There are new developments in the Hilton Hotel saga.
The hotel may be looking for a brand new name.
This comes after losing its Hilton franchise, facing a mortgage foreclosure complaint and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Blackrock Financial, the hotel lender, asked a bankruptcy court judge today to let it go forward with its mortgage foreclosure effort.
A hearing on that is set for next week.
Second, hotel owners say they are actively seeking a new major hotel chain to give the Hilton a new name.
Since Conrad Hilton cut his deal with Mayor David Lawrence back in the 1950′s, only one name has ever appeared on the landmark hotel.
The Hilton name is everywhere on the building, including a new Hilton “H” laid in tile two weeks ago. Hotel owners still hope to keep Hilton on the building.
“We are reaching out to them again now, saying, ‘Listen, we’re making some changes,’” says Frank Amedia, hotel asset manager for the Shubh Group.
But so far, no such meetings with Hilton are scheduled, says Amedia, leading the owners to think about other hotel chains.
“We’re very far along in those discussions. We’ve had several discussions and meetings. They’ve been non-stop over the weekend. Our phones actually rang because this is considered a jewel,” says Amedia.
Under the current franchise agreement, the hotel owners have less than 30 days to remove the Hilton name. During that time they can either renegotiate with Hilton or find another hotel chain to take its place.
Amedia won’t identify the candidates, but it’s likely to be a well-known name like a Marriott, Intercontinental, Sheraton or Loews.
“We would only be looking at top echelon conference centers that have a great system for reservations and a conference background,” says Amedia.
Tom Hardy, past president of the Pittsburgh Hotel Association, says the city needs a big name on the Hilton Hotel.
“Extremely important. In order to attract future convention business, it’s the largest hotel the city has, so it’s very important that we have a major brand that is able to attract meeting planners to the City of Pittsburgh,” says Hardy.
“I can tell you that those who have reached out to us and those we’re talking with would make us all very proud,” says Amedia.
KDKA Money Editor Jon Delano reached out to a number of possible big hotel chains, but they wouldn’t comment on possible deals.
Lots of hotels in downtown Pittsburgh have changed brand names –The Westin, The Marriott, The Doubletree, The Omni — just to name a few.
But nobody would have included the Pittsburgh Hilton in that list until now.