Board approves $32 million student housing site acquisition, Cathedral of Learning renovations

The+Properties+and+Facilities+Committee+of+Pitt%E2%80%99s+Board+of+Trustees+held+a+public+meeting+on+Friday+via+Zoom.

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The Properties and Facilities Committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees held a public meeting on Friday via Zoom.

By Natalie Frank, News Editor

The Properties and Facilities Committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees held a public meeting on Friday to discuss several renovation projects and the proposed acquisition of the Marriott Residence Inn University Medical Center to serve as possible student housing.

Peter Varischetti, chairperson of the committee, introduced a proposed acquisition of the Marriott Residence Inn University Medical Center, located at 3896 Bigelow Blvd.

David DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations, said the property, also known as Unit One of the Schenley Center Condominium, consists of 89 efficiency apartments, 73 one-bedroom apartments and nine two-bedroom apartments. The property also includes a 172-space parking garage, lounge, fitness facility and outdoor patio and basketball court.

Pitt has leased the property for student use for the past two years in response to high enrollment needs and “to reduce the density of campus housing the year prior.”

DeJong said the property acquisition costs $32 million and the property may be used as new student housing.

“The University has identified a need for near-term expansion of student housing capacities, particularly in apartment-style units situated near campus,” DeJong said. “The proposed acquisition aligns with the University’s real estate strategy.”

According to a Friday announcement, each residence within the Marriott Residence Inn will include a kitchenette, private bathroom and central air conditioning. The rooms will be furnished with a bed, dresser, desk, chair and table and tenants can utilize the fitness facility, outdoor patio, basketball court, on-site laundry and parking garage.

The announcement states that students who currently live at the property will do so until the end of the spring 2022 term. The University will then “adapt the property into furnished apartment-style residences” and lease the residences on its housing services website.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of the acquisition of the Marriott Residence Inn University Medical Center property. 

The committee also discussed a proposal to renovate a University-owned property at 3512 Fifth Ave.

DeJong said this project will enable the relocation of Pitt Information Technology. The project includes space reconfiguration for a new hybrid work arrangement that includes hoteling stations, offices and conference spaces. Other updates include new finishes, facade improvements, new furnishings, upgrades to the elevator, as well as electric, mechanical and plumbing updates. DeJong said the renovation is estimated to cost $5.5 million.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the renovation at 3512 Fifth Ave.

The committee also discussed a proposal to renovate the seventh floor of the Cathedral of Learning. DeJong said this renovation would modernize the floor, and around 15,700 square feet of space would be reconfigured to house the office of the senior vice chancellor for research, the office of the provost and Pitt IT. Other upgrades include lobby and restroom updates, accessibility improvements, a new hot water heating system, central air conditioning, better elevator access and new energy-efficient lighting. DeJong said the renovation is estimated to cost $8 million.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the proposal to renovate the seventh floor of the Cathedral of Learning.

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