Pittsburgh has a lot of distinct characteristics: nearby oil fields, one of the few strong industrial presences in the United States, and a lot of commercial and tourist attractions. Operating middle-market-type properties, the Williamsville, N.Y.–based Hamister Group manages five properties in the Pittsburgh market, including three Hampton Inns, a Holiday Inn Express, and a Residence Inn.
“There is enormous diversity in Pittsburgh and a good concentration of business investment and skilled workers,” says Mark Hamister, CEO of the Hamister Group. “There’s also a strong government presence, and add to that Mitsubishi and the expansion of the Westinghouse Research Center, and we have a lot of confidence in that market.”
Hamister also says occupancy rates in Pittsburgh have steadily risen over the past eight years, despite continued additions to the supply. In 2012, occupancy rates in Pittsburgh were 68.2 percent. He credits local government with helping drive hotel traffic through convention facilities and tourist attractions.
With a 15.2 percent increase of rooms in the pipeline compared to current supply, Pittsburgh is second only to Austin, Texas, in these hot secondary markets. Thirty-eight projects (3,733 rooms) are in the pipeline, including 18 projects that were started in the first quarter of 2013 and will go through the first quarter of 2014.
Financial sector growth
Reporting strong growth in the financial activities supersector, Pittsburgh gained 2,100 jobs in this area from March 2012 to March 2013, which is a 3 percent increase. This growth has been continual, representing the 42nd consecutive over-the-year increase.