Thursday, November 20, 2008

the great Pittsburgh hotel mystery

So here is something of a mystery. For all the bad news all around, why is the Pittsburgh hotel scene veritably booming. Lot's of new hotels coming down the pike supposedly. I am sure I will miss more than a few, but let's try to count up the new hotels that supposedly are being built in Pittsburgh in the near term.

From the east end:
  • East Liberty is slated to get not just one, but three new hotels. and that is over and above the hotel going in at Bakery Square. So make that 4 hotels for East Liberty alone.

  • Also in the east end is the hotel that was said to be part of the new development on the former Don Allen site in Bloomfield.

to Downtown:

and not to leave Oakland out of the mix:


So all of this has happened, is happening, or is slated to happen, in the midst of the most difficult credit environment in memory, especially for the hotel industry in particular.

So yes, I know everyone is fully expecting something analogous to the depression in the next few years. If that is true, you would think that the very first sign would be that some of these hotel projects, especially the ones that have not broken ground just yet, would be some of the very first projects to be turned off. I am pretty sure the least stable investment in a recession is a new hotel.

My guess. Like a lot of other explanations to why the local economy . The things driving a lot of visitors to the region include hospitals and universities and that demand for hotel rooms has probably not changed all that much of late. But looking to the future.... there really will be an impact of the casino here on the local hospitality industry. That being said, when everyone says you can't get credit to build anything, it's that much more remarkable money can be lined up to build any of these projects... let alone all of them. Worth watching.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a Marriott (SpringHill Suites) being built across Hot Metal Street from the new American Eagle HQ. It looks about half done or so. The is also supposed to be another hotel in the South Side Works but it hasn't been started yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger JenEngland said...

Don't forget the future Squirrel Hill Hotel. It may be the only neighborhood getting a hotel that is actually currently without a hotel!

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Richmond K. Turner said...

... count me as very interested in the "Squirrel Hill Hotel" that Jennifer mentions. Where is it going to be, exactly?

But one other thing worth mentioning is the new Children's Hospital. Sick kids never travel to the hospital alone, and all those parents need a place to stay. And that's not just out-of-towners, either. At one point, we had a child who was hospitalized at Allegheny General while we were living in Squirrel Hill. That doesn't sound all that far, but when you do that drive several times a day, and go through all the parking hassles that are a problem at any hospital, it gets real old real fast. If there had been a decent hotel within walking distance of AGH, I'm betting that we would have gotten a room, just to have someplace close by to get away from the horrors of the NICU.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard rumors that hotel developers have approached the owner of the Shur-Save in Bloomfield about purchasing his property. This would help fill the need for a hotel near Children's. But it would be bad news for a lot of folks in Bloomfield, Garfield, and even Polish Hill who use that as their primary grocery store.

Regarding why all these hotels are being built: I figure these developers have some sort of scheme worked out whereby they'll win even if they lose. Sort of like all the banks who participated in the great mortgage-backed securities scam of the past few years. They gambled massively, lost massively, and got hundreds of billions of dollars as a reward.

I have no evidence that hotel developers have anything like this going on, but I find it at least as plausible as the suggestion that thousands of people need hotel rooms in East Liberty.

Actually, there a lot of things I find more plausible than the suggestion that thousands of people need hotel rooms in East Liberty. Such as a space alien prison at Area 51, or a controlled demolition of the World Trade Towers engineered by Dick Cheney.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, welcome to my obsession. I actually keep a spreadsheet. If you go back about 5 years, I count 22 new hotels within the city or inner ring suburbs. Southside, Northside, Homestead, the list goes on. The WIlliam Penn is adding rooms too.

Somebody knows something. Is Pittsburgh short-listed for a political convention in a few years?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume Jennifer is talking about the plan to build a hotel/condo building at the corner of Murray and Forward (the former Poli site). If you don't know the corner, it is basically right before where Forward Ave. basically become the on-ramp to 376. I believe they would also take the ground of the adjacent movie theater. While I'm not eager to see just how bad construction at that corner will screw-up traffic, I'd be glad to see a hotel go in there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recent hotels built or under development in Pittsburgh, the City of, plus one at the Waterfront for the hell of it:

Hampton Inn Strip
Holiday Inn Express - Southside
Spring Hill Suites North Shore
Federal street project
Hilton Spring Gardens 4th and ross
Hill district Arena hotel
PNC building
Marriot over Sonoma
Technology Center Hotel - Oakland
East liberty 1
East liberty 2
east liberty 3
South Side boutique hotel
Bairel Project
Convention center
Lawrenceville Project by the new Children's Hospital
Residence Inn shadyside
Fairfield Inn Neville Island
Wyndham - Oakland
Courtyard Bloomfield
Holiday Inn select Oakland
Forbes avenue suites
Hyatt North Shore


Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:29:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I am certainly glad someone else has this obsession, since I clearly have enough of my own already.

I am sure the owner of the Bloomfield Shur-Save would sell.. he also owns the former VFW right there as well. am more worried about what other uses that space might find if the supermarket finally gives up the ghost. Anyone remember when the Krogers on the site was big business AND the A+P was next door as well. (I shudder to mention Bloomfield history any more.. I mentioned Authenreith's not long ago and the next week it was national news... kind of sort of).

The point on the need for family lodging is well taken. Ironically, a new Family House is going in right next to my office which would have been ideal for the former Children's site. I figure something will happen on that front at some point, I just have not heard anything specific.

and while my own incredulity over the sLiberty hotels was probably obvious, as far as I can tell they really are happening it is worth noting. Some things you know are more notional than others, but tenants are being moved to make way I know for a fact.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 7:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It ain't sLiberty any more!

Eastside is creeping across Center Avenue and quietly devouring sLiberty.

My, how things do change. How many readers here remember when you couldn't get any kind of development done near East Liberty?

Friday, November 21, 2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you see this hotel boom in the city because the urban core has been so underserved when it comes to hotels (besides Downtown and Oakland). With the emergence of South Side, East Liberty, etc. as destinations for business and pleasure... you see strong hospitality markets emerging. People don't want to be stuck in some boring hotel out in Greentree or Monroeville... they want to stay where the action is. The continuing strength of the regional economy has also helped.

And I would love to see a hotel (as long as its appropriately urban in design) replace that nasty Shur Save in Bloomfield... it's a hideous structure with a giant business-district-shattering parking lot (mostly empty) in front. It's a really depressing gateway for the neighborhood.

Friday, November 21, 2008 2:59:00 PM  

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