|By Jeremy Boren, The Pittsburgh
Tribune-ReviewMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 29, 2009--Owners of the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel apologized for not yet completing a major addition to the Downtown hotel near Point State Park.
"We would like to extend an apology to the mayor and the county of Allegheny for not finishing the addition in a timely manner," said Tom Conran, a principal with Greenwood Hospitality, a consultant for hotel owner Shubh Hotels LLC.
Shubh executives today met with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and, via phone, county Executive Dan Onorato. Ravenstahl and Onorato requested the meeting to urge Shubh executives to complete the addition or clean it up.
Construction was waylaid for months by tax liens and lawsuits over unpaid bills. The hotel lost its building permit when the architect of the addition removed building plans on file with the city.
It's uncertain when construction might resume, but Ravenstahl said he hopes the hotel operator at least covers the unsightly steel skeleton of the addition before thousands of international visitors arrive in late September to attend the Group of 20 economic summit.
"They will be working with us between now and September to do everything they can to make sure that that facility looks good," Ravenstahl said. "Whether that is continuing construction, whether that is some sort of banner or mural that will be put there, I feel comfortable and confident based on the discussions we had today that the commitment is there. We were very forceful. We were very adamant about the fact that something needs to be done."
Shubh executives declined to be interviewed during an impromptu news conference outside Ravenstahl's office. Conran spoke on their behalf.
"I'm not going to sit here and guarantee that this will be a completed project by the time of the G-20," Conran said. "We will come up with other remedial plans to make this space look very good."
Conran would not comment on Shubh's financial woes, except to say that the economic downturn has been difficult for many hotel companies.
The two sides said they would meet again within about a week to discuss progress.
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