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North Huntingdon officials OK 5-year break on tax payment

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

The Norwin Towne Square developers could get a tax break for five years from North Huntingdon and the Norwin School District.

The North Huntingdon commissioners unanimously last week approved a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance agreement with Colony Norwin LLC, which plans to renovate the 60-year-old shopping center.

Don Tarosky, a partner in Colony Norwin LLC, said the designation allows him to redevelop the property, which will bring the value up, generating more tax dollars.

“If there is a definition of blight in this township, it's Norwin Towne Square,” Tarosky said. “The property over the years has not been well maintained, and we've found, since we've been there, that very little of it is salvageable.

“We've had to basically replace every part of the infrastructure of that shopping center.”

The agreement designated Norwin Towne Square as a blighted property and grants 100-percent tax relief on the improved portions of the complex for five years, starting after construction wraps up, when the township issues the final occupancy permits, township manager John Shepherd said.

The commissioners designated the property as a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance zone. It allows Norwin School District officials to grant Colony Norwin LLC the tax abatement, Shepherd said.

The program offers tax abatements to new development and rehabilitation programs.

The Norwin School Board was scheduled to vote on the LERTA designation on Monday. The next step is to get final approval from Westmoreland County, Shepherd said.

Torosky said the complex's framework and flooring are the only parts officials plan to reuse. Crews already replaced the roof, storm-water management and electrical systems, and are going to refinish the parking lot.

Colony Norwin LLC finalized the sale of Norwin Towne Square in June and plans to demolish the shopping center from the former Scozio's Family Supermarket to Sun Capsule Tanning Salon.

The space along Lincoln Way would be used to make room for a new 38,000-square-foot Shop 'n Save grocery store and more parking, Tarosky said.

At the other end of the shopping center, developers plan to demolish from Norwin Barbershop to the vacant storefront next to Pizza Hut and the former Flynn's Tire Center, to make way for Bob Massie Toyota along Malts Lane.

Tarosky said developers plan to open Shop 'n Save and Bob Massie Toyota before the end of 2013.

“We hope, in a year, people will look at Norwin Towne Square and be proud that it's located right in the center of the township,” Tarosky said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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