Posts Tagged ‘redevelopment’

Lancaster vintage inn may be demolished

March 3, 2009

The recession has not slowed development east of Lancaster PA, on a strip that has not stopped reinventing itself for a half-century. Lancaster Online reports that among the projects being considered is redevelopment at 2331 Lincoln Highway East, site of a Rodeway Inn. It would mean the demolition of the former Italian Villa East Restaurant whose motto on old postcards was “A touch of Italy in Dutchland.”


According to a follow-up today, the owners plan to demolish the restaurant and build an 83-room hotel to connect to the existing 39-room Rodeway Inn. The 122 rooms would be operated Rodeway Inn and another chain owned by the same company, sharing a breakfast area between them.

The township engineer expressed concerns regarding an access drive, curbing, excess lot coverage, and that the old building might have historic value.

But the developer “said after a search on the Internet and talking with Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, he couldn’t come up with any records that the dwelling would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The supervisors, however, still recommended the owners look into somehow reusing materials from the dwelling in the new structure to give it a local flavor.”

The site is across from and very close to the former Congress Inn, a vintage motel that’s set to be demolished and replaced by newer accommodations as I reported a half-year ago.

Pgh Automobile Row dealership to be demolished

January 15, 2008

Don Allen Auto City, a well-known car dealership on Pittsburgh’s East End, is set to be replaced by a $230 million development. The c. 1920 showoom and related areas cover seven acres where Baum Boulevard intersects Liberty Avenue, and at the confluence of three communities: Shadyside, Bloomfield and East Liberty. All buildings will be demolished and over the next four years, the site will fill with townhouses, condominiums, a 9-story hotel, 1,200 parking spaces, and 700,000 square feet of office and related space. A triangular park bordered by Liberty, Baum and South Aiken Avenue will also be built. Numerous publications and sites are covering the story including Hotels, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.


Don Allen opened 52 years ago and has been owned by the Voelker family for 50 years. The building long had a 1960s metallic facade, but it was removed in recent years, exposing the brick underneath. A mural from that period remains in the parts department, its fate unknown. The business stretches a few blocks along Baum Boulevard, once the city’s Automobile Row. It was a main road into Pittsburgh’s wealthy eastern suburbs, and so became a leading retail, repair, and manufacturing center for bicycles, and then for cars by the 1910s. Scattered remnants survive, including a former Ford assembly plant a couple block west, a 1933 Modernist Chrysler showroom designed by Albert Kahn a few blocks east, and a showroom turned drug store across from that. A few blocks farther eastward is a marker for the first drive-in filling station, which is more correctly the first architect designed drive-in station, built by Gulf in 1913

This video report below includes a woman who says “they need something that’s more affordable…. It’s just outrageous trying to find a place that people can afford.” Another questions whether more housing and hotels are needed. Click on the image to open the video’s web page:


Inventory liquidation is ongoing, and site preparation should start this summer, pending city approval and funding; according to the Post-Gazette, “The project partners acknowledge that they hope to secure public financing to assist with the project, although they were not willing today to specify what type or how much.”