Up ahead in the distance on Fifth Avenue, Pitt students may soon look up and see a shimmering light — a University-owed hotel and conference center may soon come to sit across from Litchfield Towers.
Pitt is looking to build a hotel and conference center on the parking lot next to the University Club and Thackeray Hall, on Thackeray Avenue. According to the Pittsburgh Business-Times, Pitt sent a request for quotation, or RFQ, to several private developers in late August to gauge interest in the project.
The Business-Times reported the building could be as large as 300,000 square feet, in accordance with existing zoning restrictions.
Greg Scott, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for business and operations, confirmed the RFQ’s existence and said the request is a way to explore “potential conference center partnership opportunities.”
“The goal of this early exploratory research is to consider ways to operate and optimize our facilities in ways that will benefit the University and community,” Scott said. “We will keep you updated of developments within the master plan process.”
The project is not listed in Pitt’s Campus Master Plan, which currently lists a short-term “University Club Expansion” development for the parking lot. Pitt released the finalized CMP last February, after holding numerous community input sessions.
Scott did not answer several questions — including why Pitt wishes to build a hotel/conference center, which developers received the initial proposal, why the project has not been discussed publicly yet and why it is not described in the Campus Master Plan.