250-room luxury hotel set to be built in 6th Ave. building downtown



PITTSBURGH - A 250-room luxury hotel could open downtown next summer in a building that once housed law offices, architects for the project told the Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The Kimpton Hotel chain plans to open a Hotel Monaco in the nine-story James Reed Building, which the Reed Smith law firm vacated in 2009 when it moved to Three PNC Plaza. Developer PMC Property Group bought the 435 Sixth Ave. building last year for $5.5 million.

Officials said they welcome a hotel.

“More product is always good for the marketplace,” said Rick Strunk, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association. “The more supply, the more groups we can attract.”

Among recent hotel openings, the 136-room Hyatt House Pittsburgh South Side hotel opened April 23.

At the end of April, the Pittsburgh metro market had 215 hotels, with 24,565 rooms combined, and occupancy this year was just less than 58 percent, according to VisitPittsburgh.

Sean Beasley and Kevan Rutledge, with the Pittsburgh architectural firm Strada, said Hotel Monaco will offer a restaurant accessible to the public, rooftop patio and a fitness center. Its main entrance will be along William Penn Place.

The amenities are important to businessman Bill Dahl, who told Channel 11’s Trisha Pittman, “Proximity to where we have meetings, definitely business class, something that we feel good about bringing clients back for lobby meetings, a good place to dine in, they're all important.”

John Wigand, who has stayed at the chain’s hotels on business travel, told Pittman, “It was posh. You're spoiled, that's what’s so fun about it. It doesn't feel like a business trip, it feels like vacation.”

Beasley said the project's cost is undetermined.

Sewickley native Ethan S. Fellheimer, with Philadelphia-based developer Red Rocks Group, told planners he hopes his project to convert an office building at 121 Seventh St. into 40 loft apartments will be the first of several in Pittsburgh.

“I like Pittsburgh very much,” Fellheimer said.

Fellheimer would not say how much his company is spending to buy the building from MA Associates of Pittsburgh. Paperwork filed with the commission put the project price tag at $4.2 million. Red Rocks will renovate the lobby and construct apartments on the second through sixth floors. Bosa Nova restaurant will remain in the building.

Fellheimer said construction should be finished by March or April.

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.