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mjcatl2

Luxury hotel slated for Pittsburgh

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29-story tower combining eight floors of condominiums and 21 floors of a luxury hotel called the Pittsburgh Fireside Inn will rise like an architectural needle from the narrow Downtown plot. The building could one day be the city's tallest hotel and among the tallest Downtown construction projects in years.

On its Web site, www.prosperahospitality.com, Prospera showcases the proposed Pittsburgh Fireside Inn as a new property it has been selected to manage and operate. The Web site highlights a project that would feature 150 luxury suites, rooftop indoor/outdoor gardens and short walks to both the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the nearby Cultural District.

Check out the website for details, but no image is available yet, or the height of the building, but at 29 stories it should be a decent size tower.

or I forgot the link...

http://pittsburgh.bizjournals.com/pittsbur...tml?t=printable

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I was trying to visualize what building they were talking about that would come down to be replaced. Couldn't put it together though.

Also, if you go to the website linked in the article it has a rendering of the future riverfront hotel at South Side Works...it looks very strange

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Also, if you go to the website linked in the article it has a rendering of the future riverfront hotel at South Side Works...it looks very strange

Yes indeed, very strange. Looks like it could be a very nice piece of architecture, but it could also be ugly. I am looking out my window at the South Side Works right now and trying to visualize it there. There's enough of an architectural mix that it should fit in okay, I guess.

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Looks like it could be a very nice piece of architecture, but it could also be ugly.

Not to sound too reactionary, but I just don't think "super modern" architecture fits in very well in Pittsburgh. When they had the competition for the new convention center, I was so glad they picked the one they did. Those other crazy glass box designs just wouldn't have blended in to well with the river front. Maybe this hotel will fit in a little better given the more modern architecutre across the river at the technology park (where I assume you're looking from Gerbil!)

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The South Side hotel only looks out of place beacuse there's nothing else as tall around it. Maybe if they developed that area more.

As for modern architecture in Pittsburgh, I actually think it would it in great. The city's hills and rivers sort of demand something more flowing than the staid conservative boxes that now dominate downtown Pgh (with the exception of PPG) and something more expressionistic than the Victorian and Edwardian homes throughout the city.

The Convention Center is a good start - albeit too outsized in comparison to the surrounding area. What Pgh could really use is something like the Guggenheim in Bilbao that supposedly started a rennaissance there. After all, Pgh and Bilbao are simialr cities - both former industrial cities seeking a new direction.

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Actually, Pittsburgh is rich in great buildings of various designs and the mix allows for more interesting new buildings to blend in, despite being so different. I say, let them build that funky looking tower. My only concern is that the Southside might not be the best place for it, but oh well, I think that it still can be very positive to have something different like that...

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The South Side Works hotel is supposed to be the signature piece for the development. Something that could be recognized from water, hills and out of windows.

As for the Penn Avenue Fireside Inn, I highly doubt it will be built. Even in the article they mention the deadline for the building to be completed was 2006. It is probably an old idea that has fallen through. Right now Downtown Pittsburgh could only accommodate one more hotel. Occupancy rates have been at the mid-60s. Other discussed hotels include the delayed convention center hotel, one in the strip (by the Seagate building), and one for a casino. Downtown can't support that many more rooms to be filled each day. Things might change though, since the Hilton is for sale.

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The Hilton is pretty large. If those rooms went away - that would be pretty significant. I like the idea of condos there, but I would prefer they leveled the old Hilton and put up twin (narrower, maybe a little taller) condo buildings with current standards and amenities.

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^^about the Hilton, I have always wondered why they don't do some paint color schemes (similar to those condos on the Allegheny north shore--or are they apartment buildings or the color schemes for the new Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville). The Hilton could look 200% better with some blended and high gloss paint scheme maybe lighting scheme as well, rather then that crude 1960's soviet style beige. The Hilton really is a masterpiece but needs some updating.

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I read this forum and the Biz Journal religiously... yet somehow I missed this news of a 29-story tower last year! Well... looks like it won't be happening... here's the latest tidbit from the PGH Biz Times... maybe the new developer will have an exciting plan for it...

"Downtown luxury hotel, condo plan apparently scrapped as site sold. An ambitious plan to develop a 29-story luxury hotel and condo building called the Pittsburgh Fireside Inn apparently won't make it off the drawing board.

Hank Stewart, one of four owners of a five-story building at 943 Penn Ave., Downtown, that had been the proposed site for the inn, said the building has been sold to Solara Ventures LLC, a suburban Philadelphia-based developer."

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ok... just my thoughts...

