Wis. builder eyes Latrobe for midscale hotel
By Joe Napsha
Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 8:39 p.m.
A hotel development firm headquartered in the Green Bay Packers' backyard is considering building a midscale hotel in Latrobe, just minutes from the Pittsburgh Steelers summer training camp, according to officials from Latrobe and the development firm.
“Latrobe has just so much to offer. It is a great little community,” said Janice Tata, vice president of development for BriMark Builders LLC of Neenah, Wis., about 40 miles southwest of Green Bay.
The company has not set a deadline for making a decision on whether it will build one of its hotels in Latrobe, Tata said.
BriMark typically builds hotels of between 30 and 36 rooms. The 36-room model can include an indoor pool and conference rooms, said Tata, who has met with Latrobe officials and community leaders over the past few months to discuss the project.
City Manager Alex Graziani said he hopes that any hotel that BriMark builds in Latrobe would be “within walking distance of downtown,” which would be a boost for businesses.
“With expansion at our nearby (Arnold Palmer Regional) airport and activity at St. Vincent College, I think a project could work in Latrobe,” Graziani told Tata in an email.
BriMark builds hotels for its hotel franchise, Cobblestone Hotels LLC, also in Neenah, as well as other franchises, said Tata, a Monroeville native.
Cobblestone Hotels specializes in developing, building and managing hotels in towns with a community size of between 1,500 and 15,000 people, she said.
“Our small, midscale hotels are built to help enhance towns by fulfilling the needs of the community and keeping business within the town itself,” Tata stated.
Cobblestone has 21 hotels in nine states in 2012 and plans to develop 25 other locations. None of its hotels are in Pennsylvania.
Rather than selecting a site in Unity where hotels are located along the busy Route 30 corridor, Tata said, BriMark prefers “to find smaller towns that don't have lodging facilities.”
“We look for a little niche,” she said.
That niche, said Latrobe Main Street Manager Nick Felice, includes serving family and high school reunions, weddings and business travelers.
BriMark wants a site that is between 11⁄2 and 2 acres in size for its hotels, Tata said.
“We think there is some room for that” in Latrobe, Felice said.
Felice declined to comment on what sites the city might offer for a potential hotel because it involves private property owners.
The difficulty in building a downtown hotel is finding sufficient space and parking, Felice said. It may require putting together multiple properties in order to offer the developer sufficient space, he said.
An ideal location would be where the Westmoreland County Community College intends to build its Laurel Education Center on a site between Jefferson and Depot streets, which is in the process of being cleared of debris and buildings for the development, Felice said.
Latrobe is one of at least three communities in Pennsylvania that BriMark is considering as a site for one of its Cobblestone Hotels. The company plans to break ground this year at sites in Erie and Jefferson counties, but Tata declined to say in which communities.
BriMark has been able to grow during the recessions, constructing 46 hotels that it has either built or is developing under the Cobblestone name and other hotel brands, according to BriMark's website.
BriMark's hotels usually cost between $2 million and $3 million to develop, Tata said.
The company employs a financing model that seeks an upfront investment of between 40 and 50 percent of the total cost of the project, she said. Possibly as much as one-half of that initial investment would have to come from local sources, which might consist of a combination of both private and public financing, or all private sources, she noted.
BriMark would make up the remainder of that initial investment, then seek financing, possibly from local sources, to cover the rest of the cost, Tata said.
The local support is important “to make sure that the venture can be successful,” she said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or email@example.com.
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.
- Penguins notebook: Sill thrives on penalty kill
- Steelers coach Tomlin fined $100K by NFL
- Woman allegedly supplied alcohol at party
- Armed robbers hit BP service station
- Washington County to seek proposals for natural gas drilling under Mingo Creek Park
- Holiday parade to be held Saturday in Mt. Pleasant
- Former postmaster pleads guilty
- Ground breaking for Connellsville hotel moved to January
- 3 accomplices to plead guilty to murder, torture of mentally challenged Mt. Pleasant woman
- Starkey: Tomlin imposter fuels conspiracy theories
- Shallow water in Fla. kills whales