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Council questions apartment complex in Baldwin Borough

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The construction of a 129-unit apartment complex that connects to Bliss Drive in Baldwin Borough will have “very little impact” in regards to traffic on residential streets, engineers said.

Yet, Baldwin Borough leaders said they are worried the additional vehicles from the proposed complex, combined with existing traffic situations, could create cause for concern.

“How much trouble are we adding for our public safety?” Councilman John “Butch” Ferris asked. “I'm worried about the school buses. How are they going to get through there if there are extra cars?”

Representatives from A.R. Building Company presented plans for a proposed three-building, four-story apartment complex to be built on a vacant 5-acre lot at the intersection of state Route 51 and the Cloverleaf.

The property, which abuts the YMCA, was sold by Whitehall resident Nello Fiore on May 29 to Baldwin Apartment Properties LP of Seven Fields for $800,000, records from the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate show. “We build to own. We build to be part of the community,” said A.R. Building President Daniel Mancosh. “We're not a firm that comes in and builds a product for the purposes of flipping or selling to others.”

Baldwin Borough Council members said they plan to take a vote in July on final site plans for the complex.

The proposed complex is similar to ones being constructed in North Fayette and Kennedy townships, Mancosh said. A.R. Building has a portfolio of properties in the Pittsburgh region and owns about 4,500 apartment units nationwide, he said.

The apartments in Baldwin will be one and two bedrooms and priced between $800 and $1,350, Mancosh said. Buildings will have elevators and will be marketed to “people of all ages.”

It will be the ownership company that is in charge of upkeep and maintenance, he said.

Council members asked if they have a need to worry that the complex could turn into a Leland Point, The Knoll, Baldwin Courts, or one of the many names the current Residences of South Hills has had over the last several decades.

“We have a complex that we've worked for years to get it back to a point that we're comfortable with. It's on the other hill from where you are,” Councilman Larry Brown said.

Mancosh only said he had heard of the complex, but that it was not one of his sites.

Al Winkler of J.R. Gales & Associates Inc. said the proposed apartments meet zoning codes in the C-3 district that allows for a multi-family, multi-story dwelling.

Rachel Myers of David E. Wooster and Associates, a traffic consultant for the project, said the apartments would add about 100 vehicles to the streets in the afternoon.

Baldwin's planning commission earlier this month recommended the final site plan for council's approval.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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