As a principal with the real estate development firm Century Equities, it’s not often that Josh Aderholt gets to work on projects right in his own backyard. So the new TRYP hotel on Butler Street is a special project for the 12-year resident of Lawrenceville.
“It’s just really gratifying to take a building that was falling apart,” Aderholt says, “and slowly bring it back to life in a neighborhood that we care about.”
With the official grand opening of the new TRYP hotel in Lawrenceville approaching on Thursday (though they’ve had guests in ever since “Garth Brooks weekend” in late May), here’s a breakdown of some of the key features of this new addition to the Butler Street business district.
It’s retro-chic and very, very local.
Built inside of the old Washington Education Center, which closed in 2006, the building’s design mixes the iconic architecture and interiors (including original school lockers and custom wallpaper made from yearbook photos of graduates) with stunning new artwork and multimedia installations by more than 40 Pittsburgh creatives, many of them Lawrenceville residents. (Find details on that, lots of photos, here.)
Desmone Architects, located just up the road at Doughboy Square on Butler Street, collaborated on the design. Desmone’s interior designer, Shelby Weber, and project manager, Rebecca Lowe didn’t need a car to get from their desks to the construction site — they simply walked down the block.
The contractor was Franjo Construction, based in Homestead.
But while the focus was totally local, the project brings a franchise of a major international hotel chain (the trendy TRYP hotels are a Wyndham brand) to a neighborhood other than Downtown.
Among the nods to the neighborhood: Along with a vast amount of local art throughout the building, guest rooms will include a rotating selection of hand-drawn maps of Lawrenceville by local artists, pointing out their favorite hangouts and other aspects of the neighborhood.
The hotel is “a transformational project for Lawrenceville,” says Chip Desmone, the architecture firm’s CEO. “Once you have the bandwidth to attract an international hotel chain like TRYP, that’s a sign that the neighborhood has really come a long way.”
Places to sleep, and places to play.
There are 108 rooms in all, with rates ranging from $150 to $250. As in many of TRYP’s locations, “the family rooms feature bunk beds,” says Aderholt. “We think they are going to be a big hit.”
But the property is likely to be a popular destination with Pittsburgh residents, along with visiting out-of-towners.
Not one, but two restaurants — including one with an unbeatable view.
Aderholt says there’s no plan for a big announcement about the opening of the hotel’s nightspots — word-of-mouth has had potential customers showing up even before the restaurants have opened.
Brick Shop, located on the ground floor, offers contemporary American food with a menu courtesy of popular Pittsburgh chef Kate Romane. It’s located in what was once the school’s actual brickmaking shop and includes a view of an outdoor mural painted on the cement beneath 40th Street.
Upstairs you’ll find Over Eden, literally located high above Eden Way on the newly-added top floor of the building. The indoor dining area and bar have windows on three sides, including some that roll up like garage doors. Outside, an open patio lets you take in an uninterrupted view of the Downtown skyline.
Both kitchens will be managed by Executive Chef Brandon Blumenfeld and feature locally sourced ingredients. Local chef and entrepreneur Kate Romane collaborated on the design of the menu.
“The rooftop restaurant and bar with its great view,” says Aderholt, “that’s really one of the things that attracted us most to the project.”