Former Star City property in South Fayette finally sold
At the conclusion of South Fayette Township Commissioners’ meeting on July 17, it was reported a rainbow could be seen over the former Star City property in the township. It was an appropriate symbol as commissioners had just finished a deal to finally sell the long-dormant property on Millers Run Road, just west of Interstate 79.
“I might run home today, I’m so excited,” Commissioner Joseph Horowitz said. “For seven years I’ve been sitting here and hearing about Star City and wondering if we were ever going to sell it and if we did, if something decent would happen there.
“I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders today.”
Commissioners accepted a $3.5 million bid from Burns & Scalo Equities for the property. Burns & Scalo have bid on the property four times before. In 2018, commissioners rejected their $1.8 million bid to develop the land. President Jim Scalo proved relentless, and this time came up with a higher bid.
“We’re so excited, I can’t tell you, to deliver what the township needs from the market study, what we’re hearing from the business owners and the residents,” Scalo said.
In 2018, Burns & Scalo proposed five standalone restaurants for the eight-acre plot, plus a fountain at the entrance. The development was to be called The Piazza. Scalo and his leasing agent, Jason Cannon, both eluded that restaurants will be a focus of their plans for the land this time around as well.
Scalo has maintained that housing growth in South Fayette has outpaced the demand for other amenities it brings. Cannon, a South Fayette Township resident, agreed.
“I can tell you, from my involvement in this community, there’s an absolute desire of the people in this market to see some great retail and restaurant development occur here,” he said.
Cannon and Scalo both also stressed they feel there is room for their development and Newbury Market just across the road. Burns & Scalo was the second-highest bidder for the property. Apartment developer NRP Group submitted a $4 million proposal. Commissioners rejected the bid based upon non-compliance with the request for proposal. Township manager John Barrett said NRP’s bid included a sunset provision that expired on June 26, only one week after opening and before the commissioners’ meeting.
Barrett also said NRP essentially wanted an assurance their plan would be approved. The lot is currently zoned for commercial, not residential use. Star City Cinemas opened in 2000, but lost out on blockbuster films to the nearby Destinta (now Phoenix) Theatre. It closed in 2005, reopened the following year as a second-run theater, and closed for good in 2007. The building was torn down in 2017. South Fayette Township purchased the property for $5 million in 2009 with initial plans to build a community center. In 2017, Horizon Properties Group withdrew from a $5 million deal to buy the land.
Commissioners unanimously approved the sale, though President Ray Pitetti and Lisa Malosh were absent from the meeting.