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South Fayette residents weigh in on UPMC, Topgolf plans

| Thursday, April 13, 2017, 12:03 p.m.
File photo of the UPMC East Hospital in Monroeville.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
File photo of the UPMC East Hospital in Monroeville.

Developers of Newbury Market in South Fayette have begun filling in the details of the project's next phase, including plans for a UPMC medical facility and a Topgolf entertainment spot.

Those plans for the development near I-79 and Millers Run Road are drawing mixed reactions from residents.

Many attending township commissioners' meeting Wednesday expressed approval of the addition of Topgolf, an entertainment facility putting a spin on a traditional driving range.

UPMC's plans, however, did not receive as positive a response from attendees.

Hank Moore, who lives in the residential portion of Newbury, said he's concerned about traffic on Presto-Sygan Road generated by the medical facility. He wondered if the road will need to be expanded to accommodate increased traffic, adding UPMC also could be disruptive to the neighborhood.

“When we bought in, drove past the big signs on the hill, there was no hospital,” Moore said.

Other residents said the non-profit UPMC hospital will remove 16 acres of commercial land from the township tax rolls.

Newbury Market is a commercial and residential complex on the site of the former Reichhold Chemical Co. plant.

Brett Malky, president of Newbury Development Associates, said the shopping center proposal was based on retail conditions years ago. Since, traditional retail has declined and many big-box retailers – Newbury was counting on them locating at the development – are closing stores, not opening new ones.

As a result, the new plan calls for UPMC and Topgolf to be the two anchor businesses at opposite ends of the 100-acre property, not traditional retail outlets.

“We needed to look at alternative anchors that will create a sustainable place,” Malky said.

Roger Altmeyer, senior director of community project development for UPMC, said the proposed facility likely will be smaller than UPMC East, the 160-bed hospital in Monroeville.

Although specific services at the facility remain in discussion, Altmeyer said it would include in-patient, out-patient, emergency and intensive care treatments. He said although there will be a helipad, the facility will not be a trauma center, meaning helicopters will transport patients from, not to, the facility.

“The program is in flux, to be developed,” Altmeyer said.

The cost estimate for the facility is $100 million.

Topgolf's plans are more concrete.

Mark Foster, the company's real estate development manager, said this will be Topgolf's first Pennsylvania facility; it's next-closest operation being in suburban Washington, D.C. It will have three levels with 120 driving bays.

Topgolf players drive micro-chipped balls at targets in a concept similar to darts. Foster said the bays are heated and open year-round.

The facility will also feature live music, movies, a restaurant and rooftop terrace.

The company said building the facility will cost about $50 million.

Foster said Topgolf could hire up to 500 people locally.

Some in attendance, including Newbury resident John Tigue, said the development can attract young professionals to South Fayette.

South Fayette commissioners are scheduled to vote on a trio of motions on Newbury at their next meeting, 7 p.m. on April 19 at the township building, 515 Millers Run Road.

Topgolf's site plans are scheduled to be on the agenda. A public hearing and possible vote on a conditional use for UPMC also is scheduled. If the conditional use is approved, UPMC will still need final site plan approval.

Eric Eisert is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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