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Westwood housing development under way in West Mifflin

| Thursday, July 9, 2015, 4:01 a.m.
Dave Carlisle works his excavator as his crew from Bentleyville clears the way for sewer pipe that is part of residential development on the Westwood Golf Club grounds in West Mifflin.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media
Dave Carlisle works his excavator as his crew from Bentleyville clears the way for sewer pipe that is part of residential development on the Westwood Golf Club grounds in West Mifflin.

Work has begun to clear the way for the townhouses of Westwood Village in West Mifflin.

Heavy equipment is being used to excavate for sewer lines on a portion of the Westwood Golf Club property adjacent to Commonwealth Avenue.

“We are excited that the project is finally off the ground after several years of delays,” West Mifflin Mayor Chris Kelly said Wednesday.

Dave Carlisle of Carlisle Excavating of Bentleyville said his crew began working June 28 and probably will be on site for “two, three more weeks.” He's a subcontractor to Franjo Construction of Homestead.

Franjo is being employed by Mark Latorre's Westwood & Associates LLC, which purchased the 141.6-acre Westwood Golf Club at a 2009 sheriff's sale for $1.53 million.

“West Mifflin continues to move in the right direction; all the steps we are taking add up to a great distance,” Kelly said. “A lot of positive things are going on in West Mifflin at this time and Westwood is certainly one of them.”

Westwood was known as Duquesne Golf Club. It was owned by Duquesne Golf Association from May 1950 until November 2002, when Ryan Golf LP bought it for $1,181,000.

Ryan Golf partners Mark Cogley and William LuPone had to come up with $35,235.49 to cover county taxes, penalties and interest to head off an October 2007 sheriff's sale, but they couldn't avoid a second sheriff's sale 18 months later.

Latorre began his bid to develop the property in May 2009, proposing 11.22 acres be rezoned as R-1 low-density, or single-family residential, so he could build 32 townhouses.

Borough council approved a plan in April 2014 to build 20 homes and adjacent garages in the first of three phases of what may become a 73-home development.

Latorre said each will have an estimated price of $200,000 to $210,000.

Carlisle said Wednesday that he thought the location could attract buyers. In 2009, the planning commission disagreed.

“There has been no permit for a new home in West Mifflin so far this year and only one last year,” then-planning commissioner Rusty Stinner said. “I feel it would take too many years to develop this plan of homes.”

Latorre said there would be a demand for homes twice the size of condos selling for $500,000 in downtown Pittsburgh.

In June 2011, the planning commission recommended approval for Westwood provided certain conditions, such as a performance bond and a geotechnical report, were met.

In April 2014, the borough gave Latorre conditional approval to move forward with his plans for the first phase of his Westwood Village development.

Kelly commended Latorre for sticking with the project since 2009.

Westwood Golf Club continues operations as the construction gets under way.

Its website touts “18 holes of championship golf,” though some holes may have to be adjusted, depending on how many homes Latorre can sell.

Latorre said last year that he did not think the construction would have a negative impact on restaurant or catering services at the club.

Westwood has been used for Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner meeting and other special events.

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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