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Home2 Suites by Hilton Could Be on the Horizon for Cranberry

Developer Don Rodgers Jr. of Creative Real Estate Development introduces conceptual plans for a "hip" extended stay hotel to be located off Route 228 near Westinghouse.

Another hotel could be on the way for Cranberry.

At Tuesday’s Planning Advisory Commission meeting, Don Rodgers Jr., of in Cranberry, introduced conceptual plans for a Home2 Suites By Hilton.

Described on the Hilton website as a “hip, extended stay hotel experience,” the building would be located just below the Westinghouse Electric Company headquarters at the intersection of Longtree Way and Cranberry Woods Drive.

Rodgers Jr., described the location, which is alongside the roundabout on Cranberry Woods Drive leading to the company headquarters, as the “front door” to Westinghouse.

“We’re excited about the product in this market,” he said.

Rodgers Jr., said the Home2 Suites is a fairly new concept from Hilton. Like the Hilton Garden Inn that opened at the corner of Franklin Road and Longtree Way in Cranberry May 31, the 46,000 square-foot Home2 Suites would be operated by Vista Host, Inc. 

Rodgers Jr., said the four-story, 79-room hotel would features all suites, with a small breakfast area in each room. There would be no restaurants or bars inside the hotel.

Creative Real Estate Development plans to submit the proposed plans to the township Wednesday for review at the next Planning Advisory Commission at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24. If the commission OKs the plans, they next move on to the Cranberry board of supervisors for approval. 

In the meantime, Rodgers Jr., said he brought the proposed plans to the commission Tuesday night to get their initial thoughts on the hotel.

“I just wanted to try to get some feedback from everyone here to see if we’re heading in the right direction,” Rodgers Jr., said. “Let me know some likes, dislikes.”

The response from officials was the building could do with a little spice.

“It’s a pretty plain, vanilla building,” said commission member Susan Rusnak.

She called the 136-room Hilton Garden Inn, located just a few hundred feet away, very attractive. She added she’d like to see the same architectural details featured on the Home2 Suites.

“I’d like to see a little more variation,” she said.

Commission chairman Jim Colella agreed the building could use some “dressing up,” while Ron Henshaw, director of community development for Cranberry, said he’d prefer more brick on the hotel and less “EIFS.”

EIFS stands for exterior insulation finishing system, a popular lightweight synthetic material found on the exterior of many commercial buildings. When dry, it resembles stucco.

Henshaw also said he’d be in favor of adding decorative cornices similar to the ones that grace the top of Cranberry’s Hilton Garden Inn.

“It give the building a whole different feel, especially when you look at it from bottom to top,” he said. “How it finishes at the top really sets the tone for it.”

(For a look at the proposed renderings for the Home2 Suites, check back with Cranberry Patch later today.) 

Rodgers Jr., said he would take the feedback into consideration. If all goes according to plan, he said developers hope to break ground on the hotel by March.

What About the Penguins Sports Complex?

Those aren’t the only plans Creative Real Estate Development has in store for the area.

Rodgers Jr., said the company still is looking for tenants to fill the level space that was cleared out in front of the Hilton Garden Inn earlier this year. Part of the Village of Cranberry Woods, the lot is capable of holding three restaurant pads and an 8,000 square foot building, Rodgers, Jr., said.

Henshaw said the land located across from Longtree Way, opposite the Hilton Garden Inn, is part of the property where the Pittsburgh Penguins and UPMC are in discussions with the township to

Those plans have yet to come before the planning commission.

Township manager Jerry Andre the township still is meeting with UPMC about plans for the facility, which would offer hockey-related training and injury treatment and prevention.

A land development application currently is approved for the property—also owned by Creative Real Estate—for a mixed-use development, Andree said. Dubbed The Summit of Cranberry Woods, the property was given a green light to include a combination of retail, office and residential development.

A sports complex would be a deviation from that land use, Andree said.

What that means is the developers would need to withdraw the current application for the land—which was approved March 2010—and seek new approval for the plans from the township.

What do you think about plans for the extended stay hotel in Cranberry? What restaurants would you like to see at the Village of Cranberry Woods? Would you be excited for a Penguins sports complex to open in the area? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

AC September 05, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I think the extended stay hotel is obviously a good idea. It will do well! Personally, a Penguins sports complex will add nothing... I'd prefer them to build a P.F. Changs, Outback Steakhouse and a Glory Days! :)
Linda Bemis September 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Will Cracker Barrel ever come to Cranberry Township? I LOVE the Penguins sports complex idea!
James W. Wood September 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I heard Cracker Barrel is headed to Freedom Road !
PVS September 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Highly unlikely... Cracker Barrel will not locate in an area where their store/restaurant can not be clearly seen from a major highway or interstate. The "sight line" is now very limited from I-79.
Chris F September 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I think the original plans included a movie theater in a later phase, which is an upgrade we could certainly use. That space is too convenient for a hockey complex.
SH September 06, 2012 at 01:59 PM
The space in front of the Hilton Garden Inn would be a perfect location for a Cracker Barrel; it would be easy to spot once on 228. I'll never understand why CB pulled out of the 76/79 development; they were supposed to build where the Firestone tire store is located. I'd really like to see Don Rodgers revert back to his original plan to build a lifestyle complex anchored by a Cinemark or AMC movie theater. The area is sorely lacking in a start of the art theater with IMAX or XD screen and the transit time to the nearest mall (30+ minutes to Ross Park) is frustrating. If Robinson can have Settler's Ridge, why can't we have a similar development? There's plenty of space.
bob babin September 07, 2012 at 01:43 AM
A Penguins/UPMC sports complex would be good for Cranberry.Hotels and restaurants would benefit very well from this complex which also would include public skating and high school hockey.Restaurants ? Carrabbas,PF changs,Bonefish Grill,or how about a Cranberry Original hot dog shop based on the one in Oakland
Jeff S September 10, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I don't understand how you think that a Penguins sports complex won't add anything? Hockey is still a rapidly growing sport. Quite a few of the players in the last couple NHL Drafts have been from Pittsburgh. A hockey complex would bring in regional and national tournaments at all age levels, which would bring in business to the local hotels and current and future restaurants. A restaurant that definitely needs to come to Cranberry, finally, is Cracker Barrel. In the past Cracker Barrel has been skeptical because of visibility from an Interstate. Why doesn't a local developer work with Cracker Barrel to build behind the new Courtyard by Marriott in Cranberry Woods? It would have convenient access off I79 and from the heavily traveled 228, with their signage visible from both. I also agree with the few who suggested PF Changs and Carrabbas. It would also be nice to have a Cheescake Factory out here. Anytime I go to the one at Ross Park Mall or Southside Works, especially on the weekends, it takes forever to get a table. A non-big name franchise sports bar, like Bettis 36 Grille would also be a nice change.

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