By Jon Delano

WILMERDING (KDKA) — Looming over Wilmerding since 1896, the Westinghouse Castle — once the office of Pittsburgh’s George Westinghouse and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company — has been unoccupied for years.

But not for much longer.

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“It’s got this look to it like somebody had plopped a castle out of the French countryside and dropped it right into the middle of Wilmerding,” owner/developer told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

“It’s really a great building, great architecture, very stunning. There’s nothing like it in western Pennsylvania.”

Graf, best known for developing The Priory on Pittsburgh’s Northside, bought this castle for $100,000 in a sheriff’s sale and is dreaming big.

“Kind of my model is Bedford Springs Hotel in Bedford, PA.”

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“What we’re looking to do is create a 40-room hotel, event space with two big ballrooms, and one kind of medium size room, and a lot of break-out corporate retreat type space, and we’ll have a full-service restaurant, too.”

But to do all that, Graf needs to raise around $11 million — and a look around shows how much has to be done, although the building has lots of original features like fireplaces, chandeliers, woodwork, friezes on the walls, and unique stairwells.

“This is the grand staircase. It’s marble here on the steps and this is bronze on the railings.”

And then there’s the clock tower that, thanks to local residents, has kept the time through good times and bad.

If all goes according to plan, capital will be raised in 2017, construction begins in 2018, and this new hotel will open in the summer of 2019.

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