174-room hotel planned for former Saks site Downtown
March 15, 2017 12:00 AM
The property where Saks Fifth Avenue was located will be redeveloped into a 174-room hotel run by Moxy, a division of Marriott that describes itself as a “boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel.”
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Downtown is about to get a little moxy.
The developer behind the redevelopment of the former Saks Fifth Avenue site on Smithfield Street has chosen Moxy Hotels to be the flag for the 174-room hotel to be built in the project’s second phase.
Moxy, a division of Marriott, describes itself as a “boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel” and “a free-spirited place where you can do all that crazy fun stuff you’d never think of doing at home.”
The Smithfield Street site will be Moxy’s first in the Pittsburgh region. The hotel, which made its debut in Milan, Italy, in 2014, currently has a dozen locations worldwide, including Tempe, Ariz; New Orleans; New York City and Nashville, Tenn.
Millcraft Investments, which is taking the lead in the project’s second phase, selected Moxy for several reasons, including its Marriott affiliation, said Lucas Piatt, president and CEO.
He described the hotel as “sleek,” “edgy” and affordable. Mr. Piatt believes it will pair well with the residential portion of the project, which involves the construction of 56 loft apartments above a 582-space parking garage.
“This unique hotel flag is focused on affordable luxury in the core of the city with local boutique feel,” Mr. Piatt wrote in a text message. “Edgy designed common areas and rooms, a fun, active lobby, smaller room sizes, it is part of Marriott and its top-notch reservation system.”
Marriott teamed with Swedish furniture maker Ikea to create Moxy, which specifically targets millennial travelers in its approach.
Guests will find moderately priced rooms — about $130 a night in Pittsburgh — with flat screen TVs with access to Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other services; free Wi-Fi; and several power and USB outlets.
They also can use their smartphones as their room key by downloading a Marriott app.
Moxy calls its lobbies “living rooms with a bartender.” Based on reviews, guests will find lots of seating, a full-service bar, a coffee bar and a large self-service area stocked with drinks, snacks and meals, all accessible at any time. There also are free games.
The hotel is part of a much larger development planned for the former Saks site. The $35.5 million first phase, scheduled for completion in October, includes the parking garage and 30,000 square feet of retail space. Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse, has been signed to take up about a third of that space.
Both the hotel and the apartments, which will range in size from 430-square-foot micros to 885-square-foot two bedrooms, will be built in the second phase. Some apartments will start at less than $1,000 a month. The second phase also will include a rooftop bar on the 18th floor overlooking Mellon Square.
Mayor Bill Peduto demanded that residential units be built above the parking in exchange for a $7 million loan needed to finance the garage and the infrastructure required to support what would be built above it.
Phase one is being developed by Smithfield Oliver Partners, a partnership between Millcraft and McKnight Realty Partners. Smithfield Oliver Phase 2 Partners LP, led by Millcraft, is doing phase 2.
The Moxy will be one of three new hotels in the Smithfield Street corridor. A 225-unit Embassy Suites has opened in the Henry W. Oliver Building and a 160-room Even Hotel is set to debut late this year in the former’s Macy’s/Kaufmann’s department store.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.
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