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Hotel, restaurant breathe life in business corridor

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006

The ongoing revitalization of Moon's University Boulevard corridor will take another leap forward today with the opening of a new hotel and restaurant.

A ceremony was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. for the new Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh Airport and Jackson's Restaurant Rotisserie Bar.

"It's one more indication of the rebirth of that business corridor. We're real excited about the hotel," Moon Manager Greg Smith said. "The restaurant is another amenity we need. We need more quality eateries."

Millcraft Industries, a development company at Southpointe in Washington County, spent $10 million and took 10 months to renovate the building, a former Ramada hotel that most recently had been used as a school. The company had considered converting the building into apartments before opting to return it to its origin as a hotel, said Lucas B. Piatt, vice president of real estate.

The hotel, six minutes from Pittsburgh International Airport and 20 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh, features 135 rooms, 14,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space and modern amenities such as flat panel televisions and wireless Internet access. An outdoor pool was filled in and replaced with an indoor pool.

Jackson's, located within the hotel, is an upscale casual restaurant that will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

"We did market studies that showed there was a need in the airport area for an upscale hotel. It made the most sense. The building was designed to be a hotel," Piatt said. "It's really the right time for development in Moon Township. A lot of good things are happening out there. There's a lot of potential."

Recent development along University Boulevard has included construction of a new football stadium at Robert Morris University and the opening of a new Sheetz gas station and convenience store near a Port Authority of Allegheny County park-n-ride lot. The township is reviewing plans for a complete revamp of the West Hills Shopping Center, which would include a Target department store.

Millcraft also is planning for further development at the hotel. Piatt said the company will build a retail strip center and a condominium building on the property. Plans for that project will be announced in March, he said.

Smith credited the Airside Business Park built at the site of the former Greater Pittsburgh International Airport terminal in part for bringing about the growth by providing an identity for the area and a sense of security to investors.

"There was uncertainty when the airport terminal left in 1992. It was in a real state of flux, and no one knew what the ultimate outcome would be. Now they're getting a sense of what it will be," Smith said.

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