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Grandview Project Proposes an $80 million, 110-room LEED Hotel
and 50 Condos for Mt. Washington, Pennsylvania

By Chris Togneri, The Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 14, 2009--Developers presented their vision for an eco-friendly hotel and condominium complex atop Mt. Washington at a city Planning Commission meeting Tuesday.

Where today sits a crumbling concrete edifice at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Wyoming Street, Lawrenceville architect Luke Desmone hopes to build a 110- to 115-room hotel with 50 to 55 condominiums wrapping around the hillside below.

The hotel would be LEED-certified, meaning it meets standards for environmentally sustainable construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"It's our intention to clearly have the best hotel," Desmone said during the presentation. A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Downtown attorney Kevin McKeegan, who represents the Grandview Project developers, said he will ask the commission for a zoning change that would allow for uniform commercial and residential use of the property, which consists of several tracts. He also will ask the commission to allow the hotel tower to exceed limits set for the neighborhood.

The sloping structure would peak at 20 stories. Neighboring buildings are 10 to 12 stories tall.

Developer Steven Beemsterboer said construction would take about two years and cost $80 million to $90 million.

Developers are in negotiations with a hotel operator. Desmone said they are targeting a "four- to five-star chain."

The property now is home to the long-vacant Edge Restaurant.

"It is an eyesore," McKeegan said during the presentation. "I think the community would agree, it's something that needs to go."

Plans call for a large public plaza next to the Monongahela Incline overlooking Downtown. A five-story parking garage would be built under the plaza and hotel. A public walking trail would encircle the project, and in a second phase of construction, a "Grand Staircase" would lead from Station Square to Grandview Avenue.

After Desmone finished his presentation, about 10 Mt. Washington residents in the audience applauded.

"There is widespread community support," said Chris Beichner, executive director of Mt. Washington Community Development Corp. "We think this could be the next iconic structure in Pittsburgh."


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