The week that was for 11/17/13

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Hip East Liberty

Residents hoping the upscale redevelopment of East Liberty doesn't dilute the neighborhood's cool factor were thrown a bone with the announcement that Ace Hotel is moving in. According Post-Gazette Business Reporter Mark Belko, the Urban Redevelopment Authority approved facade loans of up to $75,000 to support the $23 million conversion of the former East Liberty YMCA into the hotel. Ace Hotel, which is expected to open in spring of 2015, describes itself as "a collection of individuals -- multiple and inclusive, held together by the affinity for the soulful."

Buyers' market

Anyone looking to find digs that are a little more permanent in the region should welcome news that Pittsburgh is one of the nation's most affordable places to buy a home. PG's Tim Grant noted that the city is the fifth most affordable metro area for housing, according to a report by Chicago-based real estate information website A combination of a median income only slightly lower than the national average and median home prices that are significantly lower ($137,000 in Pittsburgh vs. $203,500 nationally), puts Pittsburgh in the top five for homeownership. Atlanta was the most affordable metro area.

Cutting the mustard

In an attempt to rein in costs, H.J. Heinz Co. announced that it will close three North American plants in the next six to eight months. According to a Teresa Lindeman story, around 1,350 jobs in South Carolina, Idaho and Ontario will be cut. The cuts are coming on the heels of a round of summertime cuts that trimmed 600 North American office positions, including 350 in the Pittsburgh area.

Fee-free cash while you fill up

Using the ATM at a neighborhood Sheetz store could mean money in the bank for consumers used to paying surcharges. PG's Patricia Sabatini reported that PNC will install surcharge-free ATMs in Sheetz stores in six states, including Pennsylvania. Users who do not have PNC accounts will not see any surcharges from PNC, but may face charges from their own banking institutions.

For these and other stories, go to

Deborah M. Todd: or 412-263-1652.

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