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DOC-Economou Acquires Land from Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment
 Authority for Development of a Luxury Hotel, Condominiums and Spa

By Daniel Malloy, Pittsburgh Post-GazetteMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 14, 2007 - The $48 million coup de grace of the SouthSide Works complex is officially in the works.

The city Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved the sale of an acre of land to DOC-Economou for a mixed-use development containing a luxury hotel and condominiums, as well as a 20,000-square-foot spa. It is scheduled to open in summer 2009.

"This is the crowning jewel of the SouthSide Works development," said Phil Hugh, a principal of DOC-Economou.

The group has worked with the Soffer Organization, the primary developer of the former LTV Steel mill site, for 14 months on the project. URA originally purchased the site in 1993.

DOC-Economou, with offices in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Fort Myers, Fla., has built mixed-use developments around the country. But Mr. Hugh, who grew up in Fairchance, Fayette County, wanted to build in Pittsburgh and especially admired the booming "city within a city" at SouthSide Works.

The final steps were brokering a labor peace agreement with the hotel workers union and finalizing a parking plan. That paved the way for unanimous approval at yesterday's URA meeting.

"It's another great development right on the waterfront," said board chairman Yarone Zober. "We're all excited about that."

The development will boast "phenomenal views" of Downtown and the Monongahela or the South Side Slopes, Mr. Hugh said, from its 23 private condos and 140 hotel rooms.

In addition to the spa, the complex will have a two-story ballroom, an 18,000-square-foot events center, and 20,000 square feet of ground level space for dining and retail.

The 13-story structure will be at 27th Street across Tunnel Park from REI, directly on the riverfront.

"We were very happy with the process," Mark Delanna, vice president of development for Soffer, said at the meeting. "We always wanted a signature hotel. We had a perfect partner with the same vision and dream."

Also yesterday, the URA unanimously approved a $190,000 price reduction on the sale of the old G.C. Murphy's store and other properties on Fifth Avenue.

The amended price gives Washington County-based Millcraft Industries the property for $2.31 million, because it lost out on a tax break when URA took over the removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials from the site.


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