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Real estate notes: Projects aplenty for Elmhurt Group; Pitt to renovate David Lawrence Hall

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• A $2 million renovation at the Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh in Shadyside is completed, with the hotel lobby containing a full-service bar that has new furnishings, two large flat-screen TVs, and a business center featuring express printing of boarding passes for airline flights. There is a GoBoard, a touch-screen “concierge” that allows guests to research restaurants and other local points of interest. The lobby-level Bistro-Eat, Drink, offers breakfast and dinner, and a full-service Starbucks is attached to the hotel. All 132 guest rooms have desks that can be moved around the room, wired and wireless Internet access, and a majority includes pullout sofa beds as well as mini-refrigerators. Built in 2003, the hotel was purchased by Caarey Watermark Investors Inc., a non-traded real estate investment trust, for $29 million in 2013. Concord Hospitality Enterprises Inc., operates the hotel.

= Pittsburgh's 2030 District is two years ahead of schedule, according to a progress report issued recently by the Green Building Alliance. The program, which requires participants to reduce their energy and water use by 50 Downtown buildings. Of the more than 58 million square feet of space in the District boundary, nearly 35 million square feet has been committed to the District (about 58 percent). The goal is to reduce both energy and water use and also reduce transportation emissions and to develop a pilot indodor air quality metric, working with the Massaro Center for Substainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh.

• BusinesSuites, a nationwide operator of executive office suites, has leased the entire 29th floor (21,278 square feet) at BNY Mellon Building, 500 Grant St., Downtown. The company will offer 70 offices, provide full-service, furnished office space complete with live phone answering, business-class Internet, access to meeting rooms and a café. Rick Yarosz is the center's manager.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Sam Spatter
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

• Elmhurst Group of Pittsburgh has a number of projects under way. Among them are a second building on Commonwealth Place in the Thorn Hill Industrial Park. It will contain 48,600 square feet of space, matching the original building that is fully leased. Occupancy could begin about Oct. 1, said Bruce Longenecker, vice president of operations. Plans for a 50,000-square-foot warehouse building are under way at Elmhurst's Pittsburgh Airport Business Park on Spring Run Road, Findlay, near Pittsburgh International Airport. The company is pursuing permits to begin construction by July, with occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015. The Park, with 213,000 square feet of office space, is fully leased.

• The David Lawrence Hall, the largest classroom building on the University of Pittsburgh's Oakland campus, will get a major renovation that will turn the auditorium into two lecture halls with capacities of 332 and 571 students. The work, which will cost $7.362 million, recently was approved by the university trustees' property and facilities committee. A second-floor mezzanine will be converted into three 50-seat classrooms with other changes, including adding seating areas in the lobby, changes to the stairwells to improve traffic flow, replacement of the vestibule at the Forbes Avenue entrance, expansions to the ground floor restrooms and upgrades to the mechanical systems.

• Construction is under way on an $8 million, 42-unit apartment complex for senior citizen independent living in Ross. Presbyterian SeniorCare and Presbyterian Senior Living have joined forces to transform a four-story, 26,000-square-foot motherhouse at the Holy Family of Nazareth into affordable housing. The building was home to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth for 89 years. The four-story building is being converted into a senior living community that will include the renovation of the onsite daycare. The building will have the “greenist” and most responsible design choice and will contain, among its amenities, onsite laundry, an Internet cafe, 24-hour maintenance services and onsite service coordination. Occupancy is expected by fall 2015. The architect is Rothschild Doyno Collaborative with Mistick Construction as contractor.

• A fall opening is scheduled for 40 loft-style pet-friendly apartments at 121 Seventh St., Downtown, by Red Rocks Group of Philadelphia, which has started construction of the units on the second through sixth floors of the six-story building. Called Aria, the building will have one- and two-bedroom units with exposed brick, timber beams and granite countertops, plus in-unit washer and dryers, storage units on every floor and a fitness center. Red Rocks acquired the 60,473-square-foot building, which has the Bossa Nova nightclub on the first level, from MA Associates lI, for $4 million. It received a $6.46 million acquisition renovation bridge loan from UC Funding.

• Mercy Life Center Corp. will seek the approval on Thursday from the zoning board to use one handicapped, 13 full-sized and three compact parking spaces at 4749 Baum Blvd., as well as eight off-site spaces at 4759 Baum Blvd., all in Bloomfield, for a structure containing a vocational school. The property is owned by The Wedgewood Group. Also that day, Malica Smith will seek approval to use the basement of the Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at 3105 Allendale St., Sheraden, for child care for as many as 12 children. Sayer Real Estate LLC wants permission to renovate the upper floors of a three-story structure at 1302 E. Carson St., South Side, for use as three residential units. The first floor would be used as a restaurant. William V. Taylor Jr. will seek approval to have four chickens as urban agriculture at a single-family dwelling, 5912 Beacon St., Squirrel Hill.

• Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. will host a small business financing workshop 6 p.m. Tuesday at Village at Pennwood, 744 Rebecca Ave. The free event is open to start-up and established businesses in the Wilkinsburg area, and will provide an inside look at how commercial loan applications are underwritten. For more information, call 412-727-7855.

• An addition to Belle Vernon's retail market is Pet Supplies Plus, a 12,000-square-foot store that offers natural and organic pet food, grooming services and equipment for animals. During the recent grand opening event, complimentary nail trims for dogs were offered, as were contests for prizes and free food for pets and people. The store at 120 Sara Way is part of a chain that has 290 locations in 23 states.

—Sam Spatter

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