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Nov. 10: Carnegie Mellon Purchases Additional Properties for Future Development Along Forbes-Craig Corridor


Ken Walters               

Carnegie Mellon Purchases Additional Properties for
Future Development Along Forbes-Craig Corridor

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has purchased three nearby Forbes Avenue properties, including the former site of an Exxon service station at 4621 Forbes, from Museum Park Partners, a land development firm, for future development in the Forbes Avenue and Craig Street corridors. In addition to the former service station, the purchase includes a hillside just east of 4621 and a house on Filmore Street, which sits behind 4621 and adjacent to a parking lot for the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) building. Carnegie Mellon and Museum Park Partners completed the closing Nov. 9.
"We are pleased to have come to this recent purchase, as it will allow Carnegie Mellon to plan for a holistic redevelopment of a property that is critically important to the university," said Ralph Horgan, associate vice provost for Campus Design and Facility Development. "This purchase, combined with our earlier land acquisitions along Forbes Avenue, represents one of the most significant expansions of the main campus in the university's history, and provides for the otherwise impossible contiguous development of our campus along Forbes to Craig Street, forming the key for future expansion and growth, which will benefit students, faculty, staff and the community at large."
Horgan noted that property is at a very high premium in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, especially near Craig Street, which has one of the lowest property vacancy rates of any area in the country.
"This recent purchase completes our strategic assembly of large parcels along the Forbes-Craig corridor," said Horgan, who noted that Carnegie Mellon now owns the majority of land along Forbes from Craig Street to Margaret Morrison Street. "In the future, this corridor will provide a 'front door' to our campus from Oakland."
Horgan also said the redevelopment of this latest purchase will enhance the university's other investments on campus, such as its Collaborative Innovation Center — the only building in the world where Google, Intel, Apple and a Microsoft Research Lab live under one roof — and the recently completed Gates Center for Computer Science and Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies. "Our students are benefiting from the increased instructional space, and our corporate partners value our quality development," Horgan said. "For this Forbes-Craig corridor, the university believes that mixed-use development provides the best economic model for the university, the city and our corporate partners. The university will work from a plan that allows for the orderly coordination of uses, parking, traffic and design."
The recent acquisition follows the purchase of three acres of land along Forbes Avenue this past summer, which included a lot in Junction Hollow on the south side of Forbes Avenue, the GATF building at 4615 Forbes, a parking lot behind the GATF building, and the National City Bank property and building at 4612 Forbes.
In an email to the campus community last summer, Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon said these contiguous properties were strategically located to enable future growth that will benefit the university and the region. He said the investment was of compelling importance to the university's future growth, even in such a challenging economic time.

These properties, which were purchased for approximately $25 million, and the recent purchase of the three additional Forbes Avenue properties for $7.5 million are being funded from working capital reserves of the university.
In 2008, Carnegie Mellon purchased the properties at 4620, 4622 and 4626-4628 Forbes Avenue, which housed a bar, vintage clothing shop and restaurant.