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South Fayette clears way for development on cinema site

| Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, 4:48 p.m.

South Fayette commissioners last week approved selling the former Star City Cinemas property off the Interstate 79 Bridgeville exit for $5 million, which clears the way for a hotel, restaurant and retail development there.

Tenants have not been announced, but township officials said Horizon Properties of Cecil plans a 30,000-square-foot office building, a nationally branded hotel and 10,000- to 15,000-square-feet of restaurants and retail stores.

Horizon will pay for the movie theater's demolition and a traffic-impact study.

“We are pleased where we ended up,” said township Solicitor Jonathan Kamin, who must give final approval for the sale.

Construction should be complete in 18 to 24 months.

South Fayette community-development director Andrea Iglar estimated the development will add at least $25 million to the tax rolls.

The development marks the latest phase of growth at the site. The new $29 million UPMC Children's South opened a year ago there.

The township purchased the 8.5-acre property off Route 50 for $5 million from Shelby Corp. in 2009 intending to turn it into township offices, a police station, senior citizens and community centers, and a library.

Those plans stalled, however, and it later sold part of the land to UPMC and Washington Financial Bank.

Proceeds from the sale of the rest of the 8.5-acre property will fund the expansion of the township's community center, which now could be built on Millers Run Road, where the Morgan Municipal Complex is located.

Kamin said as part of the approval, township officials required the developer to present a master plan with only one hotel. If it wants to build another, it will need township officials to grant conditional-use approval.

Township officials put the property up for bid in April and attracted offers from Horizon and Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services of Green Tree.

Horizon offered the requested $5 million. Burns & Scalo offered $3 million because it wanted to lease the property to build office buildings instead.

The vote was 4-0 to sell the property. Commissioner Jessica Cardillo-Wagenhoffer was absent.

Mayview vote delayed

Commissioners were expected to vote on Charter Homes' housing development at the former Mayview State Hospital site but delayed the decision for 60 days at Kamin's request.

“I don't think this should be rushed, and there is going to need to be time spent with the school board to discuss their financials and time spent with Charter Homes to understand (their financials),” Kamin said.

After ongoing debates over the differences between Charter Homes' and the school district's estimations on how much the development would increase student enrollment and add to the tax rolls, township officials decided to hire a consultant to do an independent study.

The study will be funded through an escrow account, which means no tax dollars are being used.

Charter Homes wants the property rezoned into a new “Neighborhood Design District” that would allow it to build the 620-home development

The matter will be revisited at the November commissioners meeting.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or afelser@tribweb.com.

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