Light rail hopes are building in Castle Shannon
Castle Shannon Mayor Don Baumgarten has his fingers crossed.
He's “cautiously optimistic” construction of apartments and shops at the Port Authority light rail station in the borough will begin in the spring.
The $35 million development, which could be the first of its kind in Southwestern Pennsylvania, initially was proposed more than 10 years ago.
JRA Development Group Inc. in Lawrenceville plans to build 128 apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail space on a deck above the park-and-ride at the station.
Proponents tout the project as a good example of transit-oriented development — the idea that building near public transportation encourages more people to use it, and that having public transportation nearby makes the development more attractive to residents.
The consultants who want to run a commuter train from Pittsburgh to Lower Burrell think similar developments will sprout along the proposed rail's corridor.
James Aiello Sr., the JRA Development co-founder and principal who first pitched the Castle Shannon Transit Village idea more than a decade ago, couldn't be reached for comment.
Baumgarten said JRA Development has the financing in place and the final step is final approval of a tax-increment financing plan (TIF). The borough and the Keystone Oaks School District have approved the TIF and the Allegheny County Council is expected to do so in February.
TIFs allow a company to borrow money for infrastructure improvements, such as building streets or sewer lines and waterlines. Once a development is complete and a property's taxable value begins to rise, the company uses the added money to pay off the debt.
Among local projects using TIFs have been the Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer and the Edgewood residential-commercial development in Oakmont.
The Transit Village project has been in the works for 12 years.
“These things take time, I guess,” said Baumgarten, referring to how long it has taken for the proposed development to reach this stage.
Baumgarten said it puzzles him that a decade has passed; especially because the proposed development is “everything that everybody says is wonderful.”
Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said other transit-oriented developments along the T line are moving forward.
For example, the Port Authority and Allegheny County have a tentative agreement with a developer to build apartments on the six-acre parking lot between its parking garage and light rail maintenance yard near South Hills Village mall.
The planned $41.5 million, 320-unit apartment complex is a joint venture between Massaro Properties in Findlay Township and Dawson Co. in Atlanta.
It would be the largest addition to Bethel Park in the past 15 years, township officials said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Hit sends Penguins’ Letang to hospital
- Probiotic bacteria help conquer ‘superbugs’
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of a union retiree’s pension
- Arab League gets serious on terrorism
- Wisconsin beats McConnell, Arizona, 85-78, to advance to Final Four
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Bordonaro boosts East girls to 79-72 victory in Cager Classic
- Rep. Barletta urges Republicans to stay tough on illegal immigration
- Smaller properties in Alle-Kiski Valley remain attractive to drillers