Hostel in Pgh?

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edmonds59
Participant
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In an attempt to change my mode of operation, I am not going to hijack another thread. But several times in the recent past, out of towners have asked “hey, is there a cheap place in town where I could stay when I ride the xxxxx?” So I guess, now that this GAP trail thing is nearly connected, wouldn’t it make tons of sense for there to be a Hostel in Pittsburgh again? The last hostel in Pittsburgh (failed) was located on Warrington Ave in Arlington, I’m not sure who decided that was a genius location. Anyway, seems like the environment might be right, certainly better, to give that a go again. Does anyone know if anyone is working on such a thing? Or at least floating the idea?


Nick D
Participant
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I think a hostel in Oakland could make a very solid investment.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I look at about 10 buildings Downtown whose 3rd and higher floors don’t look like they’ve had inhabitants in 40 years and ask, “Why not?” Stand down on Penn near 9th Street, Wood near Sixth Avenue or Smithfield near Seventh Avenue and just take a look around. Some of them are six, eight stories high, and 3/4 empty. Rehab of even two stories of one of them would be an ideal location for a hostel.


Mick
Participant
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When I go through the run in Greenfeild, I think the businesses there would do well to shift to a bike focus. It would be great to have a restaurant/B&B/bike shop combination down there.

It would also be a great place for a Hostel, too.

Inexpensive neighborhood, but convenient *by bike!* to everything. Once the GAP get finished this would be a natural place for bikers on tour.


edmonds59
Participant
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Stu- handicapped accessibility is usually what keeps the upper floors of those smaller buildings vacant. Big enough to require an elevator, but not big enough to make it cost effective. It’s kind of a shame.


edmonds59
Participant
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Oh, yeah, the run. That would be ideal, that’s genius.


jakeliefer
Participant
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I’ve kicked around this idea in my head a few times. I’m undecided which would be better, the Northside or Oakland. Oakland would be right next to the 28x, near the museum, and lots of energy (during the school year). Northside would be closer to the Megabus stop, close the the Warhol and stadiums, but may be lacking in the vibrancy of Oakland. For a hostel I feel like location is so instrumental to get right (and one reason that the Arlington one didn’t succeed).


sloaps
Participant
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with so many vacancies in the southside works complex, why not there? the city gave the developers public money or at least the URA has some stake in the development, right?

why not take some of that CDBG and HUD money they like to spend in all the wrong places and convert one of the two former J.Beth Bookseller locations into a kick ass youth hostel?


icemanbb
Participant
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A site close to the trail, Amcrash Station, and nearby amenities would seem to offer a number of possibilities.


nick
Participant
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jakeliefer
Participant
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Re: Nick http://www.pittsburghhostel.org

I remember that group putting on some fundraiser events a couple years back. From the site, it seems like the work on it fizzled out.

I’m all for collective and cooperative movements, but a business venture requiring $100,000+ capital is going to require an individual/small group for the accountability and drive to make something happen.


dmtroyer
Participant
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I can’t help but think Oakland would be the best place for this. Not ideal for “tourists” or trail riders but will always be a transit priority and has already developed towards a similar demographic to hostel-goers.


edmonds59
Participant
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Is anybody pals with Eve Picker? That’s who you need right there.


spinballer
Participant
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since the Schwartz Market on the South Side is closing, a co-op should go in in it’s place, and a hostel upstairs. yepper.


ejwme
Participant
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the lovely family that owns the building the market is in is trying to sort out a community owned co-op for that space. I don’t see the two ideas being mutually exclusive. I’ll ask my contact if this idea made it to the drawing board.


brian j
Participant
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why not take some of that CDBG and HUD money they like to spend in all the wrong places and convert one of the two former J.Beth Bookseller locations into a kick ass youth hostel?

Probably because the other upscale retailers wouldn’t really want the “typical” hostel crowd outside their doors.


steevo
Participant
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I didnt know about swartz. That sucks.


spinballer
Participant
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ejwme
Participant
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oooo… and then there’s Lawrenceville. that could be a neat place for a hostel, lovely vibe but accessible to a lot of other places. Assuming it’s not so popular that it’s unaffordable. I know Oakland is pricey because of high demand.


edmonds59
Participant
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spinballer, highly worthwhile derail, I favor it.

Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.


gimpPAC
Participant
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yes to the hostel idea, I do think South Side or Greenfield would be great. Downtown too since thru-trekkers on the trail would end up at the Point. I think proximity to the trail is very important if they want to leverage off of that.


sarapgh2
Participant
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The Pgh Hostel Project is still around, largely in an advisory capacity, and is a great resource for linking up with people interested in this idea.

I’ve been floating the idea around myself and there is a business feasibility study underway right now. I’m looking at the bike tourist market as well as other visitors, with a southside location.

The big challenge with the last hostel and any new ones is cost. A typical american-style youth hostel with low prices and lots of beds per room requires thousands of visitors a year at a steady pace (the last hostel met 1/4 of this number).

On the other hand, a slightly more upscale and flexible boutique hostel might have some potential. Allow for some bunk rooms, but also for more expensive private rooms (still lower cost than hotels). We’re still crunching numbers, but hopefully this has a bit more potential for meeting costs.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I would like to think that if someone is already renovating a building or starting over on some site, they could include a hostel as part of the project.

The “reduce-reuse-recycle” part of my brain always wants to repurpose an existing structure, but I can see edmonds59’s point, the 100yo 6-floor buildings with no functioning elevators are at once inaccessible in good circumstances, and potential deathtraps if you put 50 people on those upper floors and a fire broke out in a lower stairwell.

This probably affects lots of old city buildings, so it’s not just hostels that lose out on potentially usable space.


ejwme
Participant
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Stu, your comment reminded me of the ‘outtakes’ at the end of the movie Eurotrip….

Hostel Clerk: “Hello, and welcome to Amsterdam’s finest and most luxurious youth hostel. We feature one medium sized room containing 70 beds which can sleep up to 375 bodies a night. There is no bathroom. Nor is there one nearby. If you do not wish to have your valuables stolen I suggest destroying them or discarding them right now. You can also try hiding your valuables. In your anus. This will deter some but of course not all thieves. Once you are inside, the doors are chained and locked from the outside. They will not be opened again until morning, no matter what. Should a fire occur due to our faulty wiring or the fireworks factory upstairs you will be incinerated along with the valuables that you have hidden in your anus. Tips are greatly appreciated.”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I did spend one night in NYC at my future sister-in-law’s 5th floor walkup on East 80th St. There were more floors above it but I don’t remember how many. What I do remember was that her apt was one of five on the floor, there was one communal toilet, and at that point in my life it was the first time I’d seen a toilet with an overhead tank with pull chain. Cockroaches everywhere. Every floor tipped at different angles, and this changed at different parts of each room, hallway and doorframe. I really wondered if I would live to see the next day. And then I thought, there are probably 10,000 more residential buildings in NYC alone, with this one being among the better, all things considered.


Tabby
Participant
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did the one in Braddock ever open up? I was in the building a couple years ago while it was being renovated.

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