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Familiar developer eyes restaurants for former South Fayette theater site

| Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, 2:06 p.m.

If South Fayette Township Commissioners accept one of the bids to develop the land where Star City Cinemas once stood, the township will either be getting new restaurants or a senior housing facility.

On Wednesday, commissioners received two proposals for the land. Burns & Scalo proposal is for restaurants, something the company's president, Jim Scalo, said the township needs.

“The residents tell us, ‘We need sit-down restaurants,'” Scalo said. “We think it's the highest and best use for the property.”

Scalo said his proposal is for five stand-alone restaurants, with a fountain at the entrance, called The Piazza.

Scalo also reminded the board Burns & Scalo attempted to purchase the property when it was sold to Horizon Properties Group for $5 million. Horizon backed out of the deal last fall. Burns & Scalo also bid to lease the land prior to that.

“This is the third time I've bid on this,” Scalo said. “So, I want the property for all the right reasons.”

Scalo's competition comes from Continental Real Estate.

Barry Ford, Continental's President of Development, also is a South Fayette resident. Continental proposes a high-end senior housing facility.

Ford said it would be similar to the $35 million, 175-unit Middleton project they are constructing in Moon.

“This is a major investment we are looking to make here,” Ford said.

Ford said the facility would offer housing for rent, employ 75 to 100 people and have a minimal impact on traffic in the region, as opposed to possible restaurants and retail coming across Millers Run Road at Newbury Market.

Commissioners voted to table awarding a proposal until the next meeting on February 21.

Township manager Ryan Eggleston said the land holds a commercial zoning and it is unclear if apartments conform to that zoning.

• Commissioners unanimously approved a tax credit for township volunteer firefighters.

Firefighters will now be eligible for a $300 earned income tax credit and a 20 percent reduction in real estate taxes.

Commissioner Gwen Rodi said the chiefs of all four volunteer fire departments gave the ordinance a thumbs-up. She also said other municipalities are looking to South Fayette's ordinance as a model for their own.

Eric Eisert is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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