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Pittsburgh developer proposes hotel, restaurant to 'jump-start' East Deutschtown

Tom Fontaine

A North Side developer wants to breathe life into the neighborhood's East Deutschtown section by building a 100-room hotel and refurbishing the historic Workingman's Savings Bank building on East Ohio Street.

“This is a part of the city that has been allowed to deteriorate. This project would really jump-start redevelopment of the entire area,” said David J. Montgomery, an attorney for October Development, which is planning the $20 million project.

The developers are asking the city to rezone the proposed East Ohio Street site between Madison Avenue and Chestnut Street to accommodate mixed-use development.

Montgomery and project architect James McMullan briefed the city's Planning Commission on Tuesday. Pending the commission's recommendation, the rezoning request would be subject to city council approval.

McMullan said the proposed Comfort Inn by Choice Hotels would be six stories and “mid-to-upper scale” with amenities including a pool, fitness center and meeting space. He said work could begin as soon as March and be completed within 14 months.

The second phase would involve refurbishing the Workingman's Savings Bank building, which most recently housed the Alcohol Recovery Center House. It closed in 2006. The developers want to put a restaurant in the 114-year-old building, which the city recognizes as a historic landmark.

“The hotel would be the first (phase of the project) to go in. It would create the most momentum and drive demand for the restaurant,” McMullan said.

A building with about 50 “higher-end, market-rate” apartments would be built after that and “create a bookend for the entire neighborhood,” McMullan said.

There is room on the site for a second apartment building, but those plans are “not currently on the drawing board,” said Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference, a coalition of neighborhood groups that is acting as project manager.

Fatla said the nonprofit Community Alliance of Spring Garden/East Deutschtown has expressed support for the project. Its members were expected to vote Tuesday night whether to support the rezoning request. A message for the alliance was not returned.

The project would add sidewalks, curbs and street lights to “what is now a bleak area,” Montgomery said.

The area that would be rezoned includes the Teutonia Mannerchor. The project doesn't include work on the German club's building.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].


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