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2 hotels considered for South Oakland's Tech Center near $1 billion redevelopment

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Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A North Side developer wants to build two hotels in the Pittsburgh Technology Center on Second Avenue, just west of a former Hazelwood mill site that Almono LP is preparing for $1 billion in proposed redevelopment.

“That (Second Avenue) site alone merits the hotels, but the Almono project is really icing on the cake. It could greatly increase demand that is already there,” said Tom Rosselot, owner of Hotel d2 Services Group.

Rosselot is offering to buy a 1.6-acre site at the South Oakland technology park from Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority for $1.6 million. The park is home to University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University research facilities and laboratories and multi-tenant office buildings. The URA's board is scheduled to vote on the hotel offer when it meets Thursday.

Rosselot said he wants to develop the land in two phases, starting with a six-story, 135-room extended-stay hotel. It would be geared toward people looking to book rooms for at least four nights, he said.

Construction is expected to cost $16.5 million. Rosselot said he hasn't finalized a deal with a hotel company to run the facility, declining to comment on negotiations.

A second hotel could be built in a second phase. He did not provide specifics.

Almono, a collaboration between the Regional Industrial Development Corp. and four foundations, wants to develop riverfront housing, an environmental science center, a technology park and a mix of residential, office and commercial space. Grading work should be completed by early next year, RIDC President Don Smith said.

Also on Thursday, the URA board is expected to decide whether to enter into negotiations to sell other properties adjacent to the sprawling Almono site, both in the 4800 block of Hazelwood's Second Avenue.

ACTION-Housing Inc. of Pittsburgh and D.C.-based Telesis Corp. are considering redeveloping the Spahr Building there. It would house the Center of Life's Institute for Music, Art and Health, which is based a few blocks away but wants to expand, said Linda Metropulos, ACTION-Housing's housing and neighborhood development director. The groups also are eyeing a 1.5-acre site for what Metropulos said could amount to $30 million in residential and commercial development. The negotiations would last 90 days and 180 days, respectively.

Other measures the URA is considering include entering into or continuing talks about affordable-housing development by Trek Development Group Inc. in the Hill District and authorizing a $5.2 million loan for infrastructure improvements in East Liberty, including work that will convert Penn Circle North and West to two-way traffic.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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