Fireside Inn would've been at 943 Penn Ave... where an existing narrow 5-story structure abuts the 8 or 9 story Courtyard Marriott Inn next door. This would have been a very narrow 29-story tower. Check out the pics...

the white Courtyard building is on the right... just beyond it is 943 Penn

59120008.100_5397.jpg

from the other direction... 943 is at center left... Courtyard is just beyond it

66650618.QQKgIzOI.jpg

I'll admit I'm actually pretty glad this project fell through... the 900 block of Penn is a truly delightful part of downtown... it's an almost uninterrupted streetwall of "human-scaled" 5-10 story historic structures with gorgeous detailed facades... housing restaurants, music shops, Courtyard Marriott and the Penn Garrisson Apartments... this is also one of the best areas for shadetrees downtown... creating a wonderful canopy... I feel a 29-story tower would've ruined the intimacy and scale of this block. The current 5-story structure at 943 Penn appears to be rather unremarkable... so I wouldn't mind new construction there by the new developers... but I hope it retains the scale of this excellent block.

...

as for the Hilton... apparently they're doing some upgrades there... a new paint job will give it a glossy platinum finish...

...

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I never put two and two together on this one. I know who bought the building but I haven't seen formal plans. It is a good operation though, so I would expect something cool, but not radical like the previous project.

I'm not sure why people announce projects without even having purchase agreements or options on buildings. I guess its just to try and work up press support so financing is easier.

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I'm not sure why people announce projects without even having purchase agreements or options on buildings. I guess its just to try and work up press support so financing is easier.

I don't know, but it has always bugged me. Don't announce some cool project if there is a good chance it won't happen! People just end up dissapointed. Like that Surety Center... I am starting to think it really isn't happening. I would prefer to have never heard about it. :(

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Why do you think that about Surety Center? An article from April said construction would start at the end of 2006.

This is a project that I care a great deal about. I talked with our former mayor, may his memory be blessed, before he passed, and he told me that the project 'looks like a go' so I will only keep my fingers crossed in the meantime. On a side note, I have created a draft proposal for a Chinatown to be established in the bluff corridor between oakland and dowtown but am debating wheather or not to submit it to city council/mayors' office... etc because while i think there is enough of a potential client base it would probably hurt the scattered asian-oriented businesses that exist in the city... plus a certain selfish part of me has no idea what i'll do with my poli sci diploma when i graduate in april and the proposal may well result in getting employmen that i don't yet have..

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How could you legislate a china town being developed? Forced migrations? Leave neighborhoods like that to develop naturally.

And don't worry about the Poli Sci degree. I got one...they make great intro's to graduate school!...

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I may be wrong but I think Cleveland created an 'artificial' China-town area. I am not sure exactly how they did it, but it may be something to look into before submitting your own idea, haimon. Perhaps it will give you some ideas about do's and don'ts.

So the Surety Center "looks like a go" eh? I hadn't heard anything about it in a while, nor seen any work being done, so I was starting to worry. Especially because I emailed the people behind it asking if there was any news and they did not respond. I hope the late mayor was right.

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I may be wrong but I think Cleveland created an 'artificial' China-town area. I am not sure exactly how they did it, but it may be something to look into before submitting your own idea, haimon. Perhaps it will give you some ideas about do's and don'ts.

So the Surety Center "looks like a go" eh? I hadn't heard anything about it in a while, nor seen any work being done, so I was starting to worry. Especially because I emailed the people behind it asking if there was any news and they did not respond. I hope the late mayor was right.

Cleveland has had essentially a strip-mall that was 'artificially developed' in the early 90s. I know several Asians from Pittsburgh who have made Sunday trips for dim-sum. However out of that development have been Asian businesspeople who have decided to create a more cohesive neighborhood. I'll try to find the article I saw.

As for letting it develop naturally, there are many businesses that are already around but they are scattered. I would like to see it in a more cohesive enviornment. Partial list of businesses for anyone who cares:

Rose Tea Cafe (Taiwanese/Bubble Tea)

Sun Penang (Authentic Malaysian and some Hokkien/Chinese food)

Ka Mei (HK Cuisine)

Orient Kitchen (HK Cuisine and Seafood restaurant)

Chinatown Inn (Karaoke and authentic food Fri & Sat Nights)

Lucky Star (Not very good... but authentic Sezchuan food)

Golden Palace (? Not sure of the name, downtown buffet that offers authentic cantonese food)

The place formerly known as Mama Changs (offers authentic food from Fuzhou, Fujian)

Lotus Foods (Grocery)

Goods Foods (Grocery)

New Chinatown Trading (Wholesale restaurant supplier in McKees Rocks)

Mei Wei (Not sure of the name, wholesale seafood supplier in North Hills)

Pittsburgh Chinese Church

Tzu Chi foundation

Theres more that I can't think of, and if you want to throw Vietnamese into the equation like many other chinatowns..

