McCandless council considering zoning changes needed to redevelop former Trader Horn site on Blazier Drive |
North Hills

McCandless council considering zoning changes needed to redevelop former Trader Horn site on Blazier Drive

Tony LaRussa
This rendering of the 23-acre site along Blazier Drive in McCandless shows a mix of retail shops, cottages and a three-story main building dedicated to senior housing that would be constructed around a central green. Town council is considering zoning changes for the land that are needed for the project to proceed.

McCandless council will consider altering the zoning requirements for the property along Blazier Drive where the former Trader Horn store was located so that it can be redeveloped more easily.

Officials held a public hearing March 25 to consider amending the 23-acre commercial property’s zoning to allow a personal care home to operate, which is part of the mixed-used development being proposed for the site.

No residents who attended the hearing opposed the changes, which also “would modify development standards and add master plan regulations in order to provide greater flexibility in the use and development of land,” according to the ordinance that must be approved to initiate the changes.

Council is expected to vote on the ordinance at its April 22 meeting.

The proposed changes address lot size; the size of front, side and rear yards for residential properties; buffer zones; the density or number of residential properties that can be built; the maximum footprint and height of buildings; and the amount of greenspace that must be set aside in a development.

The property has been mostly vacant since Trader Horn shut its store down in November 2014 after 22 years. The land, which is where Wal-Mart wanted to build a supercenter several years ago, also was the site of a Bally’s Fitness and a Sun Book Store.

Continental Real Estate Co. wants to build a mixed-use development on the property around a central green surrounded by a mix of retail shops, cottages and a three-story main building dedicated to senior housing.

The company is teaming up with Selma, N.C.-based AdVenture Development, which would handle the retail portion of the project.

AdVenture developed the McCandless Crossing shopping center on McKnight Road. The Waterfront shopping center in Homestead was developed by Continental, which is based in Columbus, Ohio.

The mixed-use approach of blending shops, offices and housing on a single site similar to McCandless Crossing — and now the Blazier Drive project being proposed — is a popular trend that can help improve a project’s chances for success by putting residents within walking distance of shops, restaurants and offices are desirable for both older and younger people.

In December 2016, Wal-Mart nixed plans to build a 155,000-square-foot supercenter on the site. The announcement came a week after Giant Eagle Corp. purchased a portion of the site where Wal-Mart planned to build.

The acquisition of about 7 acres by grocery chain reduced the amount of property on which Wal-Mart could conceivably build to about 16 acres, according to McCandless officials.

Giant Eagle has not announced any decisions about when or how its portion of the property might be developed. But officials have said that anything it does likely would include cooperation with adjacent property owners.

Continental’s proposed development does not include the 26.72-acre property along Blazier where the vacant Rave Cinema building is located.

In 2015, McCandless tried to buy that land, which is in a flood plain, and turn it into a natural wetlands park.

But town officials said the cost of obtaining the land and tearing down the theater were considered too expensive.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | North Hills
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