UPMC hospital plan for South Fayette on hold pending economic study
A proposal by the UPMC health system to construct a hospital in South Fayette has been delayed to study the project's financial impact.
EQA Landmark Communities, the developer of Newbury Market where the hospital will be built off of Interstate 79, told the township commissioners last week it agreed to a township request to delay a vote to approve the project until the economic study was done – likely in two months.
Fourth Economy Consulting, a community and economic development firm on the North Side, will perform the EQA-paid study. Officials said the study will examine the project's effect on taxes – much of the hospital parcel will likely be property tax exempt – job creation and ripple-effect economic development.
UPMC/EQA needs a conditional use allowance on 16.65 acres of the 100-acre Newbury parcel nestled between Chartiers Creek and Presto-Sygan Road. Newbury has retail and residential components.
Approximately 100 residents packed the community room at South Fayette Senior Center to air their opinions. The primary concerns by those opposed to UPMC were the loss of tax revenue, increased traffic and noise by ambulances and helicopters coming to the hospital.
Mike Pugliese, who lives at Newbury and is opposed to the proposed hospital, said he purchased his home with the promise of a neighboring retail center, not a hospital. But he said some residents see the facility as good for the township.
“A lot of the neighbors are pitted against each other on this issue,” he said.
Resident Jared Imperatore, a real estate broker, said UPMC and the other proposed anchor tenant, a Topgolf entertainment complex, will draw other businesses to Newbury's retail development.
“I represent tenants that want to come into Newbury, but that ain't going to happen without these two anchors,” he said.
Brett Malky, EQA Landmark president, said the company wants to address traffic concerns.
A $3 million state grant is available for widening the Route 50 bridge over Chartiers Creek, which connects South Fayette and Bridgeville, from four lanes to seven, he said.
“We didn't create the traffic issue here,” Malky said, adding the grant is contingent on Newbury moving forward.
Topgolf plan approved
The commissioners approved Newbury's site plan for Topgolf.
Topgolf players drive microchipped-balls at targets, in a concept similar to darts. The building will have three floors and 120 heated open bays, as well as a restaurant. It will be located at Newbury's northern end.
When proposed almost a decade ago, Newbury Market was to be a retail center, Malky said, but the decline of retail nationally in favor of online shopping forced the company to rethink who might be anchor tenants.
“Without anchors, there won't be a Newbury Market,” he said.
UPMC's plans haven't been finalized, but the health provider said the facility will include out-patient and in-patient services, an emergency room and a helipad. UPMC officials said the facility will be similar, but not as large, as the 160-bed UPMC East hospital in Monroeville.
Eric Eisert is a freelance writer.