Iconic Kaufmann’s Building Gets New Lease with Luxury Apartments, Hotel

The developer behind Kaufmann’s Grand on Fifth Downtown promise to meld the historic with the modern as it readies to open more than 300 residential units featuring voice-command system Amazon Alexa, plus a rooftop infinity pool, restaurant and bar.

photo via flickr creative commons

Empty for years, the iconic Kaufmann’s building Downtown is finding new life as a multi-use space housing luxury apartments, retail stores, restaurants and a new hotel.

Last week, Philadelphia-based developer Core Realty partnered with Amazon for a ribbon-cutting event at the 1.2 million-square-foot building, which also spent time as a Macy’s, on Fifth Avenue.

The rebranded Kaufmann’s Grand on Fifth Avenue will contain more than 300 high-tech studio, one- and two-bedroom contemporary apartments featuring open kitchens outfitted with stainless steel appliances. Rent ranges from $1,378 a month for a studio to $2,371 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the Kaufmann’s Grand website.

photo courtesy kaufmann's grand on fifth avenue

Apartments in the more-than-a-century old building, which was built in the late 1880s, should be available for move-in by early 2018. Each unit will include Amazon Alexa, a fully automated, integrated voice command lifestyle technology.

Residents will be able to use Alexa to control each condo’s surround sound, room temperature, lighting, televisions, window shades and — perhaps most importantly for those who need their caffeine fix in the early hours — starting up the morning coffee.

“This is an iconic and historic building with amenities that have never been seen before in Pittsburgh’s residential market,” says Michael Samschick, president and CEO of Core Realty, which purchased the Kaufmann’s building in 2015. “Making Amazon Alexa and our Savant operating system available in our apartments introduces the next level of modern living.”

The ornate Kaufmann’s clock on the corner of the building — a favorite meeting spot for Pittsburghers throughout the years — will keep its place on the 13-story building, which will also feature an automated spa room, virtual reality game room, movie media center and an outdoor park at its center.

rendering courtesy desmone architects

On the roof, there will be tennis courts, a running track and an infinity pool, plus a rooftop restaurant and bar.  

EVEN Hotel, a boutique hotel brand owned by International Hospitality Group that specializes in wellness-focused amenities for guests, also will open its first Pittsburgh location inside the building.

The 160-room hotel, which will be EVEN’s first adaptive-reuse location, will offer a “swim studio,” state-of-the-art workout equipment and healthy dining options, plus a 6,800-square-foot event space.

Samschick told WTAE that Kaufmann’s Grand would meld the historic with the ultra-modern. Elements of the building designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright will remain but will be joined by massive wall video screens and water displays in the apartment lobby.  

The project includes "anything that we can (do to) bring back from the Kaufmann era,” Samschick told WTAE. “Now these are Frank Lloyd Wright doors (on the elevators, for example.) Everything that's Frank Lloyd Wright-driven, we're tried to save every piece of it.”

He added announcements regarding retail stores and office tenants for the space should be revealed by the first part of 2018.


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