Exterior work on Hilton Pittsburgh slated to resume

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Long-delayed exterior work at the Hilton Pittsburgh will resume next week and could be finished by Thanksgiving, according to the Miami-based construction management company that is taking over supervision of the project.

"We're in the birthing stage," Frank Amedia, president of TC Property Solutions, said Tuesday. "Comm Steel is on-site, and they are getting everything tagged up and ordered."

Comm Steel, based in Cleveland, will provide steel fabrication and installation for the project.

Work on the hotel's facade, which faces Point State Park, will begin next week, Mr. Amedia said.

Steel erection, concrete pouring and the installation of an indoor swimming pool will take six to seven weeks and will require blocking off about a half lane of traffic on Commonwealth Place. Installation of a glass enclosure will take another month.

"Most people think that it's an aggressive schedule, but I think we can do it," Mr. Amedia said.

Interior work is likely to continue through June 2011.

Work on the hotel was halted in May 2009 when contractor P.J. Dick walked off the job after not being paid. In a claim filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in December, the company said it was seeking up to $1 million. Comm Steel also filed suit against the hotel, saying it hadn't been paid for some of its work.

On July 7, Allegheny County was granted a $412,000 judgment for unpaid hotel and drink taxes.

The Hilton is owned by Shubh Hotels Pittsburgh, which has been restructuring its finances with the assistance of Black Diamond Hospitality, a Tampa, Fla., firm.

Jonathan Kamin, a lawyer representing the hotel's owners, said the dispute with Comm Steel had been resolved, and that he was making arrangements to pay the delinquent county taxes by the end of the week.

Talks are continuing over the P.J. Dick claim, Mr. Kamin said.

"It's been a long road, but we think the Hilton is back on the right path," he said Tuesday.

With more than 700 rooms, the Hilton Pittsburgh is the city's largest hotel. The original budget for interior and exterior renovation and expansion was $25 million.

The work, in addition to the swimming pool, includes enlarging and updating the hotel's restaurant and expanding banquet facilities. Extensive interior renovations that included painting and new carpeting have been completed.

The exposed steel beams in front of the hotel have become a familiar, if sometimes unwelcome, sight to workers and visitors in the Golden Triangle. During last fall's G-20 summit of world leaders, the facade of the hotel was draped with a giant banner to hide the evidence of half-finished construction.

Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1159.


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