The Elmhurst Group, a regional real estate developer in Pittsburgh, announces a $12 million private investment, increasing the supply of first-class hotel rooms in downtown Pittsburgh by more than 300 and returning a prominent name to the city’s rapid-growing hospitality industry. A complete renovation and transformation of the Ramada Plaza Suites and Conference Center, located in the historic Grant Street district, into the Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh City Center is planned with an immediate accelerated construction, scheduled to be completed in June 2005. Upon completion of the 316-room hotel project, the new Doubletree will offer the largest guest rooms in the city.
The downtown project is being funded by The Elmhurst Group in collaboration with Prospera Hospitality. The Elmhurst Group selected Pittsburgh-based Prospera Hospitality, a management company providing more than 100 collective years of hotel and resort experience, to oversee hotel operations because of the diverse experience Prospera’s senior executives offer. Elmhurst recently announced a joint venture with Prospera to help kickoff this first step in the company’s national expansion strategy in the hospitality industry
“We look forward to combining the development expertise of The Elmhurst Group and the operational expertise of Prospera to exceed the expectations of every guest at the Doubletree in Pittsburgh,” said William E. Hunt, president and chief executive officer of The Elmhurst Group. “We are committed to making this property a premier hotel destination within the Pittsburgh marketplace.”
The hotel will remain open during the major renovations, including:
* Renovation of all 316 rooms, allowing the hotel to offer the largest guest rooms in the city, each featuring a unique configuration and “Sweet Dreams” bed, new 25-inch televisions, desk with an ergonomic chair, two telephones and other luxury amenities to suit both business and leisure travelers.
* An upgrade of Internet access technology, the entire facility is equipped for Wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi). For those who prefer the security of wired Internet access, 20 percent of the rooms still have upgraded wired Internet access.
* Reconfiguration of the lobby and main entrance, providing a warm, elegant appearance and much upgraded sense of arrival.
* A new look and taste for the hotel’s restaurant to be developed with Food and Beverage Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prospera Hospitality and the nationally renowned firm of Duncan & Miller Design. The restaurant boasts a distinct Pittsburgh style and flavor and includes an outdoor cafe.
* An upgrade to the HVAC system. The new HVAC system is a modern four-pipe system, giving guests total control of individual room temperature.
In 1988, the property was transformed from the Bigelow Apartments to the present Ramada Plaza Suites and Conference Center. Because of its original purpose as an apartment building, each room is a different configuration, creating a boutique atmosphere.
“By changing the flag of the hotel and updating the building’s technology, we are able to provide an unparalleled level of service to our customers,” said Kevin Kilkeary, president and chief executive officer of Prospera Hospitality. “Once renovations and brand-transitioning are complete, the facility will feature an upscale hotel experience second to none.”
“We have worked for years to provide visitors with first-rate accommodations in a convenient location,” said Joe McGrath, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau. “With more than 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, this investment by The Elmhurst Group has a profound impact on our city’s convention and tourism industries.”