Ace in the Allegheny

A Boutique Hotel Sells Pittsburgh to Itself

Story by Nancy Scola

Photography by Martha Rial

Published on Nov 19, 2012

Ace Hotel, the ultra-hip hotel chain with outposts in cities like Portland, New York and Palm Springs, has another young and creative urban locale in its sights. But this time, Ace won’t open a branch in some coastal hipster hotbed. No, next on the list is Pittsburgh — specifically East Liberty, Pittsburgh, a neighborhood replete with faded Victorian buildings and still recovering from mid-century decay and the missteps of urban renewal. Why here? For one, the notion of PIttsburgh as a dying steel town is evolving, especially among locals, and though the city continues to shrink, its under-35 population has started to grow, big time. Forefront veteran Nancy Scola explores whether Ace, the apotheosis of the creative class theory and third space to end all third spaces, can seize the opportunity to help usher in a citywide branding change.