Pho 88

Tram's Kitchen

My Ngoc

Pho Minh

Kim Do

Asian Foods

Buddhist Temple (in Homestead)

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I still don't know why we would want a Chinatown in order to prove that we're as diverse as a bigger city. I'd like to see more businesses from all types people all over Pittsburgh, and I don't think they should be relegated to Chinese people having to sell Oolong tea or Polish people having to sell pierogies in order for us to be considered cosmopolitan. How about our "Chinatown" being the expansive Sony facilities and the proposed One International Center and the type of things that pump more money into our economy than a little Chinatown would? Just saying...

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Just saying...

Point taken. I am optimistic about the One Intl Center/Surety Center project as well. My thoughts about a Chinatown have more to do with a commercial sector not residental. I don't want to 'ghettoize' anyone, although i think a cohesive cluster of asian businesses would be nice, especially in bluff which could serve as a linkage between downtown and oakland. The mix of Italian businesses in Bloomfield and Jewish businesses in Sq. Hill are nice, but both neighborhoods remain diverse..

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This is a project that I care a great deal about. I talked with our former mayor, may his memory be blessed, before he passed, and he told me that the project 'looks like a go' so I will only keep my fingers crossed in the meantime. On a side note, I have created a draft proposal for a Chinatown to be established in the bluff corridor between oakland and dowtown but am debating wheather or not to submit it to city council/mayors' office... etc because while i think there is enough of a potential client base it would probably hurt the scattered asian-oriented businesses that exist in the city... plus a certain selfish part of me has no idea what i'll do with my poli sci diploma when i graduate in april and the proposal may well result in getting employmen that i don't yet have..

Articles in both the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review today concerning the increased height limits of SouthSide Works buildings mention the Surety Center project... though they both refer to it as "One International Center".

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06264/723687-53.stm

"The change would also allow the proposed One International Center, a South Side development geared toward Asian businesses, to reach 110 feet, up from 75 feet under current zoning rules."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_471467.html

The other two sites include one existing building along Hot Metal Street: the Quantum II building that will be the new headquarters for American Eagle Outfitters. The second area along Sidney Street is the future home of the $60 million One International Center, a 209-unit Asian sales and marketing base for companies from countries such as China, Korea and Taiwan.

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Articles in both the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review today concerning the increased height limits of SouthSide Works buildings mention the Surety Center project... though they both refer to it as "One International Center".

That's really good. I'm starting to wonder what it is about people on Mt Washington and the South Side that makes them so anti-change. They're against *everything* that has anything to do with young people, jobs, increasing the tax base, anything. I'm getting tired of hearing about them suing developers, rennovators, businesses, whatever. Could it have something to do with the generation gap that we're talking about in the other thread? A couple generations ago all these people settled down here because of big, huge, ugly, polluting steel mills and the jobs they offered. It was okay to have plumes of black smoke and tall rusty factories, rubble everywhere, dirty rivers, they had all of that as their view back when they had a job there. Now we're trying to reclaim the brownfields, air, water, and economy that the previous generations left for us in ruins... but that's not okay with them now, because now they want their view and no one else can have it. No one is going to listen to them after a while and then they're going to complain about that, too, and I'll be posting on here that they deserve it.

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That's really good. I'm starting to wonder what it is about people on Mt Washington and the South Side that makes them so anti-change. They're against *everything* that has anything to do with young people, jobs, increasing the tax base, anything. I'm getting tired of hearing about them suing developers, rennovators, businesses, whatever. Could it have something to do with the generation gap that we're talking about in the other thread? A couple generations ago all these people settled down here because of big, huge, ugly, polluting steel mills and the jobs they offered. It was okay to have plumes of black smoke and tall rusty factories, rubble everywhere, dirty rivers, they had all of that as their view back when they had a job there. Now we're trying to reclaim the brownfields, air, water, and economy that the previous generations left for us in ruins... but that's not okay with them now, because now they want their view and no one else can have it. No one is going to listen to them after a while and then they're going to complain about that, too, and I'll be posting on here that they deserve it.

I believe in change, but smart change. We need input on new development. Personally I think obnoxiously modern buildings will not respect the surrounding architecture. Pittsburgh has a skyline problem from many angles that we do not want to make it worse. The modern gothic building in downtown is an example of something that improves our skyline -- however the overuse of the glass at the street level plaza is overbearing. I drive through their everyday and it is painful at times. People staying at the proposed luxury hotel should find relief from this building in the cultural district.

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