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SEI to expand to new Bakery Square location

Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor

Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is now expanding into Bakery Square in East Liberty. The university spin-off research center has recently leased 38,000 square feet of space from a now LEED-certified old Nabisco Bakery in Bakery Square.

Google, the University of Pittsburgh Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, the UPMC Technology Development Center, and the VA Human Engineering Research Laboratories also reside in office complexes in the Bakery Square center. The SEI’s expansion will be housed on the first floor.

The lease was made by Walnut Capital Partners, and was officially announced to the public Sept. 12.

Paul Nielsen, director and CEO of the SEI, said in an email, “We’re over capacity in our Oakland offices and need more space due to growth in staffing. Bakery Square offered the best value and is still relatively close to campus compared to other office space available in the Pittsburgh area.”

Nielsen went on to emphasize that the SEI was “not ‘moving’ to Bakery Square, but expanding to there.” He said, “We will still remain in our existing Oakland sites — 4500 Fifth Ave., the CIC building, Sterling Plaza and the RAND building.”

As recorded in the SEI’s official press release, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said, “I am thrilled to welcome SEI to Bakery Square — a development that has been essential to the recent transformation of Pittsburgh’s East End. The announcement that Bakery Square is now 100 percent leased is an exciting and significant milestone for the project’s many dedicated stakeholders, especially Walnut Capital and RCG Longview Fund. The anticipation now rises for Bakery Square 2.0, which will provide even more office space, create more jobs, and grow our thriving high-tech innovation economy.”

The SEI describes itself on its website as a “a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Defense,” and works “closely with defense and government organizations, industry, and academia to continually improve software-intensive systems. Its core purpose is to help organizations to improve their software engineering capabilities and to develop or acquire the right software, defect free, within budget and on time, every time.”

The SEI’s website also explains that the institute was founded in 1984 at Carnegie Mellon by the Department of Defense, and currently has over 500 employees, with offices in Los Angeles; Arlington, Va.; and Frankfurt, Germany.

The SEI’s government contract was recently extended through June 2015 for $584 million, according to a previous SEI press release.

“Expansions space was necessary because the staff we had in current facilities were getting overcrowded,” said Richard Lynch, the public relations manager for the SEI.

Lynch said that Bakery Square was chosen as a location “for a combination of reasons: We needed more space immediately, and that space is somewhat convenient to CMU and other SEI locations.”

According to Lynch, finance and business support services were the main departments being moved to Bakery Square. Lynch said that the move “frees up a certain amount of space in the main SEI building to facilitate more research staff.”