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Blue Spruce development will need second approval

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

Developers have recruited a medical office and a bank to the Blue Spruce Shoppes at the cost of the proposed development's initial municipal approval.

Murrysville officials will have to review and approve changes made to the first phase of the proposed development before work can begin at the site of the former Blue Spruce Motel and pool, said Jim Morrison, Murrysville's chief administrator.

“There are a couple of items of concern,” Morrison said. “The green area in Banner Parklet has been reduced, and the parking configuration has changed. They do not have phase one approval right now.”

Murrysville Council approved the site plan for three of the four proposed buildings along Route 22 near the Monroeville border in September. Developers said they planned to break ground by the end of November and hoped to open in the summer of 2013.

However, those plans are on hold until council approves changes to the first phase of development, which includes an early childhood education center and two retail buildings featuring eateries such as Starbucks, North Park Lounge and Burgatory.

Developer Herky Pollock, executive vice president at Pittsburgh real estate development firm CBRE, said he is elated at the response from prospective tenants for the development. Initially, the complex was slated to be completed in one phase, but after a medical office — which Pollock declined to name — began negotiations to sign on to the development, he split the project into two phases.

The second phase would consist solely of the east building of the four-building complex

“These tenants fulfill our primary goal of having the preeminent mixed-use development in the eastern suburbs,” Pollock said. “The synergy of these components working together will maximize the overall vibrancy of the center.”

Councilman Josh Lorenz said plans for a two-story building as phase two of the project has brought parking requirements into question. Developers are proposing an off-site parking area at the former Jiffy Lube lot along Old William Penn Highway.

“It would look nice and be conducive to pedestrian traffic,” Lorenz said. “They've proposed having music playing as well.”

Morrison said there also would be changes to the planned appearance of some of the buildings. Council had balked at Pollock's original plan to use painted concrete blocks on the rear of some buildings, convincing developers to use a split-face block on rear portions of some buildings.

Morrison said instead, developers plan to upgrade the materials being used and incorporate lighting and canopies in the rear of the complex facing Old William Penn Highway.

“Their intent is to develop an urban sidewalk feel,” Morrison said.

The complex will match the streetscape motif along that portion of Old William Penn Highway, Lorenz said. Pollock said the off-site parking will tie the project into the town center portion of Murrysville.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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