Roundup: Highmark wins OK for $100M medical mall; area gas prices up 2 cents; more

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Highmark wins OK for medical mall in Pine

Highmark Inc. received approval from Pine Township this week to begin construction on a $100 million medical center on Route 19. Highmark, the state's largest health insurer, expects to open the facility, Wexford Medical Mall, in 2014. The medical mall will offer one-stop shopping for a wide range of outpatient medical services, such as doctor offices, medical imaging, lab testing and pharmacy. Officials with the insurer could not be reached for comment. They have said the facility is one of two medical malls that are planned for the region as Highmark builds a health system to compete with UPMC.

Gasoline prices up again

Gasoline prices in Western Pennsylvania increased this week by 2 cents a gallon, AAA East Central said. The average price for regular gas was $3.525 across the region on Tuesday, up from $3.504 a week ago. Average prices ranged from a high of $3.599 in Mercer to low of $3.364 in Brookville. The national average was $3.300 a gallon. AAA said gasoline prices are up because supplies in Pennsylvania remain tight following Hurricane Sandy and oil prices have been rising steadily in recent weeks.

Super Bowls ads top $4M

Super Bowl ads have sold for more than $4 million for some 30-second spots for this year's game. All the commercials for the NFL championship Feb. 3 in New Orleans are sold out, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves said Tuesday. Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot last year. TV's biggest event averaged more than 111 million viewers in 2012. For CBS, the entire company is taking part in promoting the Super Bowl. The network's telecasts will be headquartered in New Orleans' Jackson Square. The sets will be used by 15 different shows from nine CBS divisions, from the main network to cable channels to online to radio.

Apollo profit, enrollment drop

Apollo Group Inc., owner of the University of Phoenix and the biggest for-profit college, said first-quarter earnings fell 11 percent as new enrollment declined for a third straight quarter. Net income for the three months ended Nov. 30 decreased to $133.5 million, or $1.18 a share, from $149.3 million, or $1.14, a year earlier, Phoenix-based Apollo said. Competition for students has increased as more traditional universities have begun offering online courses that were once dominated by for-profit colleges. Apollo and its for-profit college competitors have faced scrutiny the past few years from state attorneys general and the U.S. government over their recruiting practices. As of Nov. 30, 319,700 students were enrolled in Apollo degree programs, down 14 percent from a year earlier. New students signing up for classes fell 15 percent to 54,100.

Chevy adopts new ad campaign

Chevrolet is dropping its “Chevy Runs Deep” slogan and replacing it with the new tagline “Find New Roads,” saying that it's better geared toward drivers outside the United States. The General Motors Co. brand pointed to its significant overseas expansion over the past several years, noting that it's developing products for sale in more than 140 markets around the world. “Find New Roads” will be used in the brand's advertising starting in the United States this quarter. GM unveiled the “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign in the fall of 2010.

Consumer debt rises

Consumers borrowed more in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $15.2 billion. A category that measures credit card debt rose just $817 million. The sharp difference in the borrowing gains illustrates a broader trend that began after the Great Recession. Four years ago, Americans carried $1.03 trillion in credit card debt, an all-time high. In November, that figure was 16.5 percent lower.

Other business news

• Allegheny General Hospital was named to a list of the “100 Hospitals with Great Heart Programs” by Becker's Hospital Review. It was the only hospital in Western Pennsylvania to make the list, which recognizes hospitals that are leading cardiovascular disease centers, according to West Penn Allegheny Health System, owner of the North Side hospital.

• A new Petco pet supplies store in Gibsonia will feature pet adoptions, giveaways and discounts during its grand opening events in late January. The store at 5600 William Flynn Highway will open on Jan. 22, and grand opening events run during he Jan. 26 and 27 weekend. Petco has 12 stores in Western Pennsylvania.

— Staff and wire reports

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