big deal

Priory to pimp up Shadyside's historic Mansions on Fifth

The Priory is putting Shadyside on notice.

The North Side's Priory Hospitality Group is expanding its reach again by buying the operating assets of the historic Mansions on Fifth hotel in Shadyside, said John Graf, Priory's president and CEO.

And we're talkin' a six-figure deal.

The purchase includes the brand name, a property lease and the rights to run the Mansions, but not the physical property of the 22-room boutique hotel, he said.

Priory, which also owns a 42-room historic hotel, banquet facility and bakery on the North Side, will continue to operate the Mansions as a hotel but with added amenities, he said.

"There are some some strategies that we use to differentiate what we're doing and kind of create a unique guest experience," Graf said.

Priory bought the Mansions' operations from Richard Pearson and Mary Del Brady on Thursday for six figures, said Graf, who declined to disclose the specific price. The couple could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Built in the early 1900s, Mansions on Fifth has 22 guest rooms between the 25,000-square-foot McCook Mansion and 8,000-square-foot McCook-Reed House, as well as rentable event space. Pearson and Brady opened it as a hotel in 2011 after extensive renovations.

Under its new operator, the Mansions will start offering guest packages that include hotel stays, tickets to East End attractions such as the Carnegie Museums and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, and restaurant visits, Graf said.

Also, the Mansions will begin regular shuttle service for guests around the East End, and for special events on the North Side and Downtown, such as Steelers games and festivals.

Also, special events packages tied to ethnic cultures, such as Latin American and Eastern European, will be rolled out with on-site kitchens preparing group meals at both the Priory and Mansions, Graf said.

"We're trying to create products that no one else in the marketplace is doing," he said.

The Mansions' 25 workers become employees of Priory, which already had 75 staff members on the North Side at its Priory Hotel on Pressley Street, an adjacent banquet facility called Pittsburgh's Grand Hall at the Priory, and Priory Fine Pastries on East Ohio Street.

A family-owned business, Priory has been working to expand its reach and diversify its operations by acquiring new properties and providing management services for other companies.

In June, Priory bought Westinghouse Castle, formerly George Westinghouse's Air Brake Co., in Wilmerding for $100,000 at a sheriff's sale. It will be turned into a boutique hotel, event facility and restaurant by 2019, Graf said.

Also, Priory will be the management company for October Development's new 96-room Comfort Inn & Suites, which is part of the redevelopment of the former site of the Arc House alcohol treatment facility on the North Side. Beside the hotel on East Ohio Street will be a Priory-branded building with event space and a brew pub, all of which are expected to open in February 2018, Graf said.

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