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Shale drilling boosts development in Cecil

| Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
The Reserve at Southpointe, shown above in an artist’s rendering, is one of several residential developments planned for Cecil, Pa. Officials say that Marcellus Shale drilling industry is driving demand for residential development in Cecil and surrounding municipalities in Washington County. The Reserve at Southpointe will have 370 apartments when construction is complete.Source: Premier Architecture Inc.

Some stalled residential developments in Cecil are picking up steam, fueled in part by the Marcellus shale drilling industry's expansion in the area, township officials said.

Planned projects include The Reserve at Southpointe, a 370-unit apartment complex that will be the largest apartment complex in Cecil when it's done, and Overlook at Southpointe, which will include 363 homes, including 240 single-family houses and 87 townhouses when completed.

“Well, it's certainly going to help our tax base, but it also maybe shows the strength of the industry in this area,” Cecil Manager Donald Gennuso said.

Several new developments are playing off their close proximity to Southpointe, a business park that is being called the hub of the energy sector in Western Pennsylvania.

More than 50 energy-related companies, including Range Resources and Consol Energy, have opened offices there recently. The park now has 8,000 employees, said Mary Stollar, director of business investment at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

Range Resources opened its regional headquarters in a new building in Southpointe II, a second phase of the office park, in November. The company employs 300 people there and 100 in a Chartiers office, but created 5,000 Southpointe-area jobs indirectly through service companies and subcontractors that support the gas drilling industry, spokesman Matt Pitzarella said.

The park is managed by Horizon Properties, which could not be reached for comment.

Some residential projects received township approvals several years ago, but were put on hold during the recession.

The Overlook at Southpointe received its township approvals in 2008, said Steve Mitchell, president of Toledo, Ohio-based Mitchell Development Co. Mitchell said he expects to break ground in the fall.

“There's no question that Marcellus shale has had a big impact on making that a very attractive area to new developments. ... Coupled with the improvement in the economy, I think the timing is even more favorable to begin a new development,” he said.

Home prices will range from the $190,000s to the $600,000s, he said.

The development would sit on 200 acres off Angerer Road, adjacent to Southpointe, said Jim Venture, of PVE Sheffler, the engineering firm on the project.

The developer's updated plans go before the Board of Supervisors for a vote Monday, said Bruce Bosle, director of zoning in Cecil.

In July, an updated site plan was approved for the Klinger Park project, now called The Reserve at Southpointe, which will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, Bosle said. The developer, Rochester, N.Y.-based Morgan Properties, still needs building permits, he said.

Construction will likely start in the fourth quarter of this year, said James McMullan, principal at Bridgeville-based Premiere Architecture.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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