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Smithfield Street building adds Embassy Suites to top 11 floors

| Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Downtown is about to get a $30 million Embassy Suites Hotel on the top 11 floors of the 24-story Henry W. Oliver office building.

Work on the 228-suite hotel on Smithfield Street will begin July 1 and is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2015, McKnight Realty Partners announced Thursday.

This marks the second Downtown office building to be converted all or partly into a hotel this year. The City Planning Commission on Tuesday approved the conversion of the former Reed Smith Building on Sixth Avenue into a 250-room Hotel Monaco.

“We are delighted to have the additional hotels in the Downtown, which will help us supply rooms for larger conventions,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, the region's major agency that attracts conventions and meetings to the region.

There are about 4,500 hotel rooms Downtown, and since the first of the year, occupancy has been about 63 percent, Davis said.

The Embassy Suites hotel will include a restaurant and lounge, a fitness center and swimming pool, plus conference and banquet facilities. Its entrance will be off Smithfield Street with guest check-in at either the first floor concierge desk or the Sky Lobby on the 24th and 25th floors.

The 13 lower floors, which will remain offices, are 70 percent occupied, said Izzy Rudolph, who will manage the office segment for McKnight with some participation with Indus Hotels of Columbus, which will manage the hotel.

McKnight, which had said in the past it was considering turning the upper floors of the building into a hotel, acquired the Oliver building, at 535 Smithfield St., in 2011.

The building sustained a major tenant loss when K&L Gates law firm relocated into what is now known as the K&L Gates Center at the corner of Wood and Sixth avenues.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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