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Dormont OKs land swap with #1 Cochran car dealership

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Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
 

Dormont officials have approved a land swap with #1 Cochran, trading a borough-owned parking lot for the dealership's used-car lot — and setting conditions to ensure Cochran will limit disruption to parking on West Liberty Avenue.

Council unanimously approved the agreements in a special meeting on Dec. 19. Dormont will trade its triangular parking lot at West Liberty Avenue and McFarland Road for Cochran's used-car lot at West Liberty and Biltmore and a small lot the dealership owns on the other side of that intersection.

There was no discussion before the vote. The trade had been discussed for months in meetings where business owners worried about losing convenient parking.

Council members Eugene Barilla and John Maggio were absent.

Before the swap goes forward, Cochran must:

• Have all borough approvals required to build an Infiniti dealership on the borough lot.

• Convert the used-car lot to a public metered parking lot.

• Provide Dormont with an easement at West Liberty and McFarland to install a “Welcome to Dormont” sign.

Bill Krahe, developer for Cochran, said it's hoped construction will start in the spring for the Infiniti dealership. The work will include a parking deck that will wrap around the existing showroom.

During construction, Cochran will continue to lease a couple of borough-owned parking lots on the west side of West Liberty, between Cochran and Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, for its inventory. When work is done, expected late next year, Cochran will turn the lots over to the borough.

Dormont solicitor John Cambest said that the borough should have 75 parking spaces available to the businesses in that block of West Liberty Avenue while work goes on.

“We can't say anything specific at this time, but between our efforts and the borough's, we will have some options,” Krahe said.

Cochran representatives said they would help find additonal public spots during construction or it will pay the borough up to $2,500 a month for a shuttle bus or valet parking.

Cochran also agreed to participate in a future tax increment financing district that uses new tax revenue from development to pay back loans for infrastructure improvements.

Downtown-based Oxford Development expressed interest in building apartments, retail and a parking garage on the borough land and Port Authority's park-and-ride lot at the Dormont T station. However, borough Manager Jeffrey Naftal said a request for proposals would be issued once the TIF is approved.

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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