Developer Plans Hotel for South Oakland, Penn.

A Harmar developer is poised to add to its bulging portfolio of hotels in the Pittsburgh region.

Kratsa Properties has been selected by the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority to build a hotel at the Pittsburgh Technology Center in South Oakland.

The URA board is expected to vote today to sell Kratsa a 1.2-acre site along Technology Drive, near the Bates Street and Second Avenue intersection, for $300,000 an acre and to accept the developer's proposal for the construction of the hotel, which would include a restaurant.

Kratsa was one of two developers to submit proposals for the hotel. Kyra Straussman, the URA's director of real estate, said the Kratsa proposal was "more complete" than the one submitted by Acquest Development Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which developed Erie's Bayfront Convention Center and an accompanying 203-room Sheraton Hotel.

She said Acquest wanted more time to study the hotel project.

Kratsa owns and operates 14 hotels in the region, including a 125-room Holiday Inn Express and Suites at the South Side end of the 10th Street Bridge and a 198-room Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel next to PNC Park on the North Shore.

The developer also is building a 115-room SpringHill Suites Hotel on URA-owned land on the South Side, near the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. It also is working on a 180-room Residence Inn by Marriott on the North Shore near the Pirates' ballpark to complement the SpringHill Suites hotel.

With action today, Kratsa plans to begin the franchising, design and financing process for the new full-service five-story hotel immediately. It hopes to formally acquire the site by August and plans to open the hotel in November 2009.

Ms. Straussman said the development will be privately financed.

The new hotel is part of a major expansion of the technology center that could include the construction of three garages and as many as five office buildings on about 30 acres. The expansion includes the $46 million Bridgeside Point II project, a 150,000-square-foot lab and office building being planned by The Ferchill Group of Cleveland.

The hotel will be only a stone's throw from the Hot Metal Bridge, which takes traffic over the Monongahela River to the South Side in the vicinity of the SpringHill Suites hotel Kratsa is building.


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