Wal-Mart chooses Wilkins Twp. over Penn Hills for new location
By Patrick Varine and Tory N. Parrish
Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 3:27 p.m.
There's not going to be a Wal-Mart in Penn Hills anytime soon.
Penn Hills Planning Director Howard Davidson said on Nov. 15 that his office had received a call from officials at the multinational retailer notifying him that they were discontinuing the project, which has been in the works for several years and has included the acquisition of a sliver of property in Plum Borough for the proposed retail center.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. instead wants to build a 124,715-square-foot supercenter, which would include a grocery store, in the Penn Center East development off William Penn Highway in Wilkins Township, according to an application it submitted to the state Department of Transportation regarding a traffic-impact study.
Wilkins Township Manager Rebecca Bradley said township officials have met with project representatives with regard to property development and traffic, and have held preliminary meetings with PennDOT about a traffic-impact study.
Bradley and project representative Rick Celender, of CEC Inc., said Walmart officials are interested in the current Sears building at 3470 William Penn Highway.
The parcel is owned by PCELL, L.P., and LG Realty Advisors lease and manage the property. Penn Center East General Manager Barry Layton confirmed that Walmart has entered into a lease for the property.
“We've met with Celender to go over a very preliminary plan,” Bradley said, “and Wal-Mart is tentatively planning to submit an application to the planning commission in December.”
Davidson said that after the project spent such a long time in the planning stages, he was not completely surprised that Wal-Mart ultimately went a different way.
“It's difficult to get Wal-Mart to give details on their reasoning, but the slow and expensive process of obtaining a highway occupancy permit from PennDOT had to play a significant role,” he said.
With residents speaking out both for and against the project —which has gone through at least three potential locations, beginning with the old East Hills Shopping Center off of Robinson Boulevard — Davidson said he expects reaction to be mixed.
“Some will be pleased, while others will be disappointed,” he said.
William Wertz, Wal-Mart's East community and media relations director, said the company re-evaluates its projects and priorities on a continuing basis, “to make sure we're allocating our capital resources most effectively.”
Wertz said Wal-Mart did not have any official announcement to make regarding a location in Wilkins.
See the Nov. 22 edition of the Penn Hills Progress for more information.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.