RMU seeks to convert hotel into dorm
Robert Morris University wants to convert a 10-story Holiday Inn near campus into student-only housing in time for the fall semester, officials say.
“This is not without precedent,” spokesman Jonathan Potts said of the proposed conversion, noting the university's Braddock Hall on Grant Drive is a former nursing home.
The growing university began leasing floors in the Holiday Inn in 2010 to accommodate students who couldn't find housing on campus and bought it later for $10.15 million. Last year, students occupied about half of the building while a management company ran the rest as a hotel, Potts said.
The university has asked Moon for conditional approval to operate the hotel strictly as a dorm. Dorms are not allowed in the existing commercial zoning district that extends to Moon-Clinton Road.
The conversion would occur about three years sooner than school officials originally planned when they bought the hotel.
Potts said increasing enrollment, much of it from outside the region, led the university to move sooner. Enrollment grew from 4,815 in 2008 to 5,181 in 2012, almost 8 percent, he said.
If approved, about 475 students would live in the building's 250 double-occupancy rooms and a new dining facility could be built inside, Potts said.
A public meeting on the university's request will be at 7 p.m. Monday at the Moon municipal building auditorium, 1000 Beaver Grade Road.
Moon supervisors Chairman Marv Eicher said he is concerned about students' safety. The hotel is about a mile from campus, along a bustling four-lane street with no sidewalks.
“That is a state highway going through,” Eicher said of University Boulevard, adding a planned Wal-Mart development nearby could make it difficult for students with cars to turn left out of the Holiday Inn property toward campus.
Eicher said Robert Morris operates a shuttle service that leaves the hotel every 10 to 15 minutes, up from every half-hour when the university bought the building.
Eicher is concerned about the hotel coming completely off the tax rolls. It receives a 70 percent tax exemption now, according to Creese.
The 17.6-acre hotel property has an assessed value of $6.52 million, Allegheny County records show. Without any exemption, the university would pay about $16,170 in annual property taxes to the township, $118,121 to Moon Area School District and about $30,839 to Allegheny County, based on 2013 tax rates.
Staff writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Immersion lab at Montour to offer new learning opportunities for students
- Game time is different in North Hills classroom
- McCandless drops plans to rezone wetlands areas
- Montour Trail bridge in Peters completed
- Mt. Lebanon opts to forgo mandatory homeowner restrictions
- 6 EMS agencies in Western Pa. deemed ‘expert’ in pediatric care