A Philadelphia developer is poised to grab yet another property Downtown, its fifth in the last two years.
PMC Property Group has signed a sales agreement with Alco Parking president Merrill Stabile to buy the Jackman Building at 526 Penn Ave. next to the Penn and Sixth Street parking garage in the Cultural District.
The 10-story building has been largely vacant since the Art Institute of Pittsburgh moved out a decade ago. The first floor houses a Subway sandwich shop and Quest Diagnostics. Floors 2 through 10 are empty.
Mr. Stabile said PMC plans to convert the upper floors into apartments, just as it has done or plans to do with several of the other buildings it has acquired.
"One of the appealing things about the deal is that I knew these guys had the ability to truly breathe life into [the building]," Mr. Stabile said. "I'm really happy to do business with these guys. They have a lot of confidence in the city, and they're making some great investments Downtown."
Mr. Stabile's grandfather bought the property in the late 1960s. After the Art Institute left, Mr. Stabile said he tried to find other classroom-type uses for the building but could not find any takers. He said the 8,000-square-foot floor plates were not large enough for office use.
While others have shown interest in the property, Mr. Stabile said he settled on PMC because he liked what the company has been doing in Pittsburgh.
"I'm as excited about the prospective buyer as I am about the prospective sale," he said. "These guys are going to fill empty space. I think that's going to go a long way. The more we get people living Downtown, the more we're going to become a 24/7 city."
Terms of the sales have not been disclosed. Mr. Stabile said he hopes to close on the deal in 30 to 60 days.
Jerold Novick, PMC executive vice president, could not be reached for comment.
PMC entered the Downtown market in 2010 when it bought the former Verizon building on Stanwix Street for $4.4 million. It is now home to 158 apartment units and a charter school.
The developer also acquired the 117-unit Penn Garrison apartment building on Penn Avenue for $13.5 million and is now adding another 33 units. It paid $7 million for the Regional Enterprise Tower on Sixth Avenue and plans to convert the upper half of the 30-story building into apartments. It also has a deal with the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority to buy the John P. Robin Civic Building on Ross Street, with plans to transform it into housing.
Finally, PMC has bid $5.5 million to acquire the James Reed Building on Sixth across the street from the Regional Enterprise Tower. The building will be sold in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on Sept. 11.