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.
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.