America’s Coolest Hotel is Coming to East Liberty
The former East Liberty YMCA will be transformed into the chic Ace Hotel by 2015.
Photo by Rick Chung
Coming soon to East Liberty: a hotel with hand-painted murals, furniture crafted by local woodworkers, brass doorknobs salvaged from historic buildings, rooms equipped with record players and a bar that serves small-batch coffee and microbrews.
There may be no better bellwether for "it" cities than the Ace Hotel. The meticulously curated hipster haven is a favorite of Googlers and touring bands. With just a handful of locations in seven cities around the world — including New York City, London and Portland — The New York Times has called the Ace “the country’s most original” hotel.
Now, Ace has finalized plans for its eighth location. Not in Paris or Prague. In Pittsburgh.
The former East Liberty YMCA will be transformed into a 63-room Ace Hotel by spring 2015. The $23 million conversion will also include a restaurant, ballroom and gym, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Googlers who often travel to the fast-expanding Bakery Square office will no doubt be rejoicing (though East Liberty may soon look like a cyborg enclave).
The Ace has a thing for converting historic buildings into spaces that reflect the culture and history of the city. The original Seattle location was built in a former Salvation Army halfway house in 1999 to cater to creatives. The stunning Portland location transformed the old Clyde Hotel, built in 1912, into a bohemian wonderland.
Those who cringe at the changing shape of East Liberty should be encouraged that it’s the Ace coming to town and not another Marriott.
“We want guests to wake up in their rooms and feel immediately that they’re in Portland and couldn’t be anywhere else,” Ace co-founder Alex Calderwood told The New York Times when the Ace Portland opened in 2007.
We can’t wait to see how the Ace integrates elements of East Liberty’s industrial past and Pittsburgh’s emerging cultural scene.
To get your mind churning, check out the gallery below to see what Ace has done at its other locations. Consider yourself on notice, Portland. We’re coming for you.