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Crews seen prepping Forward Township site for GetGo store

| Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 4:16 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
A backhoe awaits its mission as plans proceed toward demolition of the former Payday's in Forward Township, to be replaced by a GetGo convenience store.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
A long-awaited demolition project appears to be near, Forward Township officials said, at the former Payday's market. It is to be replaced by a GetGo convenience store.

The wait is over for demolition of a Forward Township property on what is scheduled to be the site of a GetGo convenience store.

On Saturday, crews completed the work begun early last month when equipment was dropped off at the former Payday's and Giant Eagle location along Hayden Boulevard, also known as Route 51, near Weigles Hill Road.

“They were taking out old light fixtures,” township police Chief Mark Holtzman said. “They told me they would be moving in equipment.”

The crews were expected to start demolition work “in the next week or so,” Holtzman said.

However, the site remained quiet for the following three weeks.

“We look forward to beginning the demolition process on our future Elizabeth GetGo as soon as reasonably possible,” Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan confirmed on Friday, less than 24 hours before the work took place. “(We) are actively working with local utility companies to prepare the site.”

The store at 1000 Hayden Boulevard first operated in the mid-1960s as a Payday's Super Market.

According to Allegheny County records, the site was acquired in 1984 for $0 by Paydays 51 Super Market Inc.

For more than 20 years, it was a Giant Eagle until it closed on Aug. 24, 2005.

Paydays 51 Super Market Inc. sold the property to Echo GetGo Partners 2004 in January 2007 for $1.1 million.

Echo GetGo Partners shares its mailing address with the Giant Eagle corporate headquarters in the RIDC park in O'Hara Township.

According to Allegheny County real estate records, the 5.1746-acre property has an assessed value of $545,000.

At the time of the closing in 2005, it was rumored that GetGo might be a future occupant of the location just south of Elizabeth borough.

GetGo's plans for a 5,748-square-foot store with eight fuel islands were discussed at meetings of the township board of supervisors in 2011.

In October 2011 the supervisors reviewed a letter documenting the retailer's sanitation plans.

“They are moving forward with that,” then-supervisor Tom Headley said.

He voiced concerns that the business could bring petty crime to the area but also said the gas station would offer greater convenience.

In March 2012 the board of supervisors unanimously gave GetGo a green light to obtain a license to sell liquor.

“It's going to be a $4 million building with a big tax base,” board chairman Tom DeRosa said. “It's hard to turn that down in this economy.”

In 2012 GetGo representatives told township officials the store would sell beer and wine coolers from a separate register in a restaurant portion of the facility.

Planners said they expected 99 percent of their sales would be carryout six-packs, 12-packs and singles, though customers would have the option of consuming up to two drinks in the restaurant area of the shop with food.

Asked if plans continue to sell beer at the new GetGo, Donovan said, “It is still a bit premature to confirm some of the details you requested.”

Giant Eagle sells beer at some outlets, including supermarkets in the Waterfront, North Huntingdon Square, Century Plaza in West Mifflin, Edgewood, Finleyville and Fisher Heights near Monongahela.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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