Wal-Mart plans worry McCandless center's tenants
Longtime tenants in a McCandless shopping center said they had no idea Wal-Mart was planning to demolish their buildings to build a supercenter.
“We're set here. We're established. We're one of the top beer stores in the North Hills,” said Dave Vivio of Brew'ry Outlet North, which is owned by his wife, Tamara Weightman. The store celebrated its 20th anniversary in the Blazier Drive shopping center on Tuesday.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to build a 150,000-square-foot supercenter with a grocery store, auto center and drive-through pharmacy in the shopping center.
On Tuesday, the McCandless Planning Commission voted 6-0, with Dr. James Childress absent, to recommend that the council approve land development and site consolidation plans for Wal-Mart after traffic, engineering, legal and architectural representatives from various firms presented the retailer's plans.
The plans will go before McCandless Council's zoning committee on July 21. The full council could vote on July 28.
Wal-Mart wants to develop the project on 23 acres in the shopping center on Blazier Drive, between Blazier's intersections with Ingomar Road and McKnight Road.
“We are always looking for new locations where we think we can make shopping more convenient for our customers,” Wal-Mart spokesman Bill Wertz said Wednesday of the store that would create about 300 jobs, mostly full time.
Wal-Mart hasn't decided whether the McCandless store would operate 24 hours, seven days a week, he said, and if the project is approved, construction would take about a year.
The site is occupied by a vacant building, at 551 Blazier, that used to contain a Bally Total Fitness and Sun Books, and a building, at 555 Blazier Drive, that now contains Trader Horn and Brew'ry Outlet.
Trader Horn has been in the shopping center since 1992 and that location has the best sales volume of its eight stores, said Dave Smith, advertising manager.
The store sells home repair supplies, specialty foods, pet products and housewares.
“We have our own niche, and we've been at it since 1958,” said Smith, who said he didn't know the plans for the Blazier Drive store if Wal-Mart's plans are approved.
A 35-year-old movie theater operates in the shopping center, but Plano, Texas-based Cinemark Holdings Inc. has that property, including 33.85 acres, listed for sale for $5 million. The theater site is not part of Wal-Mart's plans, Adam Benosky, a civil engineer with Philadelphia-based Bohler Engineering, said Tuesday.
Wal-Mart has a sales agreement with WesBanco Inc. to buy 551 and 555 Blazier, and it will demolish the buildings if the town approves its project, Benosky said. The retailer also has sales agreements with Blazier McKnight Associates, which owns two mostly vacant parcels on the site, to buy one of its parcels and part of the other one.
Cinemark and WesBanco couldn't be reached for comment.
Several commissioners expressed concern about traffic.
“I'm hopeful with the modifications they'll make now and ones that the state and town are working on, we'll be in pretty good shape,” Dick Schnupp, vice chairman of the commission, said Wednesday.
“Am I concerned? Yes. But again, I've learned that experts do a pretty good job and are be able to make traffic light adjustments as needed,”
Wal-Mart plans about $2.5 million in off-site road improvements, including extending the northbound left turn lane on McKnight Road into Pine Creek Road and replacing the signal at McKnight and Blazier, said Casey Moore, a traffic engineer with McMahon Associates.
The town will insist that a right turn lane onto Blazier from Ingomar be added, said Bruce Betty, McCandless' land-use administrator.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
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.
- Archery hunting in Mt. Lebanon called off for now
- Teens elevate Western Pa. communities with Eagle Scout projects
- 50 years later, Vietnam vet gets his degree at Westminster
- eReader books also available to borrow at local libraries
- Museum’s ‘Carnegie Trees’ exhibit shows ‘Winter Wonders’
- Mt. Lebanon history center project gets OK
- More fear ‘tackle’ football too risky for kids
- Decorated World War II veteran gets visit, gift from ex-Steeler
- Strong demand in Allegheny limits participation in after-school programs
- YMCA program helps people with mobility issues regain movement