Entrepreneur revives South Hills golf center, plans more projects
Brian Shanahan built a credit card processing company. Now, he's rebuilding an icon of his South Hills youth, and turning his time and money to other Pittsburgh-area projects.
Shanahan said his company, CardConnect, grew to the point that it needed a full-time CEO in its King of Prussia headquarters, but he wanted to live in Pittsburgh without commuting across the state.
He turned over the position to his brother, Jeff, became a “non-executive chairman of the board,” and took most of CardConnect's staff from the Canonsburg branch office to form Penn Cove Group Capital, a holding company for his consulting business and real estate holdings.
Penn Cove's first major project is the $19 million rehabilitation and expansion of Cool Springs Golf Center in Bethel Park. The center will have a “soft opening” on July 14, and a grand opening celebration on July 26.
“When I was younger, my mom used to drop my brothers and I off here,” said Shanahan, who grew up in Upper St. Clair. “In the last 10 years, it really went downhill. I kept looking at it and thinking, ‘What a disaster.' ”
Shanahan bought the facility, which had been damaged by a September fire and was deteriorating as its debts mounted, for $1.66 million in a sheriff's sale in October.
Since then, he said, it's been his plan to reinvest some of his earnings from CardConnect into the South Hills.
Shanahan has rebuilt almost everything at Cool Springs: Contractors demolished all but the foundation of the old clubhouse to build a new one from the ground up, rebuilt the seven-acre mini-golf course with fresh turf greens and landscaping, and replaced the artificial turf driving range.
Plans include a 170,000-square-foot indoor sports complex rivaling the UPMC-sponsored facility in the South Side where the Steelers practice, Shanahan said.
And he said he is partnering with the Penguins to add a dek hockey rink near the proposed indoor complex.
David Soltesz, president of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, said his organization would provide technical support for installing the dek hockey rink, would put Penguins branding on the rink when it's completed and would promote it through its youth hockey programs website.
He said few new playing surfaces are being built by private businesses.
“If it deals with hockey development, the organization tries to support it,” Soltesz said. “This is the first new dek by an independent entity in quite some time.”
Also, Allegheny Health Network will run a sports medicine and sports performance program from the complex, including 14 exam rooms and an orthopedic surgeon on-site, Shanahan said.
“What we're trying to turn it into is a real sports destination. ... It gives me great pride and joy,” Shanahan said. Spokeswoman Jennifer Davis confirmed the health network would have a presence at Cool Springs.
James Chichra, golf director at Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center in Neville, was the golf pro at Cool Springs from 1986 to 1995 and said he hopes the center's reopening will help spark more interest in golf in the region.
“Cool Springs had always been one of the top ranges in the city, if not the country, so to get it back into play again helps golf businesses all around,” Chichra said. “They're still ‘the competition,' but I think it'll be better for golf as a whole.”
In addition to Cool Springs, Shanahan's Penn Cove company is rehabilitating an office building in Mt. Lebanon as its new headquarters, with plans to convert the basement into garage parking for tenants and replace the brick and concrete facade with a glass curtain wall.
Penn Cove will occupy the third and fourth floors of 607 Washington Road. Doctors' offices will rent the second floor, and several restaurants are bidding to take the ground-floor space, he said.
In Bridgeville, the company bought the Harmuth Building on Washington Avenue in 2012. A retaining wall behind the building was rebuilt, and six apartments on the second floor will be renovated this summer, Shanahan said.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or email@example.com.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.