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Pittsburgh Officials Pull Troubled Hilton Hotel's Building Permit

By Rick Stouffer, The Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 24, 2009--Construction at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel in Downtown, on hold for more than two months, has been halted indefinitely after city building inspection officials pulled the facility's building permit.

"The building permit was revoked today," Sergei Matveiev, chief of the city's Bureau of Building Inspection, said Thursday.

Architect Stephen Berry, who designed the Hilton's recent $25 million renovation-expansion project, had asked Matveiev earlier this week to return his design plans and specifications. Berry said if his documents were returned, the Hilton's building permit should be revoked.

Matveiev had asked the city's law department to look into the legalities of whether or not the Hilton's permit could be taken.

"The Law Department and I agreed that Mr. Berry should have his plans back, and we agreed that without the plans, the building permit should be revoked," Matveiev said.

The Hilton and owner Shubh Hotels LLC of Boca Raton, Fla., have faced a plethora of difficulties over the last 18 months while trying complete the renovation-expansion project. They include the revoked building permit, threatened sheriff's sales of hotel furnishings because of unpaid debts and two work stoppages to satisfy unpaid bills.

Work stopped May 15, when prime contractor P.J. Dick Inc. pulled its workers due to nonpayment of a $317,273 bill. Even though that bill was paid weeks ago, work never resumed.

Matveiev said that until Berry or another architect gives his department architectural drawings and specifications for the uncompleted hotel addition, no work legally can be conducted at the site.

Just what the future holds for the region's largest hotel could be made known next week. Atul Bisaria, chief executive of Shubh Hotels, has agreed to meet with County Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, the Tribune-Review confirmed.

"We heard today from Hilton General Manager Jon Shisler that Mr. Bisaria would like to meet with the county executive and the mayor," said Onorato spokeswoman Megan Dardanell. "We're trying to schedule the meeting for Wednesday afternoon, if everyone's schedules can be coordinated."

Onorato and Ravenstahl sent Bisaria a letter dated July 13, expressing their desire to meet with the CEO and his staff.

Rick Stouffer can be reached via e-mail or at 412-320-7853.

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To see more of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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