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U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence Unit Relocates in Pittsburgh

An Army artificial intelligence unit is moving into about 13,000 square feet of space leased by Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University at Bakery Office Two, according to real estate sources.

Artificial Intelligence
(TNS) — The U.S. Army is joining the ranks of Bakery Square.

An Army artificial intelligence unit is moving into about 13,000 square feet of space leased by Carnegie Mellon University at Bakery Office Two, according to real estate sources.

The move represents an expansion for the unit, believed to be affiliated with the Army's Artificial Intelligence Integration Center.

It had been operating out of a much smaller space at the National Robotics Engineering Center in the Strip District. The center is part of CMU's Robotics Institute.

"CMU's research portfolio continues to grow, and we have recently subleased additional space at Bakery Square to support collaborative research with our partners, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence," the university said in a statement.

"Some of our current partners are from across the Department of Defense, including organizations associated with the U.S. Army as well as CMU's Software Engineering Institute, which also leases space at Bakery Square."

The move is expected to bring about 100 people to the Bakery Square complex, which borders Larimer and Shadyside. CMU apparently got the space from UPMC, which subleased a vacant suite to the university.

Jeremy Kronman, a CBRE vice chairman who leases office space at Bakery Square but who wasn't involved in the Army deal, said the move and expansion show the strength of the city's university sector in attracting business — or in this case, the military.

" Pittsburgh's university sector continues to attract best-in-class companies and U.S. government organizations to take advantage of the incredibly smart pool of talent our city generates," he said.

Bakery Square is probably most well-known as the Pittsburgh headquarters of Google. But the gigantic search engine company isn't the only tech-oriented firm to put down roots at the complex.

Sheetz, the Altoona-based convenience store chain, is putting the finishing touches on a 20,000-square-foot tech office that will house its information technology, data and innovation departments at Bakery Office Four.

Walnut Capital, the developer behind Bakery Square, bought the two-story office building from Matthews International in 2019. The Sheetz space was an outgrowth of an innovation and technology hub the company has at Bakery Office Two.

Other companies located within the Bakery Square complex include Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care Group, which moved its headquarters into the East End from Murrysville.

Others with a presence at Bakery Square include UPMC Enterprises and the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Mr. Kronman believes the Army and companies like Philips are making the move to what he calls the university sector — Oakland and the East End — from the suburbs or other parts of the city to be closer to the student talent pool.

"The Strip is great for robotics, but when you want software and that kind of firepower, you want to be near the universities," he said.

The Army isn't the only one looking to expand into the East End.

Apple is believed to be considering about 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of space in the Assembly, the former Model T Ford plant in Bloomfield that has been converted into a biotech hub.

The iPhone maker currently has its Pittsburgh headquarters in the Strip. It's unclear whether Apple's interest in the Assembly is tied to an expansion, a relocation, or both.

Language learning startup Duolingo, meanwhile, is nearly doubling its local footprint by taking up to 38,000 square feet in Liberty East, the LG Realty Advisors development in East Liberty that also will be the new East End location for Whole Foods Market.

The demand for space in the Oakland-East End corridor is borne out by the asking rent. At $37.50 a square foot in the first quarter, the rate was the highest in the region, according to the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm. Space at Bakery Square itself is leasing for as high as $45 a square foot.

© 2022 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.