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Sound Off: Turning Moon's Holiday Inn into an RMU Dormitory?

Should the Holiday Inn, which is owned by Robert Morris University, be considered a residence hall for students?

 has filed for a partial tax exemption for its Pittsburgh Airport Holiday Inn property on University Boulevard, reports the Post-Gazette

The university purchased the 10-story hotel for $10 million during a 2011 Allegheny County Sheriff's sale. 

RMU houses students on the first-three floors of the building, operating the rest of the facility as a hotel and banquet venue under the Holiday Inn brand. 

The Moon-based university, which is readying to complete several , has requested that Moon Township amend its zoning ordinance to allow student housing on University Boulevard, which could entitle the property to tax exemptions. 

At an accessed value of more than $7 million, the building contributes $22,000 in municipal taxes and more than $145,000 in school taxes, according to county property records. 

Moon planning director Adam McGurk said at a township meeting earlier this year that the university argues that student housing should be permitted on University because the campus is located across the street from the hotel.

Current township zoning ordinances do not permit student housing on University Boulevard. 

, the university in 2010 began renting out several floors of the hotel to lodge students before it purchased the property. Currently live on the RMU campus, which is located one mile from the hotel.

Students have access to all hotel facilities and are shuttled from the hotel to campus. Students who reside in the hotel pay the same room and board rates as students who live on campus. 

So what do you think? Should Robert Morris University be permitted to use the Holiday Inn hotel as a dorm? Should it be entitled to tax exemptions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. 

