ShareThis Page

Mt. Lebanon hires help to pitch project over 'T' line

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon officials will get help pitching a one-of-a-kind development that would be built above the light rail transit tracks and station in the municipality's central business district.

Commissioners on Tuesday approved hiring Mechanicsburg-based planning firm Delta Development Group Inc. for a maximum $25,000.

Delta will help the municipality write a request for proposals to detail what sort of development commissioner want to see built on a series of decks above the tracks that run between the Washington Road businesses and Shady Drive.

Commercial Districts Manager Eric Milliron said Delta was one of three companies bidding for the work, and the agency impressed the selection committee with the possibility of seeking two rounds of proposals.

The first would lay out a broad set of requirements for the project, and the second would get more specific with developers who express interest.

“They would cast ... a broad net, then do a quicker evaluation to narrow down the developers to invite back for a second round,” said Commissioner John Bendel, a member of the committee that recommended Delta for the job.

Milliron said Delta “would dedicate a significant portion of the project budget up front to scouring the area and seeing what kind of project makes sense there.”

Delta has consulted on a variety of projects in Pennsylvania and other states, including an update of Cranberry's comprehensive plan and a revitalization blueprint for part of Gettysburg's commercial district.

Mt. Lebanon's main business district lacks large parcels of developable land, but officials hope to use the “air rights” once owned by the now-defunct Mt. Lebanon Parking Authority for a transit-oriented development, where commercial and residential space could be clustered near the “T” public transit line.

A study released last year estimated that building steel and concrete decks would cost about $36.4 million. But the study said developers could then establish an office or condominium tower above the tracks, a parking garage above an improved Mt. Lebanon Station, and a public plaza and stairs connecting them to the businesses above and the residential neighborhood below.

Milliron said one of Delta's advantages over the other bidders was its experience with transit-oriented development projects and the mix of financing options that usually go into them.

Mt. Lebanon Manager Steve Feller said more funding for Delta or another consultant to perform a detailed study of the real estate market could come from Mt. Lebanon's estimated $829,000 surplus from 2012.

Spending would be subject to public review and comment at a hearing on July 22.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.