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Pittsburgh Hostel Project to open hostel in South Side

Pittsburgh's first full-service hostel in many years has found a home in the South Side.  After four years of planning and a few false starts, the Pittsburgh Hostel Project (PHP) plans to open above the Beehive Coffeehouse on East Carson Street.

In the coming months, the Project will begin to rebuild the second and third floors of the building for guest accommodations, including restrooms, beds, and other hostel particulars.  The building's owner, developer Tom Tripoli, has agreed to complete base improvements to the structure, such as floor and ceiling renovations. 

PHP Director Anne Marie Toccket says the project’s leaders have been driven to bring a hostel to Pittsburgh because of a desire to share their enthusiasm for the city.

“None of us are really from here but we've all ended up here and we love it,” Toccket says.  “I’ve spent four of the past six years abroad and traveling, and I always tell people about Pittsburgh and how great it is.”

Toccket believes a hostel can increase the amount of foreign travelers stopping in Pittsburgh, as a logical midway point between New York City and Chicago.

Toccket is also eager to offer affordable accommodations to domestic travelers, with plans to build connections with cyclists traveling on the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.

“I see real opportunities to bring an active, outdoorsy demographic of travelers not just to Pittsburgh, but to the hostel, and have the hostel serve as a trailhead place,” Toccket says.

PHP is currently applying for grants, and seeking charitable donations and foundation support for the hostel’s construction, with a goal of raising $500,000.

While the Project is in the process of becoming an official non-profit, they have fiscal sponsorship from the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, who will accept tax-deductible donations on behalf of the hostel.

The hostel hopes to appeal to travelers beyond the budget-backpacking set.  In addition to dorm-style bunk rooms, PHP will offer private rooms with baths and kitchenettes. 

Toccket says they are optimistic that renovations will be complete, and the hostel will be accepting guests by the end of 2013. 

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Anne Marie Toccket
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