OPDC discusses Wyndham’s plans to move hotel antennas


Zoom screenshot

A slide that shows side-by-side images of existing (right) and proposed views (left) of wireless antennas on the Wyndham Hotel on Lytton Avenue at Tuesday’s Development Activities Meeting.

By Colm Slevin, Senior Staff Writer

AT&T antennas have been stationed on the side of the Wyndham in Oakland since 2009. However, due to a landlord request, Jacobs, a Pittsburgh engineering company, will be moving them.

The Oakland Planning and Development Corp. met at a Tuesday Development Activities Meeting to discuss the repositioning of wireless antennas on the Wyndham Hotel on Lytton Avenue. The AT&T antennas are currently visible from the street and will be moved onto the “upper penthouse” and hidden by a “stealth enclosure.” The landlord of the Wyndham hired Jacobs to move the antennas in order to rebrand the property, according to Jim Prokopiac, a representative from Jacobs.

Phillip Wu, a neighborhood planner from the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, held the meeting with OPDC and the Oakland Business Improvement District to discuss the project. Wu said since the Wyndham Hotel is in the Oakland Civic Center Historic District the project needs to be reviewed by the Historic Review Commission.

The members of the Oakland neighborhood are invited to attend the development activities meeting to review the proposal before the HRC can see it. The meeting is hosted by the local Registered Community Organization and the City Planning Office in order to engage their community members.

“So these meetings provide community stakeholders and residents an opportunity to learn about projects in their neighborhood,” Wu said. “Projects that may affect them and to share any concerns and ask any questions.”

Both RCO representatives, Sam Gallagher from OPDC and Cate Irvin from OBID, said they did not have any engagement with the project before Tuesday’s meeting.

Jim Prokopiac said they will move the antennas at the request of the hotel’s landlord. He added that Jacobs will make the enclosure from radio frequency-friendly materials.

“Currently we are on the external of the building, side mounted,” Prokopiac said. “However, due to a landlord request, due to them wanting to rebrand the property at their hotel, they’ve asked us to move our existing equipment from the location where it is on the side of the building to the top of the building in a stealth enclosure.”

Prokopiac said because the Wyndham is more than 45 years old, Jacobs and Wyndham must adhere to historic codes, including filing a Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

“For certain buildings that are over 45 years old, we submit a Section 106. It goes through various approvals, including Native American review,” Prokopiac said. “All these things are sent out to various people who have signed up for that federal process. So the Section 106 has a specific policy process, and it’s gone through that process. So they found from their decisions that there were no adverse effects on historical properties.”

A representative from the Schenley Farms Civic Association acknowledged that the repositioning of the antenna is a “significant improvement” and said the association is supporting the project.