-based architects, engineers and P2 Contracting for the construction.

“Any time we venture into a new community, the ability to work together with local companies to move the project forward is invaluable,” he said in the release.

When asked about the project, Canonsburg Mayor Dave Rhome said, “We will have further comment as the project develops.”