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Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Home Away From Home
Temporary housing offers transferees cozy alternative to hotels, apartments
By Joyce

When Giant Eagle Inc. recruited Glenn Taylor to run its Flex Rx Pharmacy Services subsidiary here last year, the suburban Chicago resident was eager to accept the position. But with a son about to finish his third year of high school, Taylor faced a dilemma common among professionals whose career opportunities take them miles from home. Taylor wanted his wife and family to remain in Illinois until his son finished high school. But that meant he needed to find a temporary home for himself in Pittsburgh.

Taylor ruled out a house because he didn't want to carry two mortgages. A conventional apartment could be a problem because he wasn't sure how long he'd need the place. Yet he wanted something more permanent than a hotel room. He found the solution in a month-to-month lease at the Shadyside Inn, a 104-suite complex that offers short-term accommodations to executives, transferees, actors or even local residents who need a temporary home while their house is under renovation.

If you're staying only a day oir two, you should stay at the Vista, the Westin William Penn or another hotel. If you're relocating, or doing a seminar, you should stay with us,' said Michael Plesset, who along with his brother, R. Jeffrey, converted a 40-year-old, red brick apartment building into the short-term housing facility five years ago. Like most executives who opt for this kind of arrangement rather than a hotel room, Taylor, 41, liked the fact that Shadyside Inn offered furnished rooms and an equipped kitchen.

Its East End location makes it convenient for Taylor to commute to either Flex Rx's offices in North Versailles for Giant Eagle's headquarters in O'Hara. Taylor, who travels to Chicago on weekends, expects his wife to join him this summer after his son's graduation. Meantime, they've purchased a lot in Fox Chapel and will begin construction on a new home when they sell their house in Illinois.

For Linda Manfredi, national director of teleservices for Resse Bros. Inc., a short-term stay at The Pennsylvanian, Downtown, has been extended long beyond her original plans. Manfredi accepted a transfer with Resse to Pittsburgh from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in October 1990, leaving her husband and three daughters behind. She lived in hotel rooms for three months and then decided she wanted more home-like surroundings.

So Manfredi got a one-bedroom apartment at The Pennsylvanian through Temporary Corporate Housing, a Columbus-based company that leases 120 apartments in the Pittsburgh area for people in need of short-term homes. Besides The Pennsylvanian, Temporary Corporate Housing handles units at apartment complexes in Bethel Park, Moon, McCandless and Monroeville. Manfredi's family plans to move here when the health insurance firm that her husband works for opens a Pittsburgh office. But that's taken a lot longer than they figured.

"I've been sitting on the edge for quite some time,' said Manfredi, who travels to Iowa about once every eight weeks. 'It's like my life is in limbo.' Because she's unsure how much longer her family will be in Cedar Rapids, the temporary set-up at The Pennsylvanian works well, she said. Her apartment has a washer and dryer; an equipped kitchen; and towels and linens. 'Because it was so tentative at the time I took this place, I didn't want to get into buying furniture, pots and pans. I have a complete set of all that at home,' Manfredi said.

'And it's nice because it's more like a home than a hotel room. I have a dresser here. So if i go home, I don't have to take everything I own.' The conveniences of such accommodations don't come cheap, however. Temporary Corporate Housing's units range from $55 to $108 per night, said Carolyn Turton, marketing representative.

The Price varies depending on the expected length of the stay, size of the apartment (one- or two-bedroom) and location, she said. Most customers book for a minimum of one month and the average stay is 90 days, she said. The amenities provided are the same for all units, Turton said. Those include: washer, dryer, equipped kitchen, television with basic cable service; free local phone calls and housekeeping service five days a week.

Shadyside Inn charges $1,595 per month for a studio apartment; $1795 for a one-bedroom unit and between $1,995 and $2,595 for a two-bedroom unit.

A typical apartment includes a galley-sized kitchen equipped with dishes and utensils, telephone, television with cable service, video cassette recorder, sheets and towels.