New hotel planned for site next to base of Duquesne Incline

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Lots of hotels have amenities like swimming pools and fitness centers. But an incline to Mount Washington at your doorstep?

That’s what guests at a proposed Hampton Inn & Suites on West Carson Street near Station Square will have if the Forza Group gets the OK to build the 15-story, 159-room hotel on a narrow strip of land next to the Duquesne Incline.

The Bridgeville developer briefed the city planning commission Tuesday on the proposal, which has been on the drawing board for the last four years but just now is getting rolling.

Forza hopes to begin construction later this summer if it secures commission approval and expects to have the hotel completed in 18 months.

All 159 rooms would have views of the Point and the Downtown skyline. Guests also would have access to a 15th-floor observation deck to drink in the views.

Other amenities would include a swimming pool and fitness center. Forza also is planning a three-story parking structure with more than 130 spaces to be built on the west side of the hotel.

The proposed Hampton Inn and Suites is the latest splashy project for the developer. Forza also is planning to build an eight-story, 99-room Holiday Inn on Fort Pitt Boulevard, Downtown, near the Smithfield Street Bridge. It has another hotel under consideration near SouthSide Works on the South Side.

No cost estimate was available for the Hampton Inn. Forza already has received a variance from the city’s zoning board of adjustment to go as high as 15 stories. Architect Keith Andreyko said the height would not impact views from Mount Washington.

Part of the site for the hotel once housed the Lawrence Paint Co. building, a landmark that fell into such a state of disrepair that it was demolished in 2001.

At one time, historic preservationists had considered the building, which was 99 years old when it was razed, as a possible site for high-end apartments or condominiums. But extensive interior damage caused by a deteriorating roof made its reuse prohibitively expensive.

Also Tuesday, the commission was briefed on a proposal to establish a new residential permit parking program on the south side of East Carson Street in the South Side Flats area.

It would border East Carson Street and include parts of Carey Way, Sarah Street, Larkins Way, Jane Street Harcum Way and 22nd, 23rd and 24th streets.

Enforcement would be in effect Monday through Saturday, from noon until midnight, with a two-hour grace period.

Last year, a similar plan featuring several blocks south of East Carson between 10th and 17th streets was enacted — but not without controversy. While residents complained about not being able to find places to park in the vibrant nightclub and shopping neighborhood, business owners argued that the rules would turn employees and customers away.

Ashley Holloway, who coordinates the city’s residential parking program, warned planning commission members to expect another battle when a public hearing is held July 22 on the new permit parking area.

“A lot of business owners are not in favor of this,” he said. “They feel this is going to drive their employees and customers away.”

Mark Belko: or 412-263-1262.

Mark Belko: or 412-263-1262. First Published July 8, 2014 12:00 AM

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