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Dormont land swap up for vote

| Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

Dormont council will vote next month on whether to swap a 75-space parking lot for several parcels owned by the #1 Cochran auto dealership. It will also decide whether to pursue tax-backed loans for a development that could be built on part of the land.

A special meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 19 for a vote on the deal. The borough would trade the parking lot at West Liberty Avenue and McFarland Road to Cochran for its used-car lot across West Liberty at Biltmore Avenue. The borough would also get another small parcel the dealership owns between Biltmore and Park Boulevard.

More details will be released as soon as the meeting agenda is set, said borough Manager Jeff Naftal.

The trade would give Cochran space to build an Infiniti dealership next to its Nissan showroom, and a parking deck that would wrap around the Nissan building. Dormont would control the block of West Liberty between Biltmore and Park. Downtown-based Oxford Development wants to combine the block with Port Authority's adjacent park-and-ride lot at Dormont Junction to build a parking garage, 102 apartments and street-level retail.

“We think it's a great transit-oriented development site,” said Megan Stearman, marketing coordinator for Oxford. “We're definitely interested.”

To finance development between Dormont Junction and West Liberty, the county, borough and Keystone Oaks School District must approve a tax-increment financing plan, officials said. Under it, developers would pay back loans with extra tax money the development generates.

A borough committee would work on the TIF plan, but council must vote to approve it at the Dec. 19 meeting. More detailed studies of how much property tax revenue the project could generate and how much the developers would borrow would come later, Naftal said.

Some business owners have expressed concern over the land swap because it would reduce the number of parking spaces for customers and move them farther away from stores.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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