The Dude July 06, 2012 at 05:35 PM
HELL NO!!! If you can't house the student on campus, then you are growing at a rate that cannot keep up. Growth is good, but if you need to purchase a hotel to house students, then you are accepting too many for the size of the University. What a huge tax loss this would be. Would result is higher taxes all residents for students who would be here for 4 to 5 years.
Catherine July 06, 2012 at 07:39 PM
#1, HS students don't LIVE at school (though there may be some parents who would disagree). So how that is a valid argument for changing a zoning law is beyond me. #2, I don't actually have a problem with them housing students there. So, change the zoning law to allow it, but no tax exemption. Why do businesses (because really, they are in the business of education students) always think they should get a tax exemption? How are they doing anything that would benefit the town (to justify the tax exemption) by bringing in more students? More students=more revenue for the school, therefore they should pay the taxes on that increased revenue. THAT'S how they would benefit the town. I am REALLY sick and tired of paying ALL of my taxes when businesses with much much much higher income than me think they should be treated differently. I really do think all the ills of our country would be cured with EVERYONE paying their fair share.
Mary Ann Bonidie July 06, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I say no way tax exempt is getting to be the norm for a lot of space being bought up and then they don't want to pay taxes, I don't want to pay taxes but o yea I'm a tax payer so we don't count. We just pick up the tab for all these tax exempt and non profit organization give me a break
Donna Shubert July 07, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I agree w/ The Dude's comments. What is going on w/ this township? We need these taxes from hotels/businesses; we don't need them going tax exempt - university or not. The township harrasses WalMart to a stalmate, but we want to make RMU's hotel tax exempt. Residents always seem to lose - but don't worry we'll pay for it eventually.
Jenna Staul (Editor) July 07, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Hi everyone, Just to clarify one point: The university has requested the tax exemption, but the township has not taken action on the measure. We'll keep following the story! Jenna
dave murphy July 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
its an asset to the community.dont drive away investments that are a sure thing
Josey Wales July 08, 2012 at 01:50 AM
My feeling on the matter is that if the University can spend 10 million dollars for the purchase of the building, then they can pony up their fair share of the taxes that are levied against it by the county and the local taxing bodies. The students that will be staying there, will not be staying there for free. They will be paying the university more than their fair share in rooming costs. To me it is no different than if you owned a home in Moon Twp. and rented it out. The taxes still need to be paid by the owner of the home. These taxes go to fund the local Police and Fire departments, two departments that will show up there if any trouble arises. Pay up RMU...if you didn't want to pay the taxes, you should not have bought the building in the first place.
Jarrod Shupp July 09, 2012 at 12:33 AM
I agree with paying some taxes for the hotel guests because thats a business for consumers and they will be making a profit from them. As for the students there I don't think they should be tax on them. Yes the school is receiving money but the money goes right back to the students in programs other building to educate the students. On a different note for Moon Township residence what is the draw to come to Moon? The airport is pretty much a bust and not as local as it once was, the car dealerships? If it wasn't for RMU all the restaurants, hotels, and other stores would not be there. With the students, their families, the events and sports teams that visit RMU daily a lot of money is being spent in Moon and taxes are collected on that. So look at it from two ways. Be grateful that RMU is in Moon otherwise you would be collecting less taxes from patrons and have less business to pay taxes.
Robert Crytzer July 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM
In lieu of taxes, I would suggest that Robert Morris University pay for the installation of sidewalks along both sides of University Boulevard, running from the Pittsburgh Airport Holiday Inn to the entrance to the campus, so students housed at the Holiday Inn can hoof it to class in the morning. That way, they will feel more like they're part of the campus and it will enhance their safety. (Not every student is going to catch the shuttle in time to get to class. Plus, it's good exercise.)
Jenna Staul (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
We'll have a follow up on this story tomorrow with a little more info. I like the sidewalks suggestion, Robert!
Jonathan Wright July 11, 2012 at 09:32 PM
The University reaps the benefits and services the Township provides yet at no cost to them. They need to pay something for services they receive. I admit I have no idea but I would like to know what does Moon Township reap from Robert Morris? At some point, probably long after I am gone, the whole Carnot section of the Township might just belong to RMU, then what?
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:12 AM
HEY MOON TOWNSHIP - LISTEN UP! I AGREE - RMU needs to pay for SOME of the expenses of the Holiday Inn - Not what the Holiday Inn paid - but pay something. RMU has 1,500+ students coming to this area for 9 months - they need gas - Hello Get-Go, BP, Sunoco. They buy food - Hello Giant Eagle, Kuhns, 7-11, Sheetz. The go out to eat - Hello SubWay, McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Duncan Donuts, Arby's, Primantti Brothers, Bob Evans, Wendy's, Ground Round, Eat 'nPark (note: RMU's foodservice is Eat n'Park). And all of the smaller places. Hello - Rite Aid, Walgreens, Porters and all of the other Pharmacy's in Moon Township - where do you get your medication? How about all the business at the other business' in the area such as the UPS Store and the Fitness Centers - they all get RMU Student Business. and I dare not forget the bars and beer distributors. Please ASK any of these business' how much money STOPS coming in the day RMU students leave - the business's need to THANK RMU and the students. Go into Kuhn's or Giant Eagle and see how much business they get from RMU employees and we're talking 7 / 24/ 365! How many Doctors, Lawyers, Automotive, Chiropractors get business from RMU students, faculty and staff. RMU continues to grow - more people are living in the area because of RMU - how many students live off campus in the apartment complexes - hummmmm who benefits? END OF PART 1
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:17 AM
HEY MOON TOWNSHIP - PART 2: SIDEWALKS - tell me Robert & Jenna when was the last time you walked along University Blvd? - Sorry sidealks just won't work! How many people - now HONESTLY think about this, "How many people would walk up and down University Blvd?" Given anytime of the day you will see 2 - 6 people walking the entire length. And then who's going to clean them once the snow flies? Plus the way the drivers drive University Blvd. I don't think so - when was the last time you looked at the sides of the road on University Blvd - where in the "H E - DOUBLE TOOTHPICK" are you going to build sidewalks - and you say BOTH SIDES - you can't even fit a sidewalk on one side. Moon Township is not a walking community - people drive to Giant Eagle, then move the car to UPS then Rite Aid. Plus I didn't even get to all the summer camps, events, wedding, meeting, they host - those folks spend money and buy gas, stay at motels too! TIME TO THANK ROBERT MORRIS! Plus I didn't even get to all the summer camps, events, wedding, meeting, they host - those folks spend money and buy gas, stay at motels too! THANKS TO THE "UPS STORE and Chris" and to "WALGREENS" for really aiding the RMU students with all their help - along with the others - How many Moon Township business' offer RMU students discounts????? How much money do they bring into the Moon Township area? TIME TO THANK ROBERT MORRIS!
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:21 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:21 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:21 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:21 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:22 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1. P.S. - How many other business's were willing to buy the Holiday Inn - the answer: NONE!
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:22 AM
thank you for your comment - PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:23 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:23 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:23 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
VERY VERBAL1 August 01, 2012 at 03:24 AM
PLEASE READ MY REPLY TO THIS ARTICLE - THANKS! VERY VERBAL1.
Jonathan Wright August 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Glad we agree they have to pay something Verbal1. I agree the local businesses reap benefits from the University and overall, I hope that helps the local residents and the economy in general. I just simply think some thought into the future needs to be done before giving away taxable property. Once you give it, you don't usually get it back! I have to admit, I like the idea of the "small business owner" reaping benefits but honestly, I don't think Walgreens Corporation or other large businesses would miss the cash if RMU disappeared. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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