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Apartments planned near South Hills T

| Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, 10:54 p.m.
A joint venture between Massaro Properties and The Dawson Co. is planning a $45 million, 301-unit apartment complex on Port Authority-owned land at South Hills Village. Bethel Park’s council approved the project Monday. Rendering courtesy of Massaro Properties.
A joint venture between Massaro Properties and The Dawson Co. is planning a $45 million, 301-unit apartment complex on Port Authority-owned land at South Hills Village. Bethel Park’s council approved the project Monday. Rendering courtesy of Massaro Properties.

A 301-unit apartment complex will lease underused land and parking spaces from Port Authority of Allegheny County in Bethel Park, with construction starting as early as spring.

Four apartment buildings are to be built across Village Drive from South Hills Village, on six acres leased from Port Authority.

Bailey Pope, vice president for design and sustainable initiatives for The Dawson Company, said his company responded to Port Authority's request for proposals to develop land next to the authority's parking garage. Atlanta-based Dawson is partnering with Findlay-based Massaro Properties on the project.

“This will provide some additional revenue to Port Authority that they haven't had in the past,” said David Massaro, president of Massaro Properties. “We have an arrangement to use some of the parking garage, using up some of the spaces that frankly aren't being used right now.”

Port Authority would not comment on the potential value of the lease.

The developers will start by leasing up to 90 of the 2,200 parking spaces in the South Hills Village garage, with the option to increase that number if residents want them. Massaro said there will be some surface parking spaces around the apartments.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said about half of the garage connected to the South Hills Village T station gets used on an average day, at a rate of $2 per day or $22 per month.

Port Authority had a free park-and-ride lot on the land but closed it in 2007, pushing commuters to the paid parking garage built across from the shopping mall.

The apartments will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Pope said monthly rent will range from $1,000 to $2,000.

Pope said the plan is to begin work on the $45 million project when “construction weather” emerges.

“We're anticipating breaking ground in late spring,” he said, adding there should be a 16-month construction period.

The proximity to the South Hills Village station makes the project attractive as a “transit-oriented development,” where residents could leave their cars at home and easily commute to Downtown for work or events, Massaro said.

Bethel Park Council member Jim McLean said the municipality's planning commission had high praise for the quality of the project, as well as cooperation from representatives of The Dawson Company.

Council approved the plan 6-0 Monday night. Council members Tim Moury, John Pape and Paul Dixon were absent from the meeting.

Port Authority, which owns the former park-and-ride lot for the light-rail stop, is negotiating final lease terms with the Massaro Dawson partners.

“Once we finalize terms of a lease, we would then seek approvals from our board of directors and the (Federal Transit Authority),” Ritchie said. The FTA has to approve the project because federal money was used to build the light-rail system.

Eric Eisert is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media; he can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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