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McCandless Crossing project progress continues

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

After the opening of the CVS Pharmacy last month at McCandless Crossing, the Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel should be open by summer, with a 12-screen Cinemark movie theater and several restaurants expected by next fall, developer Kevin Dougherty said.

Plans continue to move along for the 130-acre mixed-use development along McKnight Road in McCandless, said Dougherty, president of AdVenture Development, based in Selma, N.C.

When completed, the development, which has been under construction since 2009, will include medical and professional offices, national and regional retailers and restaurants, and town-homes, Dougherty said.

Township officials currently are reviewing plans for the 250,000-square-foot town center, to be located on the east side of McKnight Road, and if everything is approved, Dougherty said, he expects work on that to start soon.

“The town center should be under construction by mid to late November. That's our goal,” said Dougherty.

The center will feature the movie theater, professional offices, restaurants, another hotel, a grocery store and other retailers, but not until construction on its multifamily residential units have started, according to Bruce Betty, planning and land-use administrator for the town of McCandless.

The recently opened pharmacy is at the southeast corner of McKnight Road and Duncan Avenue, near the already-operating Fidelity Bank branch.

Across McKnight Road, construction is under way on the Home2 Suites by Hilton, which will have four floors and 121 rooms. Located on a 3.5-acre lot, Dougherty said, he expects the hotel to be open in early to mid-summer.

Also, nearby, land is being cleared for construction of Doodle Bugs! Children's Center, a child-care and early-education center, he said.

“You should see some walls going up within the next couple of weeks,” said Dougherty, 52.

Although the hotel already is well along in construction, Dougherty said, he expects the child-care facility to open sooner — in late spring — because it is a smaller building.

Betty said town officials now are reviewing plans for the different components of the town center, such as the drainage, streetscapes and roadways, before final approval.

Officials of AdVenture Development and McCandless have an agreement that 33 percent, or at least 10 residential units, have to start construction prior to any nonresidential permits being issued, said Betty, who has been with the township for 18 years.

Dougherty said the development has stayed pretty close to the original plan.

“They're in the process of reviewing it. Hopefully ... we'll have a plan that everybody is excited about,” said Dougherty.

Tenants who have committed to the town-center development include home-furnishing store HomeGoods, as well as restaurants Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and LongHorn Steakhouse, according to Wes Patterson, an associate at AdVenture Development since 2011.

Dougherty said tenants are hoping to open doors by next fall, but much of that will depend on the weather.

Betty said McCandless is requiring the proposed grocery store to be no more than 65,000 square feet, which would eliminate large-size stores.

Overall, Betty said, the already-constructed portions of McCandless Crossing are successful, as is seen by the number of customers visiting the businesses.

“In general, the (results) are excellent, and it's exactly what we were looking for,” Betty said.

Development on the west side of McKnight Road, between Cumberland Road and Duncan Avenue, includes Lowe's, which opened since 2010; an IHOP restaurant; DiBella's Old Fashioned Submarines; and some smaller businesses.

The Home2 Suites hotel and Doodle Bugs! will join the already operating LA Fitness on the west side of McKnight Road and South of Duncan Avenue, Dougherty said.

One McCandless Place, an medical and professional office building, also is planned for that part of the development. While smaller tenants have shown interest in that building, the developer is waiting for a major player to commit to it before beginning construction, Patterson said.

Patterson said a Fifth Third Bank branch will be located at the corner of Cumberland and McKnight Road, near Lowe's.

Dougherty said he still has a goal that the center will be completed in three years.

“I think that's fairly realistic. A lot depends on the economy,” he said.

The Pittsburgh area is doing better than most of the country, he said.

“It's almost as if Pittsburgh decided to opt out of this (bad) economy,” said Dougherty, adding McCandless has a great school district and is a great place to live.

The residential portion of the town center is slated to include 53 townhomes by Heartland Homes, and there is a list of about 140 people expressing interest in them, Dougherty said.

“It's encouraging to hear that,” said Dougherty.

Once everything is completed, said Patterson, who recently moved to McCandless from North Carolina, said the goal is to create a development where “people can work, play, eat and live.”

Natalie Beneviat is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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