Heights Elementary School in Harrison cleared for sale
By Tom Yerace
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The legal path has been cleared for the sale of the Heights Elementary School in Harrison.
Highlands School District Business Manager Jon Rupert and district Solicitor Lisa Colautti appeared before Allegheny County Judge W. Terrence O'Brien on Monday to present the district's case for the sale of the property to RBG Development for $1 million.
That step is required under state law when a building is sold through a private sale instead of a public bidding process. The district put the building up for sale by public bidding but no one bought it.
Dale Greco of RBG Development called the judge's approval excellent news.
Greco previously indicated that the school building, which was built in 1912 and renovated in 1980, would be razed to accommodate development.
The building site measures 2.34 acres and is located along Freeport Road across from the middle school.
The Sheetz convenience store chain is interested in the property but is not the only business showing interest, Greco said. He would not elaborate.
In January, Greco said a national retailer is interested in the property and that is “totally different” than a Sheetz convenience store and gas station.
The site could accommodate a retail store of 6,000 to 15,000 square feet, Greco said. The typical Sheetz is about 6,500 square feet, he said.
With court approval of the sale, Greco said he will approach Harrison officials to seek a variance to the property's zoning, which is an R-1 residential district. Also, he must get township approval of the development's site plan.
“I believe now I should be in Harrison in 45 days,” Greco said.
Greco said he has been working on site plans that would accommodate a business operator's needs.
He said the traffic study that PennDOT requires is under way. He said the development would be asking for curb cuts for access to Freeport Road.
When the school board approved the sales agreement with RBG, a seven-month time period was established for RBG to get the necessary approvals.
RBG has put up a deposit of $20,000 to secure the sales agreement, which would be refunded if something is found with the site that would cause a problem in developing it. If RBG simply decides not to move forward, the district would keep that deposit.
“At this point, the process is as we had expected,” Greco said. “We'll just continue to work at it until we reach our objective.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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