When you arrive at The Oaklander, the first thing you’ll do is take the elevator straight to the top.

“Guests will arrive on the first level and take the elevator to the 10th floor,” explains Keith McGraw, of North Carolina-based Concord Hospitality Enterprises Group. “There you’ll have the lobby, restaurant, lounge, meeting rooms — stuff you’d typically have on the ground floor.

Oakland’s new hotel, opening in early December, will bring 4-star amenities and is designed to make the most of its prime positioning next to the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.

“You’ll have magnificent views,” McGraw says of the dramatic rooftop lobby. “It’s all glass on the 10th floor.”

Overlooking the ornate edifices of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and Soldiers & Sailor’s Memorial Hall & Museum, the 167-room Oaklander Hotel will be the first Pennsylvania location of the Autograph Collection hotels by Marriott. This group of high-end properties offers designs unique to each of its locations.

“It won’t be like the one in Palo Alto, California, or Miami,” says McGraw. “Each one is designed with the virtues of the local culture, history and spirit of the area in mind. We’d call it kind of an ‘inspired modern’ design, with some classical lines to complement the area — Alumni Hall, Soldiers & Sailors, Pittsburgh Athletic Association —but more modern.”

“It’s an unprecedented location from a hotelier’s perspective,” McGraw says. “You’ve got demand-generators like the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, UPMC right there.”

The architect is Raintree Architecture and P.J. Dick is the contractor for the project, which has a projected cost of $37 million.

There will be a restaurant on the top floor, and another at ground level. Though there’s no word yet on what those eateries might be, we’re told the developers are talking with national, regional (meaning not just southwestern Pennsylvania, but potentially from as far as Philadelphia and D.C.) and also local restaurateurs.

“We’re looking to lease out to an independent restaurant operator,” says McGraw. 

Guests will find 2,200 square feet of meeting space at the top, and a small outdoor patio near the roof. There are also plans for adding a coffee shop on Lytton Avenue.

Concord is also developing the AC Hotel in the Strip District near Downtown, due to open in July.

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.