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Developer to buy Shoppes at Northway, vacant school for possible commercial project

| Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

An Ohio developer is purchasing Shoppes at Northway in Ross and the vacant Northway Elementary School next door and expects to reveal plans for the two properties early next year.

Levey & Co. of Akron, Ohio, expects to complete the purchase of Shoppes at Northway by this weekend.

On Wednesday, Levey filed an application with the township to rezone the 6-acre vacant school next door from residential to commercial.

Levey has a sales agreement to purchase the school from the North Hills School District for $2.46 million. The school board approved the purchase in June.

“We will eventually demolish the school building and integrate that site into the total master plan of development,” said Kevin Fallon, Levey's vice president development.

“We are kicking around a lot of possible development ideas for the mall and the school site, but no master plan has yet been developed,” he said.

He confirmed that some thought is being given to including a hotel there.

A hearing on the rezoning will be held on Dec. 20 by the township, said Dennis Schack, building inspector.

The mall's tenants at 8000 McKnight Road include Dick's Sporting Goods, Marshalls, PetSmart, Shoe Carnival, Aldi, Mamma Lucia restaurant, a T-shirt shop Rock America, and Northway Shoes & Repair.

“At a public meeting with the community on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., we will discuss the school but will not discuss any plans for the Shoppes,” Fallon said.

Shoppes at Northway is owned by Jefferson-Pilot Investments Inc. of Greensboro, N.C., which acquired the complex at a sheriff's sale in May for $1,597, according to Allegheny County records.

The previous owner was Northway Group LP, which purchased the property in 2000 for $24.2 million. The ownership included as a partner McKinney Equity Management Corp., according to state records.

The change in ownership was a result of a foreclosure lawsuit filed by Jefferson-Pilot against Northway Group for failing to pay $23.7 million owed to Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., the main lender on the property.

Compass Advisory Partners LLC was selected by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine A. Ward as receiver for Shoppes.

The shopping center opened as a strip mall in 1953. In 1962, an enclosed portion was added above the existing strip center, becoming the first indoor mall in Western Pennsylvania.

The original mall included an aviary, which was removed in 1994. In 1995, the mall was renovated by McNeil Real Estate of Dallas, which owned the center at that time.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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